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Mini takes lead in US iPad sales as iPad Pro jumps in at 12 percent, survey data says

The split of U.S. iPad sales is now weighted in favor of the iPad mini, although the iPad Pro captured a "meaningful" 12 percent share during the December quarter, according to a survey compiled by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners.

While the iPad Air 2 remained the best-selling individual iPad model during the period, both Air generations comprised just 40 percent of units sold overall, CIRP said. The Mini segment made a major leap forward year-over-year from 32 to 47 percent.

The low-cost Mini 2 from 2013 was the most popular Mini model, followed by last year's Mini 4. The Mini 3 took home just a fraction of sales, presumably because the product is effectively a Mini 2 with Touch ID and a gold color option.

The CIRP data may suggest that the Pro is off to a strong start, in spite of the cheapest model selling for $799 before accessories like a case, an Apple Pencil, or a Smart Keyboard. The firm surveyed 500 U.S. shoppers who bought Apple devices between October and December.

iPad sales have, however, been on an overall decline for several quarters. The exact causes are unknown, though typically this has been blamed on the rise of "phablets" like the iPhone 6s Plus, which are big enough to handle some tablet duties —like reading and video —while also serving as a phone.

People looking to save money might therefore just buy a phone and a laptop, especially since MacBooks continue to have advantages like a built-in keyboard, a user-accessible file system, and more powerful apps.