KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a note to investors in which he says the second-generation iPad mini with Retina display won’t enter mass production until October due to yield issues with the new high-resolution display. If true, the problem could make a fall launch for the device very unlikely.
Apple is expected to refresh its entire family of iOS devices this fall, according to recent rumors, but it could be that the iPad mini gets left out. Kuo claims that suppliers are having difficult producing its display due to the number of pixels that need to be crammed into a 7.9-inch panel.
If the device doesn’t enter mass production until October, then it may not be available until early 2014. Kuo suggests, however, that we could see a cheaper iPad mini before the end of the year instead, allowing Apple to better compete with Android devices like the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire.
Apple could make the iPad mini cheaper by removing its rear-facing camera, reducing its internal storage to as little as 8GB, and changing the way it produces its A5 processor, Kuo states in his note. The result could be a device priced between $199 and $249.
Finally, Kuo gave his predictions for the fifth-generation iPad, which he believes will get a redesigned form factor just like the iPad mini’s. Even with that new form factor, he believes the iPad won’t make a massive impact on Apple’s sales because it doesn’t offer a different user experience than that of the more popular iPad mini.
We advice you to take all of this information with a pinch of salt until it’s confirmed by Apple, of course. But Kuo has been very reliable with his predictions in the past, so maybe there’s something in this.