updated 06:26 am EDT, Thu August 1, 2013
Apple turns to Samsung to help bolster supply of 7.9-inch Retina panels
The 'will it or won't it' saga surrounding the launch timing of an iPad mini with Retina display has taken a new twist with the WSJ reporting that Apple may have turned to Samsung to help supply sufficient Retina displays for the next-gen iPad mini. With the launch of the Google Nexus 7 (2013), which boasts a Retina display-equivalent 323ppi 7-inch display, the pressure on Apple to deliver an iPad mini capable of challenging the Nexus 7 this year has intensified. According to the Wall Street Journal, with Samsung Display added as a display supplier, the iPad mini will 'likely' arrive this year, and will not be delayed into early 2014 as some have suggested.
Apple is also said to be sourcing iPad mini Retina displays from Sharp and LG, confirming a previous rumor that indicated that Apple would be dropping AU Optronics as a supplier for the next-generation iPad mini -- AU Optronics along with LG Display are the suppliers of the current iPad mini display. The Wall Street Journal sources also indicated that Apple may be considering multicolored rear panels for the next iPad mini, much in the same style as its current anodized aluminum (and multicolored) iPod touch range. The Nexus 7, by comparison, continues with a plastic enclosure and only comes in black.
On its introduction in November, 2012, the iPad mini was welcomed by many critics for its more manageable proportions, but most noted that its IPS display was a disappointment when compared with the the panel on the iPad with Retina display. Despite this, its usability and lower entry price have seen it become highly popular with analysts estimating that it accounts for around 60 percent of Apple's total iPad sales. Although Apple's total iPad sales remain impressive, it is losing market share with increasing pace as the tablet space matures. An iPad mini with Retina display will be critical if Apple is to maintain iPad sales momentum.