Thursday, October 03, 2013

Supply issues point to limited numbers of Retina display iPad mini 2, if any

Hopes of a iPad mini with a Retina display were dashed on Wednesday when Reuters reported that supply issues may force Apple to release only limited quantities of a Retina-display iPad mini, or none at all.

Apple's iPad mini is its 7.9-inch answer to smaller Android tablets, which range in size from 7-inches to 8-inches to 8.9-inches. Apple is under pressure to release a high-resolution version of its smaller tablet -- its original tablet, the iPad, has a 9.7-inch Retina display -- as its rivals, such as Google (with its 2013 Nexus 7) and (with their new 2013 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX) are pushing devices that have Retina display resolution.

With these rival tablets having Retina-quality displays, consumers are expecting it from Apple, as well. Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester said:
If they don't put in retina ... there will be howls.
Sidenote: Apple was earlier awarded the trademark for Retina, which the company has defined as having a high-enough pixel density such that a human eye is unable to discern pixelation at a "typical viewing distance."

According to the report, Apple's supply chain is only now ramping up to make Retina displays for the iPad mini. That is rather late if the device is to be introduced later this month, as is rumored. That would mean that, at best, the upgraded iPad mini could be available in only limited quantities this year. It's possible, the sources said, that Apple may delay the Retina version until next year.

This information matches an earlier rumor from June, which said that the new mini would come with an A6 processor, but no Retina display.

While the reasons for the manufacturing delay are unclear, one source said that Apple's famously stringent demands for its components were to blame, perhaps meaning that Apple had shot itself in the foot. The source said Apple's display panel suppliers were given strict power-saving requirements, and there were delays in Apple's certification of those panels.

LG Display, Apple's giant rival (and still, BFF) Samsung, and Sharp all vied to manufacture the panels, supply chain sources added.

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