If Apple is going to update the iPad mini with a Retina Display a year after it’s debut, they need to get cracking on sourcing the 2,048 x 1,536 resolution, 7.9-inch displays that will drive them. Now a new rumor suggests that Apple has contracted good ol’ frenemy Samsung to make them for them.
According to a report from Korea’s ETNews, Samsung Display is supplying the 7.9-inch Retina Displays to Apple, along with a new display for use in the iPad 5. The Retina iPad mini displays will be delivered to Apple in the third quarter, or starting next month, while the iPad 5 displays will come in the fourth. Both, presumably, would launch near Christmas.
That’s an interesting report. It’s possible that if Apple gets them in the third quarter, that they could manufacture enough Retina iPad minis to launch in the fourth quarter. Samsung might be able to deliver iPad 5 displays to Apple on a later timetable, both because the process is largely proven compared to 7.9-inch Retina Displays, and because Apple anticipates demand for the iPad 5 to be less than for the Retina iPad mini, which I think is a safe bet.
The big question is why Apple is signing orders with Samsung after taking such pains to distance their manfuacturing from them. Previous reports suggested that Apple would begin manufacturing Retina iPad minis this month with displays provided by LG, but ETNews suggests Apple was forced to go back to the arms of Samsung after LG wasn’t able to attain the yields required for a full-scale launch.