While Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reportedly prepares to unveil its next-generation iPads -- the flagship iPad 5 and the retina iPad mini -- at a special media event on Tuesday, an analyst has predicted that the company might fail to produce enough iPad mini units with retina displays to satisfy demand until next year.
The second-generation iPad mini, which may sport the same 7.9-inch screen as the existing version of the device, is likely to face tight supply constraints ahead of this year’s holiday shopping season as Apple is expected to encounter problems with producing the high-resolution retina displays for the tablet, Timothy Arcuri of Cowen and Company said in a note to investors, obtained by Apple Insider.
Due to limited supplies of the retina iPad mini, Apple will likely sell about 23 million iPads in the holiday quarter, generating marginally higher sales than the 22.9 million iPad units the company sold in the same quarter in 2012. Apple is not expected to ramp up production of its retina iPad mini 2 until early 2014, according to Arcuri.
Although production of the next-generation iPad mini could be constrained initially, Arcuri expects strong demand for the iPad 5, which is highly rumored to be lighter and thinner while sporting smaller side bezels, similar to that of the iPad mini.
In addition to the new iPads, Arcuri also expects Apple to unveil on Tuesday the OS X 10.9 Mavericks, the next major upgrade to the company’s Mac operating system, and new MacBook Pro models running Intel's latest Haswell processors.
Current rumors have suggested that the retina iPad mini could be 7.5 millimeters thick, compared to the existing 7.2-millimeter-thick model, to accommodate a larger battery to support the higher-resolution display. Both iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 are also rumored to feature an 8-megapixel camera, which would be an upgrade from the 5-megapixel shooter found in the currently available versions.
Apple is widely expected to introduce the iPad 5 and the iPad mini with retina display at 10 a.m. PDT on Tuesday at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.