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iPad Air takes top tablet spot in December, reversing Apple's tablet price erosion

Apple's revamped, fifth generation full-size iPad Air was the most popular iPad over the holidays, contributing to a end of the iPad's Average Sales Price erosion.

According to a report by Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, Apple's iPad product mix shifted dramatically toward newer models over the holidays.

iPad Air accounted for 41 percent of iPads sold, while the fourth generation "iPad with Retina Display" made up another 13 percent. The lowest price iPad 2 represented only 5 percent of sales. Together, the full sized iPads were 59 percent of Apple's tablet sales.

Apple's iPad mini models accounted for 41 percent of sales, with the base model representing 25 percent of all sales and the availability-constrained Retina version making up 16 percent of the mix.

December 2012, the firm noted that the base iPad 2 model represented 27 percent of all iPads sold, a figure that drove analysts to assume that customers were increasingly less interested in premium models at higher prices.

However, Tim Cook's 2013 iPad Christmas indicates an affinity for higher priced models, apparently driven by the elimination of the extra weigh and thickness previously associated with full sized iPads by the sleek, pencil thin new iPad Air model.

CIRP Partner and Co-Founder. Mike Levin noted that "Apple managed to shift significant sales to its higher-priced models," adding that, "for the past year, the legacy iPad 2 grabbed from one-quarter to one-third of iPad sales.

"Along with the trend toward sale of models with larger storage capacities, Apple should see higher iPad average selling prices, with iPad 2 at only 5% of total sales and iPad mini sales split between the original model and the new iPad mini with Retina display."

ASPs for Apple's iPads have dropped every quarter since 2011, but that trend appears to have reversed slightly during the final quarter of 2013. Apple is expected to release official sales numbers for iPads next week during its quarterly earnings conference scheduled for January 27.