It looks like the iPad Mini 2, certainly with Retina display panel, is headed for a November 2013 release date as mass production of the 7.9-inch tablet's high-resolution screen reportedly reaches the optimal level for global distribution.
This assessment, according to CNET, came from Vinita Jakhanwal of IHS iSuppli. "Based (on what) we are seeing in the production pipeline ... The volumes are similar to the iPad Mini that we saw in Q4 of last year," Mr Jakhanwal said.
The indicators so far, tentatively set up the second Mini for a Q4 2013 appearance, with the debut to likely occur in October and the actual release date to follow in November. Note that the first Mini hit the market on the same month in 2012 following its introduction by Apple on the same year.
The forecast echoes an earlier report that the Mini 2, along with the slimmed down iPad 5 will make a landfall anytime between October and December 2013, per reports by Bloomberg.
However, it goes against the claims made by KGI Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo that only the 9.7-inch iPad will come out in 2013 and the smaller build will not materialise until March or April of 2014.
Mr Kuo cited production difficulties directly related to Retina panel as the major cause of delay. Yet it appears now that Apple's Retina supply partners, identified in the IHS report as LG Display, Sharp, Samsung and AU Optronics, have resolved the glitches.
Consequently, Apple was able to ramp up the production of the pixel-dense and thin display panel, the mass production of which is now in the same level seen in 2012, Mr Jakhanwal said.
With Retina as likely part of the Mini 2 package, consumers can expect a screen resolution that is similar to that of the iPad 4 at 2048 x 1536 but with higher pixel density at 324ppi simply because the slate has a smaller screen size.
The new development will allow the Mini 2 to surge past of the Nexus 7 2013 edition, which has a screen resolution of 1920 x 1200 with a 323ppi. Previously, the second Mini is though to merely carry the same first iPad Mini display specs, which is a mediocre 1024 x 768 with a 162ppi.
However, it remains a question mark if the Apple small tablet will be as powerful as that of its Google rival, which boasts of a quad-core Snapdragon CPU. But rumours suggest the Mini will come equipped with a faster processor, likely of the A6X class, and additional RAM provision from last year's 512MB.
And with the two practically tussling with the same tablet prowess, the battle will boil down to pricing, which according to experts will favour the Nexus 7, which has a starting price of $230 for the 16GB basic model.
The iPad Mini 2, on the other hand, will likely sell at $330, just like the first edition though there were suggestions that the price mark could be bumped up slightly since Retina is now part of the menu.
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