Apple orders Retina iPad mini screens from Japan Display and LG Display

By , Feb 25, 2013

iPad mini (Minimally Minimal 002, white, desk, Magic Mouse)

Apple, according to a new supply chain report out of Asia, has placed orders with LG Display and Japan Display for high-resolution Retina screens for a second-generation iPad mini. Japan Display is a merger of the mobile display operations of Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba, in conjunction with the Innovation Network Corporation of Japan. Now, LG Display and AU Optronics both currently supply 1,024-by-768 panels for the iPad mini, and iDB last week heard the latter has already started mass producing Retina panels for the second-generation iPad mini.

With LG Display and Japan Display now reportedly having been added to the mix – and with leaks like this purported back shell – all signs point to Apple lining up its suppliers ahead of manufacturing, usually a tell-tale sign that the official announcement is around the corner. And if the iPad mini 2 is in fact looming, we’re probably looking at a summer launch at WWDC…

A report by the Seoul-based online publication ETNews (translated to English by financial service BrightWire), Apple has ordered Retina-class 7.9-inch LCD panels from its suppliers, including LG Display and Japan Display.

While the story specifically describes these 7.9-inch panels as having the 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution (matching the full-size Retina iPad), the reported 400 pixels per inch claim doesn’t jive well with a previous rumor calling for the 326ppi panel.

iPad mini 2 rear shell (WeiPhone 002)iPad mini 2 rear shell (WeiPhone 001)
The purported iPad mini 2 back shell, via a Chinese forum.

ETNews speculates the newly ordered panels could be for the third-generation iPad mini, but it’s unclear why the company would order screens for both iPad mini 2 and 3 simultaneously. Perhaps the 326ppi panel is for the iPad mini 2 and the 400ppi one for a rumored Apple phablet or a brand new form-factor iOS device.

Apple store holiday 2012 banner (iPad mini)

So, when should the new Retina iPad mini be expected?

If you ask Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, these upcoming iPads – both the iPad mini 2 and iPad 5 – are due next month. His peer over at KGI Securities, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, is calling for a Fall launch, per his latest Apple roadmap estimate depicted below.

kuo_2013_apple_roadmap

Apple typically announces new iPads during the first quarter. The firm, however, broke that tradition by releasing the iPad 4 alongside the iPad mini in September 2012, just six months after the third-generation iPad went on sale.

Should the semi-annual refresh pattern hold, both the iPad mini and its bigger brother could be ripe for a March refresh, meaning Apple could be sending out the invites sooner than later.

Faster innards and a Retina upgrade should make the iPad mini 2 a compelling buy, no?

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  • TesticularFortitude

    I think I’m going try one of these retina iPad minis. Does anyone here currently own a mini? If so, do they feel heavy/bulky?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=787434689 Antish Ittoo

      Go to an Apple Store and try one ;)

      • TesticularFortitude

        We don’t have Apple stores here.

    • Gucciipad

      I have the iPad 3. The iPad mini is smaller n feels lighter. I wish I waited to get the mini.

      • http://www.facebook.com/casper.svendsen.77 Casper Svendsen

        Totally my situation… I wish I also had waited a bit for the Mini. The Ipad 3 is too heavy for travel situations, when riding the bus/train to and from work. It is too bulky an unhandy.

    • http://twitter.com/ExWoW MiKey

      I own an iPad Mini and it is awesome.The only thing missing is the Retina Display. It is light, thin and looks awesome. You can easily hold it with one hand for a long time while reading or so.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Crowstick Jennifer Rose

      The iPad Mini feels amazing. It’s probably the most addicting feature that it has. Once you feel the cool aluminum body and how paper light it is you’ll wonder how you ever got by with anything else. The only major thing that’s holding me back is the retina display. Once you’re used to seeing retina and you lay your eyes upon the Mini’s screen it’ll just drive you bonkers! I’m waiting out for the iPad Mini 2

    • ugfgbhjg

      I had the iPad mini for exactly one month (returned it in January once i heard the iPad mini 2 is soon to be released). I must say, my experience just felt superior in that one month of owning the iPad mini. I was able to accomplish a lot of tasks, travel easier, book reservations and flights on the go, and much more. I had a last minute date with this amazing girl, and we couldn’t find anyplace to have a good meal after a movie, especially if the area is unknown to you. Sure enough, just in a matter of minutes I was able to take her to an Incredible yet affordable spot thanks to the iPad mini. She even read some interesting articles on the mini while waiting for our entrees. I was able to access my resume from my laptop at home and shoot it to three employers via email in just minutes while waiting in one of their offices. The iPad mini helped make life a little easier not to mention its small enough to fit in my coat pocket. “Heavy/bulky” is not existent with the iPad mini. I am very excited to snatch the retina display mini when it’s released….just hoping for a sooner than expected release date.

  • Boss

    Hope they bring out a retina MacBook Air in June

  • http://twitter.com/lgasparjnr laszlo gaspar

    if hey keep the price the same then the iPad mini 2 will be a huge success.

  • SimonReidy

    A jailbroken iPad mini 2 with retina display (and 1-2GB of ram to play with) will be a beautiful thing. I know we’ll be waiting a while for it to be jailbroken, but I’ll definitely be buying one and waiting patiently, as I know that day will come :)

  • Liam Mulcahy

    I hope it comes out soon and I wish iPads could be jailbroken (legally)

  • http://twitter.com/D_r_G_r_e_g Greg S

    When they put the retina in the iPad 3 they did not increase it’s speed. I’m betting that the same happens with the mini. When the mini 3 is released it’ll have the speed increase.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tommy.m.graham Tommy Graham

      Check your facts. Every ipad has had a speed increase.