The holiday shopping season is drawing near and it looks like Apple will be celebrating a good Christmas this year, as an analyst has predicted that shipments of the iPad could go as high as 26 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012.

A report by analyst Sameer Singh, who is part of consultation group Finvista Advisors, states that the second and fourth quarters are Apple’s strongest quarters in a year. This makes sense as Apple usually releases the iPad in the second quarter and the holiday season in the fourth quarter typically boosts sales.

Apple's iPad losing ground to the competition

18 to 19 million iPads to be shipped

Apple released two iPads in the third quarter of this year, which has prompted many to suggest that the smaller 7.9-inch iPad mini could cannibalise the sales of the larger, fourth generation iPad. The analyst has taken this fact into consideration and has stated that if the iPad mini was not launched, Apple could have shipped as many as 22.7 million units in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Apple has faced some supply issues with the iPad mini and this has prompted it to backlog the device overseas. In India, the tablet is yet to be officially announced and the supply issues could be a reason for it being delayed. While the iPad mini is backlogged, the fourth generation iPad is freely available in the countries it has been launched in. The fourth generation iPad is still to come to India.

Commenting on the shortage of the iPad mini, the analyst states that the production of the displays for the iPad mini have stalled due to production issues at AU Optronics, which is a new display panel supplier for Apple.

In his report, Singh states, “Based on the display shipment data and a cycle time of 2-3 weeks, Q4 iPad Mini shipments should total roughly 6-7 million.”

The analyst ends the report by stating, “Depending on cycle time and actual cannibalisation, iPad shipments should total between 24-26 million in Q4 2012, i.e. 18-19 million regular iPads (3rd/4th Gen iPad & iPad 2) and 6-7 million iPad Minis.”

For those not in the know, the iPad mini weighs only 0.68 pounds and has an aluminium and glass design that is just 7.2 mm thick. As per an official statement by Apple, the iPad mini has 35 percent more screen real estate than 7-inch tablets, and up to 67 percent more usable viewing area when browsing the web. The dual-core A5 chip on the iPad mini allows for responsive graphics and a multi-touch experience that Apple believes to be both fast and fluid while still providing all-day battery life.

The iPad mini features a front-facing FaceTime HD camera and a 5-megapixel iSight camera on the rear, which allows for recording full HD1080p video. The iSight camera includes video image stabilisation while both cameras feature backside illumination, which Apple claims will allow users to capture great pictures in low light. The iPad mini also allows easy sharing of photos with friends and family using iCloud’s Shared Photo Streams.
The iPad mini features dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi support for speeds up to 150 Mbps, which Apple says is twice the Wi-Fi performance compared to previous iPad models. The iPad mini is available in both Wi-Fi  and cellular versions. It is world-ready with built-in support for most wireless standards, including LTE and DC-HSDPA. Using the Personal Hotspot feature, you can share a fast cellular data connection via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB with up to five other devices such as the MacBook Pro, the iPod touch or another iPad.

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