Analyst: iPad mini may even be slicker than iPad 3

The rumored mini iPad could be Apple’s sexiest tablet yet, with one analyst predicting that the aesthetics will play an important role in pushing the product into the mass market. The current iPad lineup is pretty and with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7 looking a bit plasticky, premium design paired with Apple’s famous fit and finish could give an inexpensive, smaller iPad just the kind of attraction it needs to make average consumers drool down their black turtlenecks…

According to Tokepa analyst Brian White (via AllThingsD), a smaller iPad is bound to be slicker than the third-generation model:

Apple did not skimp on the aesthetics of the much anticipated iPad Mini. In fact, we believe the iPad Mini could outshine the new iPad in terms of how the device feels in a consumer’s hands.

Of course, one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to nail this one. Apple rules industrial design and is especially adept at designing head-turning mobile devices.

White also believes the iPad mini is gonna be in short supply initially because it is “more challenging to produce than prior iPad iterations”.

Maybe manufacturing difficulties stem from the Retina display?

It hasn’t so far been rumored that the device will have a screen resolution justifying the Retina moniker. The Wall Street Journal earlier in the month quoted folks “with knowledge of the situation”, who claim the gizmo will run a 7.85-inch liquid-crystal display “with a lower resolution than the third-generation iPad”.

I expect the iPad mini to be nothing short of spectacular from the design standpoint.

The Wall Street Journal says Apple has commissioned its contract manufacturers Pegatron and Foxconn, based out in Asia, with building ten million units, indicating the company has high hopes for the smaller iPad going into this holiday season.

However, the somewhat-reliable DigiTimes, an Asian trade publication, was first to report that suppliers AU Optronics and LG are unable to meet the required 9 to 10 million LCD screens for the iPad mini amid yield issues.

Gorgeous iPad mini renders by designer Martin Hajek.

Apple apparently set a goal of five million iPad mini panels for the third quarter, but later had to drop to one million due to low yield rates. It gets worse as one of every five displays coming off the press must be thrown out, allegedly (this is DigiTimes after all).

As for White’s ‘slick iPad mini’ meme, I guess the analyst has been reading the same rumors and seeing the same mockups as the rest of us.

Gee, I should have been an analyst.

The word on the street has it that Apple will on Wednesday issue invitations for a press conference, probably slated for October 17, to announced the iPad mini.