iPad mini (landscape, in hand, display)

Apple may not be planning to release an iPad mini with Retina display alongside its next-gen iPad 5 next month, according to a new report, which claims that there’s little supply chain evidence suggesting otherwise.

The news comes from market research firm IHS iSuppi, who is reporting that while the iPad 5 looks to be on track for its expected October launch, manufacturing volumes for the Retina mini point toward a 2014 debut…

CNET reports:

“While Apple’s iPad 5 looks to be on schedule for an October release, that’s not the case for the Retina version of the Mini, according to Rhoda Alexander, director of Tablet and Monitor Research at IHS iSuppli.

“The Retina Mini looks less certain for that time. Manufacturing volumes on that would match better with a Q114 [first quarter 2014] launch,” she told CNET.

Though she quickly qualified that saying, “But given that it’s Apple, one never knows” — meaning that Apple could announce a product but not necessarily ship it at the same time as the iPad 5.”

We’ve heard conflicting information regarding the Retina-flavored iPad mini over the past several months. And while initial reports claimed there wouldn’t be such a tablet this year, recent reports allege it’s on the way.

iPad mini 2 (backplate, space gray 001)

Here’s a September note from the well-respected Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo:

“But we now believe that iPad mini 2 may be pulled in for launching in late 2013. Since other brand vendors are all expected to have a line-up of new high resolution 7-8” tablets to launch over the next 3-6 months, we think iPad mini 2 may lose its opportunity in the market if it is slated for introduction next year.”

What Kuo suggests, and what today’s IHS iSuppli report seems to corroborate, is that Apple has decided to go ahead with the Retina iPad mini this year, despite poor panel yields. So expect low launch inventory, late availability, or both.

Regardless, the steady stream of shell leaks over the past several weeks indicates that we are nearing a next-gen iPad mini unveiling. It’s believed Apple will debut the new tablet alongside a redesigned iPad 5 next month.