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Apple expected to ship 850K iPad minis in first week of sales

As the first iPad mini preorders are being delivered and the tablet hits shelves at brick-and-mortar retailers, shipment forecasts are already being released, with one analyst estimating a total of 850,000 units will go out to consumers over the device's first week of sales.

In a report obtained by AppleInsider, well-informed KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said Apple will likely ship around 850,000 iPad minis in its first week on the market, based on supply chain checks and logistical considerations such as transportation.

Kuo believes that had mass production started sooner than mid-October, the tablet would have seen higher first-week shipments. As it stands, Apple is in short supply of the 7.9-inch device as about 950,000 units were manufactured prior to launch, a statistic reflected in shipment quotes from the Online Apple Store.

The analyst goes on to say his forecast would put Apple at the top of the mid-size tablet market, with shipments outperforming Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7, two of the mini's biggest competitors. In the first two days after launch, iPad mini shipments are expected to reach the Fire's half-month shipment numbers and surpass the Nexus 7's average monthly shipments for the fourth quarter.

Amazon forecast shipments of its 7-inch tablet to hit 6 million in the fourth quarter, but Kuo doesn't believe will happen. He said that suppliers are beginning to see a slowdown in shipment momentum for the Fire, as well as the Nexus 7, and added that the larger 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD is now suffering from production problems.

Kuo sees lucrative holiday quarter shipments at 8.2 million for the iPad mini, followed by 4.5 million for the Kindle Fire HD, and 1.9 million for the Nexus 7. Going further, the Fire and Nexus will both see respective month-to-month declines of 47 percent and 52 percent, while iPad mini shipments will grow 11 percent over the same period due to increases in supply.

After selling out of its initial preorder allotment within hours, Apple conducted its largest product launch ever on Friday as the iPad mini rolled out in 34 countries.

Though Amazon's forecast is more than the chart (6M for 4Q12), very likely Amazon can't do it. Many suppliers are feeling the shipment momentum of Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 is becoming slow. The other not good news for Amazon is the 8.9" Kindle Fire HD has production problem now.