updated 04:56 pm EST, Wed December 19, 2012
Texas Instruments said to be more involved
Apple is speeding up production of a second-generation iPad mini, says RBC Capital Markets' Doug Freedman. The analyst is touring chip manufacturers in China, and makes the Mini claim in a recent investor memo. "iPad Mini Gen-2: Apple's gen-2 iPad mini is getting pulled-in, and is likely to have several new suppliers, with TXN gaining content," he writes.
TXN is a reference to Texas Instruments. For previous iPads the company has typically supplied minor components, such as touchscreen line drivers. Freedman hasn't suggested what parts TI might contribute to a new tablet.
How soon a new Mini might appear is also uncertain, regardless of whether or not the memo is correct. Apple launched the hardware in November alongside a fourth-generation iPad, but may have wanted it to appear earlier, given that Apple rarely launches new products in that month. The first- and second-generation iPads were launched in April and March of 2010 and 2011, respectively, but that may be too soon for anything but a modest upgrade.
One possibility is that the Mini will be getting a bump to a Retina display. Rumors have hinted that a second-gen model will take that focus, and the most common complaint about the tablet it's that it's the only iOS mobile device without Retina resolution. At the same time, though, Apple would likely need to upgrade the processor to cope with the extra pixels.