The iPad mini 2 Conundrum: Retina or No Retina?

5 Aug

Whether Apple’s much anticipated iPad mini successor will utilize retina display has become a point of contention in recent months. Early on, rumors have emerged suggesting that the Cupertino company has been running into production related obstacles, and that it would be delaying the high-res feature to around Q1 or Q2 of 2014. This would later be reinforced by the leaked information from 9to5mac and Macrumors regarding the iOS 7 beta, which indicates that the new iPad mini would feature an A6 chip but no retina display.

On August 1st, Wall Street Journal provided a slightly different take on the abovementioned issues: According to its sources, not only is the retina iPad mini in fact happening, Apple has also begun ordering a large batch of 7-inch retina display panels from its major industry competitor, Samsung. The news presumably is divulged to WSJ by Asian component suppliers with close knowledge of Apple’s operations, and has been perceived to be legitimate given the US publication’s positive track record on major technological speculations.

As tempting as it may be, at this point, to declare one camp accurate, it should be noted that neither theories regarding the second iteration of the iPad mini appears to be completely incorrect. There is no question, on the one hand, that Apple is trying to release a new 7.9 inch tablet as soon as possible, preferably in time to take on the new Nexus 7 from Google and the soon to be announced Kindle Fire successor. On the other hand, it is also unquestionable that implementing retina-quality resolution on the iPad mini –so as to not compromise form factor and battery life– would be an extremely challenging task to fulfill in the short term. The current consensus among market observers appears to be that Apple will eventually release a retina display iPad mini, but that it won’t do so until after launching a non-retina model alongside the iPad 5.

The second iPad mini that is expected to be released in Q3 is currently speculated to feature the A6 chip as well as a two-chip LED package.

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