Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) suppliers are ramping up for production of the next-generation iPad mini that will feature a Retina display, according to unnamed industry sources via the Wall Street Journal. Apple has tapped Samsung (SSNLF.PK), Sharp (SHCAY.PK), and LG Display (NYSE:LPL) to produce the high-resolution display panels, reports the WSJ.
According to the WSJ’s sources, the new iPad mini will be produced in the fourth quarter of this year, though no specific release date was provided. Although the second-generation iPad mini is expected to get a higher-resolution screen, the display will retain its 7.9-inch size.
The WSJ’s sources also state that Apple is considering using “multiple color back covers” for the new iPad mini. The use of multiple colors in the iPad mini lineup may be part of an overall shift in Apple’s design strategy, since the Cupertino-based company is also rumored to soon be releasing a lower-cost iPhone in various colors.
The WSJ notes that the likelihood of Apple including a Retina display in the new iPad mini increased after Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) unveiled its new Nexus 7 tablet with a high-resolution screen. However, it is not known if Apple will also lower the price of the new iPad mini, in order to make it more competitive against Google’s new Nexus 7. The high-resolution Nexus 7 starts at $199, while Apple’s current iPad mini sells for $229.
Although Apple has been trying to reduce its dependence on Samsung, the report notes that the iPhone maker was forced to continue using the Korea-based company because there are few other suppliers that can handle the mass production of high-resolution screens. According to the WSJ, Apple had to return to using Samsung after AU Optronics (NYSE:AUO) said it was unable to make a profit from Apple’s display orders.
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