Contradicting earlier rumors that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) could release the fifth-generation iPad, dubbed the iPad 5, and the second-generation iPad mini with retina display together in October, a new report said Thursday that the new models of both tablets may not be launched at the same time next month and that shipment of the smaller version would likely happen early next year.
According to market research firm IHS iSuppli, the 9.7-inch iPad 5 is still likely to be released in October, but production of the iPad mini 2 with retina display has not reached the level necessary to make the device ready for a simultaneous release.
“The Retina Mini looks less certain for that time. Manufacturing volumes on that would match better with a Q114 [first quarter 2014] launch,” Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet and monitor research at IHS iSuppli, told CNET.
However, Alexander also pointed out that Apple is typically unpredictable in terms of its product releases, so it's still possible that the company will announce the iPad mini 2 in October but not necessarily ship the device at the same time as the iPad 5.
According to CNET, analysts who have discussed the retina display yields issues also suggest that current production volumes of the iPad mini 2 could be less than optimal for a launch in 2013. The report also mentioned recent estimates for mini retina-display production by IHS iSuppli suggesting production volumes necessary for Apple may not happen until later this year.
KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier this year that the production of the retina iPad mini could be delayed until October due to display yield issues. However, in a more recent report, the analyst said that both the iPad 5 and the iPad mini 2 could be released simultaneously in the fourth quarter of 2013. According to Kuo, the iPad mini 2 with retina display could lose its charm if its release is delayed until next year.
While Apple’s plans are still unclear at this time, there is also a possibility that the company may unveil a thinner non-retina iPad mini model, powered by the A6 processor, an upgrade from the current A5, this year.