A7X-Powered Retina iPad Mini & iPad 5 To Come Before Christmas

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Everyone agrees that Apple will unveil the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C next week at their September 10th event. It’s not in contention. What is in contention is when Apple will release the next iPad and iPad mini. Furthermore, what about the million-dollar question: will the iPad mini 2 have a Retina Display, and if so, will Apple be able to ship it before Christmas?

According to respected, usually accurate analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities, the answer is yes.

In a new report, Kuo says that he believes Apple will release both the iPad 5 and the iPad mini 2 this year, sometime before Christmas. Here’s where it gets interesting, though: Kuo says both iPad 5 and iPad mini 2 will boast an A7X processor.

If true, that’s not just a huge upgrade to the mini line, which has until now been plugging along with an A5 processor. It also means without a shadow of a doubt that the iPad mini 2 will pack a Retina Display. An A-series-X SoC is simply the only A-series chip with a GPU powerful enough to drive a Retina iPad’s 3 million pixel display.

According to Kuo, Apple originally intended on launching the Retina iPad mini sometime next year, but the company has had to accelerate the mini 2’s development to be competitive with other 7-inch tablets. “Despite minimal form factor differentiation and unchanged casing colors, we think the retina display will still boost iPad mini 2’s attractiveness. Although the model’s availability is small due to production issues, if iPad mini 2 gets an introduction and launch this year, it should be able to impact consumers and freeze their budget for other brand vendors’ tablets,” writes Kuo.

Unfortunately, one side-effect of this might be that the iPad mini 2 could become more expensive. Kuo predicts that Apple will try to release a cheaper, scaled-down version of the iPad mini in 2014 to compensate.

Apple is also reportedly experiencing manufacturing issues with both tablets, but Kuo expects them to be announced in late October or early November. Fingers crossed: a retina iPad mini is literally the only Apple product I want this year.