The iPad mini is taking a bite out of sales of its full-sized counterpart. That’s the conclusion of one Wall Street observer, who found fewer seven-inch Apple tablets available than the larger 9.7-inch iPad. But is the finding a sign of cannibalized iPads or something else?

A poll of fifty Apple stores by Citi uncovered the mini available in eighty percent of the locations, but severely limited, except for the 32 gigabyte version. However, all stores checked had the new fourth-gen iPad in stock, just six percent reporting limited availability…

“While not explicitly asked, it is clear in our survey work that the iPad 4 is not selling well, cannibalized by mini sales,” Citi analyst Glen Yeung told investors Wednesday.

The iPad mini, a cannibal?

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this argument.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has spoken on the issue, dismissing the issue by saying “It’s much better for us to do that than for somebody else to do it”.

Analysts have said the mini could consume up to one-fifth of iPad sales.

But Yeung makes a point that could refute his own argument about cannibalization. He estimates about ten million iPad minis and between ten and fifteen million other iPads were produced for the current quarter.

Doesn’t that reflect an in-built scarcity of around five million minis? And, is this a case of cannibalization or simply a supply issue?

He claims Apple has asked AU Optronics to stop sending defective iPad mini displays.

We’ve reported that AU Optronics – one of the two companies supplying Apple mini displays – is having production problems. Although the company has disputed the claim, lower production of the mini could create scarcity on shelves.

For Apple, the more troubling prospect is supply issues. After all, as Cook noted, cannibalization of one Apple product by another Apple product isn’t really a problem.

When the Microsoft Surface starts eating into iPad sales, then Apple execs may take notice. Recent surveys have indicated most people interesting in purchasing a mini are first-time tablet owners.

The real question for Citi and other Apple watchers is whether consumers unsuccessfully searching for an iPad mini purchase a rival device or another iPad?

  • JWu

    The 4th generation iPad just isn’t exciting. Apple could’ve just made the chamfer edge and add the metal buttons.

  • It was clear from the first point. Since the introduction of iPad Mini, the iPad 4 looks like an overly-expensive premium kind-of tablet.
    Why spend more when you get almost the same for less along with much more portability?

    • RarestName

      It’s not really worth it now since the screen isn’t “retina” or however you call it. I was ready to sell my iPad and replace it with the iPad mini but I think I will wait for the one with a sharper screen.

  • Until apple really releases their numbers all these analyst are just doing their best to manipulate the stock…I heard Q3 there was a drop, but everyone knew an ipad mini was on the way along with a new ipad so like the iphone, the ipad also suffers from the waiting game that affect apple…people holding off for the next product. I was at a best buy in Georgia and I saw at least 15 iPads sold in 20 minutes and another 6 minis… So I think all this talk about apple dropping and sales being bad is just another way Wall Street plays with the stock as it is very profitable to scared a few idiots to sell and buy cheap…we all know they do that…I guess those bonuses really are juicy and some people need new boats this Xmas..hope the ps and downs don’t mess up anyone’s retirement account

  • katakefalos

    I knew it from the first 2 days of having the iPad mini going back to the 9.7 iPad that this is the seller and the future of the iPad.

  • I love my mini. It’s the perfect size and weight. I just wish Apple had released it sooner because now I have an extra iPad 2 that I need to sell.

  • The iPad 4 seems like a fixed iPad 3. They fixed their LTE Support and moved to their new Lighting standard. If they just added those two things. nobody would buy it. Especially those who learn more towards the Wi-Fi only version. So they had to add more power to it to keep it relevant. I have a feeling that we wont see any true difference between the iPad 3 and 4 until a couple years later when new iOS versions come out and games and apps become more demanding.

    • The iPad mini is a great deal for what you get. Most people don’t need all that power. The iPad mini seems like it could be aimed towards women and teens. Mostly for portability.

      I was considering the iPad mini for a while, but the lack of retina display and iPad 2-like internals kinda steered me away because of the fact that it could get slow and dated in a couple years.

      • ipad mini has no retina and lacks ram…. BOOOOOOO!!!

      • macboy74

        So did the ipad 2 which came out last year. Point?

    • and by that time.. boom!!! ipad 5 will be out hahahahh

  • duh… cause its cheaper…duh and poor folks who want any old apply junk will buy it cause they dont care about quality and retina screens..

  • haridsv

    It is funny how Apple keeps saying how ipad mini cannibalism doesn’t matter. Margins on ipad mini are smaller than for the full size ipad, which means every time someone chooses a mini, Apple will loose revenues.