Apple could be planning to discontinue the iPad 2 when it launches its smaller iPad (dubbed iPad mini) this week, an analyst believes.

Apple Insider reports that Rob Cihra from Evercore Partners said in a note to investors that he thinks Apple will "phase out" the iPad 2 to ensure "clearer product tiers."

Apple is expected to unveil a smaller iPad at its special event on Tuesday, and Cihra predicts that the company will sell about 7 million of the new device in the December quarter. This added to Apple's 9.7in iPad sales could equate to a total of 26 million iPad units during the quarter.

Cihra thinks Apple will announce $56.1 billion in revenue for the December quarter, helped by sales of 49 million iPhones.

As for Apple's financial results for the last quarter, which will be revealed on Thursday, Cihra expects Apple sold 27 million iPhones, 17 million iPads, 4.9 million Macs and 5.7 million iPods, which makes a total revenue of $36.5 billion.

See also:

Analysts predict iPhone, iPad sales ahead of Apple's 25 October financial results
Weekly wrap: Apple's upcoming iPad event, weird Macs, and plenty more
iPad mini rumour rollup of the week
Leaked 13in Retina MacBook Pro photos and pricing surface
iPad mini to be called iPad Air and launch without Retina display?