Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is likely to release the next version of its iPad mini, dubbed “iPad mini 2,” in 2014, while a slightly updated version of the current iPad mini may be launched later this year, around the same time when the iPad 5 is expected, a latest report said.
Rumors are rife that Apple is running behind schedule in terms of releasing the iPad mini 2, due to a shortage of Retina Display panels. A new DigiTimes report strengthened this speculation further on Monday, saying that the device may not go into mass production until the fourth quarter of this year, which will eventually delay the device's launch until 2014.
“Apple is reportedly aiming to use Retina panel technology equipped with 2,048 by 1,536 resolution in the next generation 7.9-inch iPad mini. Apple is also said to be revising the design of the chassis to give the next-generation iPad mini an almost bezel-free look,” the DigiTimes report said.
While the Retina Display-enabled version of the iPad mini could arrive next year, Apple may release a lighter and thinner version of the existing iPad mini in the second half of this year with some upgraded specs.
Analysts at NPD DisplaySearch made a similar prediction in June, saying that Apple could release a thinner, non-Retina Display iPad mini this year, followed by an updated version of the device with Retina Display and an improved processor in the first quarter of 2014.
“I’m not sure how much sense it makes to change the size of the iPad Mini at this point but some improved CPU/GPU would be appreciated – almost as much as a $30 price drop which might make more sense,” Seth Weintraub of 9to5Mac said.
The DigiTimes report also provided some new tidbits on the iPad 5, which is rumored to be unveiled in September. The fifth generation version of the flagship tablet will feature “thin-film touch screen technology,” which will make it about 20 to 30 percent lighter than the existing model. The device may also come with a slimmer bezel design, allowing users to enjoy a bigger viewing area, the report said.
In addition, Apple may start producing the iPad 5 in small units in July, which is expected to be followed by volume shipments of 2 to 3 million units in August and September. In October, the device’s shipments will likely increase by 25 percent to 30 percent.