Rumor: Apple evaluating Retina screens for the next iPad mini

iPad mini (landscape, in hand, display)

According to a new rumor out of Taiwan, Apple is already testing display panels for the second-generation iPad mini. With LG Display and AU Optronics already suppling panels for the current-generation tablet, Apple is thought to add a third company to the mix, Foxconn’s subsidiary Shenzhen Century Science & Technology (SCST). For the iPad mini 2, Apple is considering SCST’s panels with Retina-class resolution, which are based on One Glass Solution (OGS) technology. These panels have reportedly been sent to Apple for testing, indicating the Cupertino firm is in the exploration stage where it evaluates competing solutions before locking suppliers for the second-gen iPad mini…

SCST could also become a third supplier for the current-gen iPad mini panels through its cooperation with Chimei Innolux, another Taiwan-based Foxconn subsidiary. Foxconn has long been Apple’s favorite contract assembler for the majority of its products.

DigiTimes in December reported that Apple is expected to gradually adjust its manufacturing strategy for the next three years by outsourcing up to 70 percent of iPad orders and a small percentage of iPhone orders to Foxconn’s rival, Pegatron Technology.

Now, Taiwan-based China Times newspaper mentions that the OGS monolithic touch technology is more mature than the in-cell display process featured on the iPhone 5 while offering competitive advantages. The report goes on to note that Apple will upgrade the iPad mini’s pedestrian 1,024-by-768 pixel resolution display to Retina while keeping the size to same 7.9 inches diagonally.

OGS tech offers significant cost savings compared to the traditional G / G-type touch panels while not changing the LCD panel process. However, it’s faced some low yields stemming from the bubble problems, plus yellow tint, both of which should be eliminated by using the pricey vacuum equipment and switching to the full lamination process.

iPad mini promo video (iPad mini users 003)

Foxconn is reportedly investing heavily into SCST panel factories and manufacturing technology.

DisplaySearch forecast that the shipments of both the 7.9-inch iPad mini and its successor will hit the 50 million unit mark, exceeding that of the 9.7-inch iPad.

For the next iPhone, Apple is said to tap Touch-On-Display technology from Chimei Innolux that promises to fix the slower response speed of the iPhone 5′s touch panels caused by the in-cell technology.

Now, bear in mind that we can’t predict when Apple might release the second-gen iPad mini due to the lack of the release schedule regarding the device, which went on sale November 2, 2012 in nearly all of Apple’s markets following the October 23, 2012 introduction.

Breaking away from its usual summer pattern for iPhones, Apple in 2012 launched the iPhone 5 in September. The company also for the first time introduced the fourth-generation iPad just six months after unveiling the iPad 3 in March 2012.