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Rumor: Next-gen iPad mini display tech being developed by AU Optronics

A report out of the Far East claims that iPad mini display supplier AU Optronics has started development of screen technology to be used in the next-generation of Apple's mid-sized tablet.

Buried at the end of a report regarding AU's iPad mini display yields, DigiTimes claims the Taiwanese company is "working on" panels for an expected follow-up to the 7.9-inch tablet. It should be noted that the publication has a rocky track record with Apple hardware rumors, but its reports on display-centric news has been somewhat accurate.

Little is known of the supposed next-generation technology, though AU is currently supplying Apple with AH-VA wide-angle panels for the iPad mini, compared to the IPS components from LG.

Earlier in February, supply chain sources claimed AU was already in the pilot production stage for manufacturing Retina panels bound for the second-generation device

Many analysts expect the next iPad mini iteration to include a Retina display as Apple continues to deploy the high-resolution screens across its various product lines. Pricing remains a concern, however, as industry watchers estimate a Retina version could raise the bill of materials by more than 30 percent. Traditionally, when a new generation Apple product is launched, it retains the same price as its predecessor.

As for the current iPad mini, AU has reportedly overcome yield issues to reach one million panel shipments, easing the supply bottleneck that affected sales of the tablet since launch. The company is said to have managed higher yields as of the first quarter, with the rates expected to continue throughout the year.

It was reported earlier on Tuesday that Apple had finally caught up with high demand for its 7.9-inch tablet, as the product showed "In Stock" availability on the company's online storefront.