Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Production issues to delay iPad mini with Retina display until October: Analyst

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A research note obtained on Sunday from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a history of good accuracy when it comes to Apple rumors, says that he believes that production issues -- meaning difficulties with the Retina display -- will prevent the "iPad mini 2" from going into mass production prior to October.

The note follows one from earlier this month in which Kuo described production issues affecting the delivery of the iPhone 5S, the rumored lower-cost iPhone, and the iPad mini. This new note doubles down on the earlier iPad mini report.

Kuo suggested that -- as it awaits production issues to be corrected -- Apple might take the heat off of its dropping stock price by introducing a lower-cost iPad mini. That model would combat low-cost Android tablets such as the Nexus 7. Kuo said the lower-cost iPad mini as being priced between $199 and $249 on the low-end.

The current version of the iPad mini runs $329, at the low end. That price rises rapidly with different storage tiers and cellular capability. It's unclear if the lower-cost model would incorporate that functionality, as well.

Cost cuts could take shape via similar moves per the rumored lower-cost iPhone, meaning a cheaper case or by possibly removing reducing internal storage to 8GB or removing the rear camera, a la the Nexus 7.

Kuo still expects that Apple will launch a fifth-generation full-sized iPad model with a redesigned frame similar to the iPad mini this fall. He said:
We think Apple will stay competitive in the tablet market over the long term as it releases new and exciting products. But with product launches pushed back and competition getting fiercer, Apple and the iPad supply chain will have to wait until (the fourth quarter of calendar 2013) for significant growth.
In a separate research note also issued on Sunday, Kuo said he believes that Apple will introduce new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). He also expects that the Cupertino, Calif.-based electronics giant will continue to sell its non-Retina legacy MacBook Pro, which has an optical disc drive, to fulfill demand in emerging markets where Internet penetration still hasn't advanced significantly.

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