Apple's production activities for the iPad Mini 2 and the iPad 5 will likely start by third quarter this year as Samsung is once again tapped as the prime supplier of Retina display components for the next-generation iOS 7 tablet.
According to Patently Apple, the tech giant's production facilities in China will start accepting Retina shipments from component suppliers anytime between the months of July and September.
Identified as Apple's chief partner in deploying the iPad Mini 2 with Retina this 2013 is South Korea's LG Display.
The news, however, came with a big surprise - the elimination of Sharp from Japan and AU Optronics from Taiwan as key players in the thrust to mass produce the two upgraded iPad versions.
Apple arrived at the decision following the disappointments on "yield and quality problems that bogged Sharp of Japan and AUO of Taiwan," the Patently Apple report said.
On their stead, Samsung will step in anew after a few cycles of absence from Apple's supply chain. Note that prior to the emergence of Galaxy devices as top iOS gadget rivals, the two companies are close partners, with Samsung providing many key components of previous iPhone and iPad builds.
Its return will allow Apple to redesign the new iPad editions, specifically the regular-size iPad that has been lagging behind the iPad Mini in sales and popularity.
The Retina panel coming from LG and Samsung will boost the iPad's display resolution to 2048 x 1536, which is an upgrade most-anticipated for the smaller iPad.
Also, the improved Retina technology provided more room for Apple engineers to revise the iPad 5's design template. Analysts expect the slate to show off a thinner and lighter body. Adding to its appeal is the virtual zero-bezel around its screen, creating a general look that is akin with that of the million-selling first iPad Mini.
The hardware bump ups also include faster processors for both devices, likely of the A7 architecture, according to numerous analysts' projections.
The recently-unveiled iOS 7, emphasising a flatter OS environment, is expected too to debut with the Apple tablets.
Reports pointed to the likelihood that Apple will push out the iPad 5 between July and August while the iPad Mini 2 is pegged for a September or an October release date.