When I come to think of it, technology buyers often times are an unpredictable bunch. Seven out of each ten told iDB they would never buy a non-Retina iPad mini, lots of folks appeared disappointed post-announcement and more than half told us they would never buy and iPad mini. Heck, even kids haven’t fallen for Apple’s advertising blitz as they want full-size iPads for Christmas.

Fast forward to today, when NPD DisplaySearch estimates the iPad mini is now outselling its bigger brother as Apple doubles display panel orders with LG Display and AU Optronics to more than twelve million units, up from the previous estimate of six million holiday units

Remember, Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster called for six million iPad minis this Christmas. Looks like he terribly underestimated the smaller iPad’s potential as the 9.7-inch tablet, which begins at $329 for the 16GB Wi-Fi-only version, has turned into a big seller.

NPD DisplaySearch analyst David Hsieh said to Cnet:

The iPad Mini apparently is selling better” than the new iPad 4. It seems people especially like the size…[it’s] lighter, slimmer and easier to carry.

Citi analyst Glen Yeung and Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu recently said as much, painting the iPad mini as a fine young cannibal in the iPad lineup. Going forward, DisplaySearch estimates Apple could sell a hundred million tablets next year, half of them iPad minis.

He also issues an advice to Apple: “If the iPad Mini volume is anything near 50 million units, Apple will need to find other panel suppliers in addition to AUO and LG Display”.

Apple appears to be facing supply issues in the run-up to Christmas as the online Apple Store still quotes shipping times of one week for the iPad mini. Strong demand is a good sign as buyers are obviously attracted to the iPad mini’s price point and thin/light form factor. Plus, they ain’t keeping them in drawers collecting dust.

And if the rumor of a next-gen iPad mini with Retina display pans out, the iPad mini is bound to become the best-selling iPad just like the iPod nano became the top-selling iPod model.

Microsoft Surface?

Don’t ask.

So, 50 million iPad minis in 2013…

Not bad for a “disappointing” little gadget, isn’t it?