iPad mini 2 Retina Display in March 2013?
Barely a week after the iPad mini was made available, the tech world is shaken by a rumor that has just surfaced about the possibility of next generation of iPad mini that is being dubbed as iPad mini 2. There is no word yet from ‘official leak channel’ such as WSJ (that earlier was the first to confirm iPad mini production) which makes the rumor still not to be taken too seriously. However, few credible sites such as Mashable has joined the party early which lend credence to the rumor.
While details are still scarce at this point of time and we expect many more ‘leaked information’ to be gushing out in the next few weeks to come, one most talkabout feature about the next generation of iPad mini is its retina display. The first generation iPad mini features a 1024×768 display resolution, making its 163ppi a weak link that has been the target of attack and criticism. After all, Apple has only themselves to blame as they were the one who first invented the term ‘Resolutionary’ but only to release a device that has the lowest resolution among its closer 7-inch competitors. Both Google Nexus 7 has Amazon Kindle Fire HD boast 216ppi or 30% higher than that of iPad mini.
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Apple might have its own reason to do with a sub-par resolution for its iPad mini. One of the reason that I can think of is the lack of reliable supply for the display. Before the epic battle between Apple and Samsung broke out, they were best buddies and their partnership was the envy of the world. Apple has given Samsung huge businesses worth billions of dollars, from CPU to display to memory, and in turn make billions dollars more from the sales of its i-devices. After the war erupted between the two titans, Apple has no way but to source for another supply partner, only to realize that there is almost no company that can quickly fill the huge hole left by Samsung.
Probably as a result of the lesson it learned from its bitter episode with Samsung, Apple has chosen to tweak its supply chain model and not to ever rely on a single supplier again. For the iPad mini display, Apple has picked AU Optronics as its supply source which obviously has some catching up to do if it were to completely replace Samsung out of the equation. The main reason why iPad mini display is not a retina-based could be simply because Apple has not been able to find a supplier that can reliably churn out the quantity it needs. Instead of waiting for another year to debut its iPad mini, Apple might be ‘forced’ to release it early in order to put a stop to iPad’s smaller 7-inch competitors from eating up its market share.
That is why while it is always good to take this kind of rumor (especially this early) with a heap of salt, I do not rule out the possibility of iPad mini Retina Display. To me, the question has always been when and not if. If we look back at the two events that Apple had in September and October this year and the number of refreshments it introduced to the slate of iOS and Mac OS devices, I would think it is just logically right that we are going to see a new iPad mini in 6-months time. Remember that ‘the new iPad’ launched in March 2012 was replaced with ‘iPad’ only after 6-months it was put on the shelf?
While it seems too early to ask, the question is what will be the name given to the next generation of iPad mini? Since Apple has abandoned the numeric naming to its iPad, a return to the numbering system for the iPad mini (calling it iPad mini 2) will be confusing and inconsistent. But it could not simply call it ‘the new iPad mini’, or could it?