Monday, October 21, 2013, 01:04 am PT (04:04 am ET)
Apple reaffirmed to launch Retina iPad mini, slimmed down iPad on TuesdayThe Wall Street Journal on Sunday reaffirmed rumors that Apple will be releasing a next-generation Retina version of the iPad mini, as well as a thinner, redesigned iPad, at an upcoming special event planned for Tuesday.
Second-generation iPad mini mockup by Martin Hajek.
Citing sources from Apple's supply chain, the WSJ reports that a new Retina display-toting iPad mini will debut at Tuesday's media event, siding with a number of industry watchers who believe Apple can overcome apparent supply chain constraints with the high-resolution panel.
While analysts and mainstream media alike agree that Apple will likely unveil a redesigned fifth-generation 9.7-inch iPad next week, the second-generation mini has been the source of much debate. The main concern is whether Apple's supply chain can manufacture a sufficient number of 7.9-inch Retina-quality panels.
Earlier in October, Reuters suggested that Apple may face severe supply constraints of its next-gen iPad mini if the company chose to launch the device this year. The report cited sources as saying low yields from Apple's display suppliers, LG Display, Samsung and Sharp, were holding up production of the tablet. This aligns with a prediction from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo's prediction, who said low display yield rates would delay mass production of the next-gen iPad mini until October.
If Apple is able to meet anticipated demand for the unannounced mini, however, the tablet is forecast to outsell its larger brother nearly two to one over the lucrative holiday season.
Interestingly, a look Apple's indirect channel inventory showed high levels for the current non-Retina iPad mini, suggesting the model may be carried over after Tuesday's announcement. Alternatively, the company could have simply dumped remaining direct channel inventory to reseller channels ahead of the new models' anticipated debut.
As for the full-size iPad, the WSJ reiterated claims from an August report that said the fifth-gen tablet will employ GF2 thin-film screen technology to make the device slimmer and lighter than its predecessors. The larger iPad is also said to feature a redesign with thinner bezels and rounded corners, bringing it more in line with the current iPad mini.
All speculation should be laid to rest on Tuesday, when Apple is widely expected to announce the new iPad and iPad mini, possibly alongside OS X 10.9 Mavericks and new Mac products. AppleInsider will be at the event providing live coverage from 10 a.m. Pacific, 1 p.m. Eastern.
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