There’s never been much chance that Apple was going to release a new iPad mini with Retina display before later this year.
Although it’s true that Apple refreshed the fourth-gen iPad last just eight months after introducing the third-gen iPad, that refresh had the hallmark of being an exception aimed at making sure every iOS device was compatible with the new Lightning cable.
So it’s unlikely we’re going to see a Retina iPad mini this spring, and here’s further proof: current iPad mini sales aren’t tapering off, giving Apple no reason to upgrade their mini any earlier than necessary.
According to a report from CNYes, Apple has not seen a significant decline in iPad mini sales since the tablet’s debut. There’s just no reason to upgrade it yet, at least from Apple’s perspective: customers are perfectly happy with the current model.
What CNYes envisions, then, is that the iPad mini will be updated about a year after it debuted. They do not think it will change significantly in form factor, even though it will gain a Retina display (Apple can achieve this by using an A5X SoC fabricated with a much smaller process, as well as the use of a Sharp IGZO display; these steps can prevent the additional battery bulk we saw with the third-gen iPad).
They also think that the fifth-generation iPad featuring a redesigned aluminum alloy case and a thinner bezel will debut then as well. Makes sense to me.