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It's due out in the fourth quarter

Apple may be preparing an iPad mini with a retina display for the holiday season, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal

Apple is reportedly looking to release its next-generation iPad mini in the fourth quarter of this year, and while some new features have been discussed -- like colorful back covers -- the main draw seems to be the addition of retina display. 

The original iPad mini, which was released in November 2012, had a 1024x768 resolution display. Apple is likely bumping it up to retina display in order to keep up with the likes of Google, which just announced its newest 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet with a higher resolution than the former. 

What's more is that Apple is leaning on Samsung to make its displays for the next iPad mini, which seems to be the opposite of what both companies are trying to accomplish -- distancing themselves from one another.

Apple plans to use Sharp and LG Display for its next iPad mini screens, but later added Samsung to the list to make sure enough displays are produced in time. Apple and Samsung may be competitors in the mobile device realm, but the fact is that Samsung has the capability to keep up with production and offer the quality Apple wants.

Apple and Samsung have engaged in a nasty patent war since 2011, which started when Apple accused Samsung of copying the iPad/iPhone for its Galaxy line. Between that and the fact that the Galaxy line has blown up in popularity -- making it Apple's main competitor in the smartphone/tablet sector -- the two haven't been getting along and are trying to put some space in their relationship. 

In October 2012, Samsung Display -- which provided Apple with liquid crystal display (LCD) panels for its iPhones and iPads over the years -- officially severed its contract with Apple. Samsung cited cost as the main issue, since Apple has started using Samsung competitors with better prices for displays recently. Hence, Apple was expecting bigger discounts from Samsung.

Earlier this year, Samsung's President of LSI business Stephen Woo said that it's crucial for the South Korean electronics maker to focus on alternatives to Apple when it comes to the chip sector.
"As there are just two smartphone makers that are doing really well, chipmakers supplying them have grown in tandem. So we plan to bolster our relationship with those key customers," said Woo.

"(We) should diversify our customer base and are making such efforts already, adding some Chinese customers. We see emerging players who have potential to grow in smartphones and we will continue to make efforts to supply them with our chips."

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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By aliasfox on 8/1/2013 2:55:18 PM , Rating: 2
I think the iPad 2 is going away, and we'll likely be left with:

~$249 iPad Mini 2
~$329 iPad Mini 2 with Retina
~$499 iPad (with Retina)

I doubt we'll see the original iPad Mini stick around unless Apple wants to push it for the EDU market for <$200.

Also, I hope the big iPad gets cheaper and/or 32GB standard... the $499 tablet market is probably losing steam very quickly.

By Nortel on 8/1/2013 3:45:54 PM , Rating: 2
Your average 'folk isn't going to concern themselves about the 32gb size. Most people go for the cheapest entry point for their first tablet or for a present. If you already own an iPad, you are very likely to go for 32/64 since capacity was likely a concern at 16gb.

$249 for an iPad mini 2 would prove to be a massive success.

If the new iPad is slimmed down in the form factor of a mini and there is some notable improvement over the 'iPad 4', I'll be on board for sure.

By aliasfox on 8/1/2013 4:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
Well, 32GB of NAND would probably cost Apple about $2 more than the 16GB does, so I'd be a little annoyed. I spent far too much on my iPad 1 (32GB and 3G/GPS) and I don't want to spend nearly that much the 2nd time around.

I hope they figure that the incremental sales on 32GB at $499 would be worth it despite the $90+ loss in margins vs selling it at $599...

By retrospooty on 8/1/2013 5:28:34 PM , Rating: 3
That is irritating. If Google can sell the Nexus 7 32mb for $40 more than the 16mb, then Apple shouldnt be charing $100 for it. Ridiculous, especially when you know it costs them a couple dollars extra at the most.

By Nortel on 8/2/2013 1:40:45 PM , Rating: 2
When you buy a car you pay a hell of a lot more than you should for the engine upgrade, leather seats, silver paint, etc... This is the same model. Apple makes more margin on the 32/64gb models and that helps to offput the smaller margin on the 16gb model.

Seriously, this isn't all that hard to figure out.

By techyguy on 8/2/2013 2:24:00 PM , Rating: 2
My family just bought 2 Hyundai Sonatas to replace our Nissan Altimas.

Considering the Hyundai Sonata comes with more upgrades for a better price, including good quality, Id say it is a better buy.

Apple should not have a 16GB tablet anymore, or people will buy competitors tablets with better specs.

By Flunk on 8/1/2013 4:53:35 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think Apple will release anything under $299, the current iPad mini is $329. You know how much they like margins and their customers will pay $100 more than the competition because, you know "Apple is better".

By Shadowself on 8/1/2013 5:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not so sure that Apple is the one that likes high margins.

Recently Apple posted better than expected iPhone sales with both numbers shipped and gross dollars income well above expectations. Margins slipped, and even though the slip was less than expectations Wall Street still beat them up for the margins slipping.

Thus whether Apple cares about margins or not, the tech media certainly does and Wall Street certainly does. This somewhat forces Apple to keep their margins ridiculously high.

Unfortunately that means it is extremely unlikely we'll see the new iPad mini (retina display or not) for under $299 just as you suggest.

By aliasfox on 8/1/2013 5:42:59 PM , Rating: 2
I hope not. I may be somewhat Apple biased, but a $299 mini running an A6 without Retina display is a hard pill to swallow.

The current Mini is underspecced against the Nexus 7 - that's fine, because it's at the end of its life and the Nexus 7 just launched. But next month you'll have a fresh A6 based Mini against the still new Nexus 7, and it's harder to make excuses if the Mini is not only underspecced, but overpriced to boot.

The A6 is reasonably fast on the CPU front and can definitely hold its own on the GPU front against the Nexus 7. An XGA display isn't awful, and could be fine if the price were within $20 of the Nexus - I personally can't really see the pixels on a Mini right now without trying anyway. A non-Retina $249 A6 based Mini makes sense - you trade a little speed and a resolution for beautiful build quality, light weight, and long battery lfe. A non-Retina $299 (or even $329) A6 based Mini just suggests that Apple truly believes that every one of its sales goes to suckers.

I hope the Mini 2 is really just a shrunken iPad 4, just like how the Mini 1 was just a shrunken down iPad 2 (with lightning).

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