David Hsieh, DisplaySearch:
[…] Apple had planned to sell 40M iPad minis (7.9â€) and 60M iPads (9.7â€) in 2013. However, the reality seems to be the reverse, as the iPad mini has been more popular than the iPad. We now understand that Apple may be planning to sell 55M iPad minis (7.9â€) and 33M iPads (9.7â€) in 2013.
Does DisplaySearch know something no one else knows? No. Just to be clear: No one outside of Apple knows Apple’s iPad sales plans. And only a few inside Apple know.
DisplaySearch estimated those numbers from what it saw as a shift in a specific split of component orders. In fact, these estimates based on a single component (TFT LCDs).
Since the LCD is a component used by both the iPad and the iPad mini, it is theoretically possible a market research firm could accurately estimate iPad and iPad mini production. The only problem is market research firms like DisplaySearch do not have full access to actual LCD production data to state what Apple’s iPad sales plans are. The best a market research firm can do is provide an highly educated guess. I should know; I used to work at DisplaySearch.