iPad mini 2 Retina (Apple website, coming in late November)

Apple’s web page advertises the new iPad mini with Retina display as coming in late November. In Apple’s parlance, that’s probably November 29, a Friday. Apple’s penchant for making new products available shortly following the announcement was not on display at the October 22 media event as the company said the new iPad mini would not launch alongside the iPad Air.

We already heard that Apple was looking to both LG Display and Samsung as the primary iPad mini screen supplier Sharp has been experiencing issues producing high-resolution 7.9-inch IGZO panels, causing limited supplies at launch. A new report alleges Sharp’s LCD panels are actually suffering from burn-in problems, prompting Apple once again to seek help from arch-rival Samsung…

Korea’s ETNews cites industry sources as saying that Apple may expand transactions with Samsung as Sharp struggles to solve burn-in issues with IGZO panels for the device. At the heart of the issue is malfunctioning of Sharp’s thin-film transistor, or TFT.

A component analysis has revealed that Apple switched to Sharp’s power-sipping IGZO panels for the iPad Air. While these burn-ins are not visible to the naked eye, the screens don’t meet Apple’s strict technological standards.

Sharps’ IGZO panel also has a supply problem, the report states.

The burn-in problem was caused by the drastic reduction of the pixel size. The resolution of the 7.9-inch iPad mini with Retina display is 2048×1536, about four times clearer than the existing 1024×768 products. LG Display used the amorphous silicon (a-Si) for the substrate, whereas Sharp used IGZO.

The pixel of the smartphone display is smaller than that of the iPad mini Retina panel, but as the Low Temperature Polycrystalline Silicon (LTPS) technology is used, it can be produced stably. The pixel of the iPad mini Retina is the smallest among those products using a-Si. Sharp failed to solve the chronic problem of IGZO, i.e. uniformity, and its yield went down.

The issues reportedly prompted Apple to negotiate with Samsung Display for the supply of displays starting next year.

Apple needs fifteen million panels for the device by year’s end, from both LG Display and Sharp. Sharp is thought to be responsible for as much as 40 percent of all orders, with the remaining 60 percent going to LG Display.

Though Samsung was originally being discussed as a supplier, talks “fell through”. The original iPad mini display supplier, AU Optronics, didn’t make the cut due to its own yield problem.

four iPad mini retina display

If the burn-in problem can’t be solved, Apple can either relax its technological standard, risking damage to the brand, or upgrade the display substrate to low temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS), which has more masks than a-Si, costs more to make and the production capacity is smaller, too.

The report goes on to state that Samsung’s display-making unit “was the first to solve the technological problem.” Whether or not all of this will force the iPhone maker to delay the new iPad mini’s launch is anyone’s guess.

The iPad mini’s Retina display packs in the same 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution as its full-size counterpart. The device also features the A7 chip with M7 motion tracking. In fact, specs-wise there really is no difference between the iPad Air and the iPad mini with Retina display other than form factor.

  • RarestName

    Best frenemies.

    • Tech Guru

      funny thing is Samsung can tell apple to go FK off but apple cant do that to Samsung.

  • Rares

    So if I buy a mini 2 this november will it come with screen problems?

    • Jonathan

      No, they’re looking to Samsung for more supplying, which doesn’t have the problem.

      • Rares

        Thanks, as soon as I saw your comment, I ordered the mini 2

      • Vijay Panjwani

        Its not about samsung, apple will try its best to provide you with a best product!

      • chris125

        yet they continue using these sub par suppliers. Same thing when they used some LG screens for rMBP and had lots of issues that samsung did not.

      • Tech Guru

        if its not about Samsung apple would not be spending billions of dollar a year doing business with them.

        without Samsung, there would be almost no iDevices in circulation and a great number of the ones that are would have all kinds of quality issues.

      • Jonathan

        Awesome. 🙂 Hope you enjoy it.

    • Stefano


  • Mr.Ocean

    My iPad Mini 1st gen has screen burning problems… but i dont want to go to the genius bar because i would probably get one with an unjailbreakable OS Version 🙁 …. Well, first world Problem I guess 😀

    • Umut Bilgiç

      Are you at ios 6?

      • Mr.Ocean

        Yea. iOS 6.1.2

  • CollegiateLad

    I don’t always trust rumors, but when I do, they’re always from anonymous sources.

  • Max Kas

    November 29? Black Friday?

  • Rowan09

    I went into t-mobile yesterday and they told me the iPad Mini with Retina was available, such a lie. I was looking to purchase the Air with the 200mb free but that was too much of a hassle so I just went to Target with my old iPad 1 and got $200 towards the Air.

  • Laszlo Gaspar

    The iPad mini with retina display is a rather impressive device and that display is very impressive, the new nexus 7 was good but the new iPad mini’s display is just awesome.

  • Garrett Alkofer

    So if I buy an iPad Mini with Retina there is only a 40% chance that I’ll get one with an IGZO Display? Otherwise it will be LG’s a-Si? What is the difference?

  • chris125

    This is why you don’t switch to a sub par supplier. Samsung may “suck” but they make a great product for apple and are the only one it seems that can keep up with demands that apple requires.

  • DarkHuntress

    There are no enemies when it comes to money. if Apple has the cash, Samsung will sell.