Apple will be “unable” to launch a new iPad mini with Retina display this month due to supply constraints, according to sources in its supply chain, who have been speaking to Reuters. It’s thought the new device will only be available in “limited quantities” this year — if at all — and there’s a possibility it won’t be ready in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season.
Apple is now under increasing pressure to bring a Retina display to the hugely popular iPad mini, especially after Google launched a new Nexus 7 with a high-resolution display earlier this year, and Amazon announced the new Kindle Fire HDX — which has a higher pixel density than the 9.7-inch iPad — last month.
But recent reports have claimed that fans will not get what they are hoping for until 2014, and that this year’s iPad mini refresh may simply deliver a speed bump, rather than significant improvements to its design or display. That now looks even more likely after supply chain sources confirmed that production of the iPad mini’s Retina display has been delayed.
“Apple’s supply chain is only now gearing up to make retina displays for the iPad Mini, which means the gadgets could be available in only limited quantities this year, if at all, and the company may miss the chance to cash in on the year-end holiday shopping season, the sources said,” according today’s report from Reuters.
The reason behind the delays is unclear at this point, but one supplier said that there had been a hold up in Apple’s certification of panel producers, “which were given strict power-saving requirements.” Apple has also told manufacturers to reduce costs, the report says.
Sources don’t expect the device to be available in large volumes until early next year now, which is likely to push its launch back into 2014.
Apple could launch the device with limited supplies — and possibly make it available only to consumers in the U.S. initially before a wider rollout later on. But that seems unlikely, particularly after the bad press the Cupertino company received for not ensuring there were enough iPhone 5s units to go around on launch day late last month.
It seems more likely that we’ll see a smaller iPad mini refresh this month, then a more significant one with a Retina display early next year.