Until very recently, all signs pointed to an October event where Apple would release a redesigned big iPad, and a new iPad Mini with a high-definition screen, or “Retina Display” in Apple’s marketing-speak.
But, in the past week, the outlook for a Retina iPad Mini is getting a little cloudy.
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White is in Asia meeting with supply chain sources. He reports, “We believe the higher-resolution iPad mini is unlikely to be launched in October, especially given the limited capacity around IGZO technology.” (IGZO technology is the screen technology used for the iPad.)
On its own, we wouldn’t give too much credence to White’s report. He doesn’t have a stellar track record on Apple product rumours.
However, his is the latest in a string of reports that suggests Apple is having some issues with the Retina iPad Mini.
A Korean news outlet had a big report on the state of the display market yesterday. Buried in the report, it said, “The 7.9 inch iPad Mini equipped with conventional display will be born again into a HD version having LTPS display next year.”
Not the best English, but the point is that Apple’s HD iPad Mini might not be out until next year.
Prior to both of the reports, Reuters said, “Apple Inc will be unable to widely roll out a new version of the iPad Mini with a high-resolution ‘retina’ display this month,” and “Apple’s supply chain is only now gearing up to make retina displays for the iPad Mini, which means the gadgets could be available in only limited quantities this year, if at all.”
All three of these reports are based on supply chain sources, which are not necessarily rock solid since Apple spreads out where it orders products. However, for the most part, the supply chain has been good at leaking a general overview of Apple’s product roll out.
For instance, supply chain sources predicted production issues for the iPhone 5S, and that seems to be accurate since users are having trouble getting the phone.
What does it all mean for Apple? Unfortunately, it’s wait and see! But, if this is correct and there’s no iPad Mini with Retina, or if it’s in limited supply, it’s not good.
Apple’s iPad business badly missed expectations last quarter. Either the tablet business isn’t going to be as rip roaringly massive as people thought, or people have been holding out for new iPad models.
Casings of a new big iPad have been leaking all year, and reports have been speculating that a new high resolution iPad Mini is in the works, so it would make sense for some consumers to hold off until the new products are out.
We’re two months away from the holiday shopping season. If consumers can’t get iPad Minis with Retina, they’re not going to be happy. Some might even opt for Android tablets, which cost less and have high resolution screens. (This is more likely during a holiday period since the tablet is more likely to be a gift. The gift-giver isn’t going to have to deal with the ramifications of using an Android tablet.)