A survey of 20 buy-side investors conducted by Piper Jaffray's Gene Munster last week indicates consensus sales estimates of 24 million to 25 million units. If accurate, that would mean a 10 percent bump in sales from the 22.9 million units Apple sold in the first quarter of fiscal 2013.
Munster's consensus numbers are mirrored by those of analysts recently polled by Fortune's Philip Elmer-Dewitt.
Sales may have been even higher if not for severely constrained supplies of the new Retina display-equipped iPad mini, which faced shortages lasting well into December. Combined with the late street date of the iPad Air --?which did not hit shelves until Nov. 1 --?Apple's tablet lineup was not at full strength until the quarter was nearly over.
Market research firm Consumer Intelligence Research Partners reported on Monday that while the iPad Air has taken an overwhelming share of the market for Apple's full-sized iPads, the previous-generation iPad mini continued to outsell its newer counterpart 25 percent to 16 percent. The disparity could be attributed to the high-resolution model's supply issues, or it may reflect renewed consumer interest in the older variant after its price was cut to $299.
CIRP also noted that the iPad's average sale price is expected to rise, reversing a trend that has seen the slate's ASP decline each quarter since 2011.
Apple will unveil their first quarter financials next Monday, Jan. 27. AppleInsider will have full, live coverage.