Reminder: Nobody but Apple Knows What’s Happening with the Retina iPad Mini

Consider this your routine reminder not to believe every single Apple rumor, especially those based on mysterious supply chain sources.

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While we’d certainly like to see an iPad Mini with a Retina display this year, months of rumors have produced no compelling evidence that it’s going to happen. If anything, we’re less certain about the prospect than ever in light of several conflicting reports. Thanks for nothing, rumor mill!

The latest scuttlebutt is a puzzler, courtesy of Richard Shim at NPD DisplaySearch (via CNet and Business Insider). Shim says Apple is on track to ship an iPad Mini with a Retina display this fall, but with the same A5 processor as the current model. A more powerful version, he said, will follow in the first quarter of 2014.

Unless Apple has pulled off some miraculous engineering, in which a two year-old processor can power quadruple the pixels at no apparent cost to overall performance, NPD’s story doesn’t add up.

At a resolution of 2048-by-1536, a Retina-display iPad Mini would have four times as many pixels as the non-Retina model. It takes more power to handle all those pixels, which is why Apple introduced the A5x chip in the third-generation iPad last year. Speaking to Business Insider, Shim had no explanation for why Apple might use an A5 chip instead, or how that would even work.

At this point, I’d usually turn to other rumors to figure out some sort of consensus — an Apple tea leaf triangulation, if you will — but consensus on the next iPad Mini is hard to find. Here’s a sampling of other recent rumors with conflicting information:

  • In December, Chinese website Zol.com.cn said a Retina iPad Mini would soon begin mass production, with an A6X processor.
  • Contradicting that report, Chinese-language site, MyDrivers.com, claimed that  small-scale production had begun on a Retina iPad Mini 2, but with an A5X processor.
  • In March, Chinese website CNYes said the Retina-equipped Mini was on track to launch in the fall, with no word on processing power.
  • iMore, a fairly reliable Apple rumor source, claimed that the next iPads could debut “as soon as April.” Didn’t happen. The site cautioned that a Retina display for the Mini “doesn’t sound imminent.”
  • In mid-April, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the iPad Mini 2 would be delayed due to technical challenges, but didn’t get into specifics on timing.
  • Kuo followed up later that month by claiming that mass production of the Retina iPad Mini wouldn’t begin until at least October, and that Apple might launch a cheaper iPad Mini, priced at $200 or $250, as a holdover. (Kuo has a good track record but this prediction just seems bizarre.)

Not all of these rumors can be true. Apple may ship a Retina display iPad Mini in the fall, or it may not. It may ship a new iPad Mini with an A5 processor, but that would likely mean no Retina display. Basically, everything’s on the table right now.

Just consider this your routine reminder not to believe every single Apple rumor, especially those based on mysterious supply chain sources. At best, those are educated guesses, and the folks doing the guessing are at odds about what’s actually going on.

7 comments
DaveTime
DaveTime like.author.displayName 1 Like

We have a full size iPad with Retina and the iPan Mini without it. In my opinion, there is no big wow to be gained by adding Retina to the mini. Incremental upgrades are OK (yawn) and significant upgrades definitely good. But I hope Apple is spending the bulk of their time taking their product lines to a forward thinking new levels. What I want to see is a hybrid MacBook/iPad. In other words something like a 13" Fully loaded MacBook Pro that has two physical configuration options: 1) Open and operate in the traditional clam shell style with an active touch pad - or - reverse flip a separate bottom cover and the top cover monitor so the monitor rests on what was the bottom and the bottom cover rests over the keyboard. Flip the whole thing over and use it like an iPad with an active touch screen. This could serve as a single device (desktop connected to large external monitor, full featured laptop, and mobil touch device). Even at a premium price, it would like be a very compelling option for many instead of buying some combination of a Mac, Macbook and and iPad. Extra points for adding a dock to it for your iPhone so you could accept and make calls seamlessly while using the BookPro/Pad. I know I know, easier said than done and it might cannibalize existing product. But really, it seems like such an obvious Next Big Thing.

ChikuMisra
ChikuMisra

I think apple should focus on the lower end of the market, since that's where most of the people are.

ChikuMisra
ChikuMisra

I have to disagree. I had a 7g nano for a few weeks, and it didn't have retina and the images look blurred compare to the very sharp retina screen of the itouch 5 and the retina ipad.

FreddyBright1
FreddyBright1

<a href= http://tinyurl.com/BookVivekSood>Vivek Sood mentioned in his book The 5-Star Business Networks </a href> that innovation is important for business and the different strategies the company will present. Now if Apple's innovation is a retina ipad then I hope they could pull it off. It would really be beneficial especially to a country wherein robbery and thievery is rampant.

ChikuMisra
ChikuMisra

Why do people obsess with the next apple thing.....such a cottage industry. Just enjoy the regular retina ipad. Seven inch screen is tiny anyway. Personally, I regard it as neither here nor there, though others call it the most well rounded between iPod touch 5g and retina ipad 4.

Even if and when a retina ipad mini comes out, it will be too big to use as a music player and personal organizer like the itouch, but it will be too small to use as a e reader and Internet surfer. At home anyways. It'll be better for that stuff in public, but people are too preoccupied with their electronic gadgets in public anyway. When you're in public, whether the bookstore or mall or the park or wherever, you should put the gadget down and take in th environment around you, as was eloquently suggested by that dude who wrote the excellent book about living off the grid for a year, when he gave up electricity, bc he decided too much of his life was going by looking at screens. Bc that is all tv, computer, phone and the rest are....a screen.

newmanjb
newmanjb like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@ChikuMisra To each his own, but I prefer small tablets for reading (it's like a paperback book) and gaming. I also find them easier to type on than large tablets, because you can thumb type without having to split the keyboard or rest the tablet on a surface.

Can't really comment on over-obsession with gadgets. That's kind of what we do around here.

Tebob2
Tebob2

@newmanjb @ChikuMisra Amen! That we do.......it's called America and I love gadgets, always will and we're still free to do that!