NPD DisplaySearch spoke to CNET today and gave a few interesting tidbits of information regarding the manufacturing of display panels for the next generation smaller form factor tablets. The company expects that Google’s 2nd gen Nexus 7 will land in the second quarter of this year, placing its release in late Spring/early Summer. In contrast, it expects Apple to stick to a similar production timescale to that of the iPad mini last year. Production of Retina resolution 7.9″ displays is supposedly set to begin in Q3, with the tablet landing in stores at some point at the end of that quarter, or in the holiday quarter.
Paul Semenza (NPD) speculates: “When would the Mini be available? Could be third quarter or fourth quarter.”
It’s expected that if Apple does introduce a Retina display in the next iPad mini, it’ll simply double the resolution from the current 1024×768 pixels, to 2048×1536. The biggest reason is to make it easier for developers, and keep iOS from becoming overly fragmented. The only issue is that this will quadruple the number of pixels on the display, and getting enough light to those pixels will mean more power, and inevitably a bigger battery. We already know that when the transition was made from the iPad 2 to the 3rd gen model, the battery got substantially larger and made the iPad much heavier as a result. Apple’s challenge is to keep the form factor small and lightweight and keep performance at a high standard. But, if anyone can pull it off, it’s Apple. It’ll be worth it though, it we get a 324ppi density display on the mini.
Do you think we’ll get a Retina mini this year? Or will Apple wait until the battery can be innovated further?