Generally speaking, consumer electronics sales fall a bit following the annual Christmas buying orgy. Fresh iPad mini display panel supply checks indicate demand for Apple’s newest tablet was not only strong, but increased by double digits in January. Meanwhile hopes for an early 2013 iPad 5 reveal continue to fade.

From its November 2, 2012 ship date through mid-February, the iPad mini was in short supply, leaving consumers to wait days or even weeks. Although Apple recently caught up with demand, the company had to boost post-Christmas production in order to get that done.

According to market researcher TrendForce, shipments of iPad mini displays increased in January by 10 percent. The month-over-month jump.

In related news, TrendForce is adding its weight to reports that Apple’s fifth generation tablet won’t ship until the third quarter of this year. Previously, it had been rumored the iPad 5 would arrive in the March-April timeframe, but those hopes are fading fast.

Additionally, TrendForce likewise confirms that the iPad 5 will inherit iPad mini design cues, including its ultra-thin body and side bezels.

“Firstly, for the improvement on product design itself, the next generation of iPad will apply the thin GF2 touch module of the same level as iPad mini and use the narrow bezel panel design to solve the issue of larger volume, thickness, and weight that have been criticized to gain a better balance for consumers in mobility and visual experiences,” says TrendForce analyst Eric Chiou.

Currently, TrendForce estimates that iPad mini accounts for 65 percent of overall Apple tablet demand. Chiou believes 9.7-inch and 7.9-inch iPad mini will roughly split 50-50 once the sleeker, svelter fifth generation model arrives this Fall.

Can Apple really afford to wait until Fall to deliver the iPad 5?