Will the iPad Mini Catch On Fire?

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad Mini, expected to debut on Tuesday, will help double the global market for seven-inch tablets this year, IHS iSuppli has said. According to the research firm, worldwide sales of tablets with small displays will grow to about 34 million units in 2012 from 17 million last year. In 2013, the market is set to nearly double again to reach the 67-million mark.

“Just as Apple has dominated the market for 9.7-inch tablets with its iPad, iPad 2 and new iPad models, the company is poised to rule the market for 7.x-inch products, driving rapid growth of the segment in 2012 and 2013,” IHS iSuppli’s Rhoda Alexander said in a statement.

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IHS pooled together tablets with screens approximately 7 inches diagonally, including Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire HD, Barnes and Noble’s (NYSE:BKS) Nook, and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Nexus 7. Apple’s iPad Mini is expected to feature a 7.85-inch screen.

According to Alexander, while the battle in the crowded seven-inch space was very competitive, the iPad Mini was likely to be successful “as a device that will be attractive and easy to adopt for both new and returning customers.”

The smaller tablets will account for 28 percent of all tablet sales this year, up from 24 percent in 2011, IHS said, adding that its projections were conservative figures that could be driven up by high demand or a spurt in Asia.

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