Apple Pursues iPad Mini with Retina Display, Say ‘Sources’

NEW YORK | Friday, December 14th, 2012 3:26am EDT

Apple’s next-generation iPad mini will focus mostly on enhancing the device’s display resolution.

Apple Pursues iPad Mini with Retina Display Say Sources 01

If the rumors are true, the next-generation mini tablet from Apple Inc. will move to a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, which would yield a higher pixel density than the full-size iPad’s 264 ppi due to the discrepancy in screen size. Photo: Nicky Colman/Flickr

Apple’s iPad mini is a company’s low budget offering to combat the likes of the Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire. It will certainly be interesting to see how the iPad mini will fare this holiday season when it goes against the Google Nexus 7.

Now the iPad Mini has been an exception to Apple’s Retina obsession. But fresh gossip from Asia-based industry sources indicates Apple wants to rectify this.

Apple’s next-generation iPad mini will focus mostly on enhancing the device’s display resolution.

That’s as far as the gossip goes, however. No leaked specs or rumors about display makers ramping up production of new displays.

The next-generation tablet will move to a resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels, which would yield a higher pixel density than the full-size iPad’s 264 ppi due to the discrepancy in screen size.

That compares to the current model’s 1024×768 pixels and 163pixel-per-inch density, and it would address the popular device’s most common complaint. Apparently, iPad mini is out-selling the iPad4 and may account for half of all of Apple’s iPad sales in 2012 – up to 50 million units.

Sources also said Apple will be modifying the 9.7-inch iPad’s existing LED backlighting system, going from dual light bars to one in an effort to cut weight and slim down the tablet’s profile.

The rumor also shed some light on Apple’s next gen full sized iPad. It looks like that the company wants to reduce the weight of the tablet by removing one of the two LED light bars on the device.

The weight had increased because the Apple had to put in more powerful battery back to support newer features.

“I think that’s highly likely for the progression of that product,” Vinita Jakhanwal, a display analyst IHS iSuppli, told CNET last month. “And also the fact that they have a whole ecosystem of apps that have been developed for the [Retina] iPad 3 and iPad 4.”

Whether it’s feasible for Apple and its display partners to pursue this, is the question. For example, if Apple did a Retina version of the Mini it would be approximately 300 pixels per inch. That’s really hard to manufacture and hasn’t been done yet for the 7.9-inch class display that Apple uses, CNET reports.

Although DigiTimes has a spotty record when it comes to forecasting upcoming Apple products, the publication’s sources in the display industry are a bit more reliable. In October, it correctly noted that AU Optronics would be tapped  as a suppler of the current generation of iPad mini displays, while a second report said weak yields were delaying the release of the iPad mini, 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and the new iMac.

It is obvious that Apple is definately going to put a better screen in the iPad mini at some point. The only question is when?

iPad refresh schedules were generally about a year length…until the unexpected October release of an undated iPad 3. SO the question is: will the mini be undated in 6 months, which puts a new version in  the April/May time frame, or in 12 months, at another October event?

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