Apple's iPad mini Overtakes Full Sized iPad, 7-Inch Tablets Gobble Market Share

We can’t say that we’re terribly surprised by this, but according to DisplaySearch, smaller screen sizes on tablets are becoming more popular at the expense of larger panels. In the last two months, 7-7.9-inch displays have gained ground in terms of shipments while those in the 9.7-inch range dropped off and 10.1-11.6-inch panels made only very modest gains.

The report points to the launch of the iPad mini late in 2012 as foreshadowing the coming trend, and indeed, perhaps Apple’s sales bear this theory out: Apple had apparently forecast sales of 40 million iPad minis and 60 million iPads this year, but suddenly now that customers are more interested in the smaller tablet, those predictions may have been readjusted to 55 million and 33 million, respectively.

Tablet panel shipments
Tablet PC Panel Shipment in Dec.’12 and Jan’13 (Million units)

A shift towards smaller tablets makes tons of sense. The devices are more easily handled by people with smaller hands and in fact can be held with one hand instead of two, and of course the far lower price points are attractive to consumers.

The next question that needs to be addressed is whether and to what extent phablets--phone/tablet hybrids in the 5-6-inch screen size range--will further affect these figures. Because, you know, everyone has an opinion about ideal screen sizes.