Reuters is reporting that Apple may be having trouble securing enough high-resolution displays to produce a Retina-based iPad Mini this year.
The current version of the company’s $329-and-up 7.9-inch tablet sports a 1024×768 screen; Google’s $229-and-up latest Nexus 7 tablet features a 7-inch, 1920×1200 resolution display as does Amazon’s just-released Kindle Fire HDX, which also starts at $229.
According to Reuters:
The reason behind the delays in manufacturing the retina display screens for the iPad Mini were unclear. One source at a supplier said there were delays in Apple’s certification of panel producers, which were given strict power-saving requirements.
Reuters’ sources added that they “expected Apple to either wait until early next year for a full-fledged launch of a retina display iPad Mini, or to make a retina version only available in limited quantities before the end of the year.”
Apple has been expected to unveil the new iPad Mini model sometime this month, so it’ll be interesting to see what actually happens — Apple announcements are notoriously hard to nail down until shortly before they happen, if they even get spoiled beforehand at all. In other words, people can “expect” Apple to do things all they want; what Apple actually ends up doing can often end up being a different story altogether.
Whatever happens, I’d be mildly surprised if the company released a new iPad Mini with the same screen resolution as the old one. As my colleague Harry points out, the iPad Mini’s “low-resolution screen grows more anachronistic by the minute.” If these supply problems are indeed real, it’d behoove Apple to delay the new iPad Mini’s launch in order to get the screen right. It could mean missing the holiday shopping season, but last I checked, Apple seems to be able to sell stuff regardless of the time of year. And I say I’d only be “mildly surprised” because I think even if Apple released a new iPad Mini with the same 1024×768-resolution screen, people would still buy it. Tech writers would cackle about it, but regular people would still buy it.
As always, the requisite caveat: Reuters’ report comes from anonymous sources — “people who work in the company’s supply chain” — so take this news with a grain of salt.