Yield issues to keep Apple from building Retina iPad mini until October - report

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
Apparent screen yield issues will prevent Apple from producing a second-generation iPad mini with Retina display before October, according to one well-connected analyst.

Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said in a research note obtained by AppleInsider on Sunday that he doesn't believe a so-called "iPad mini 2" will go into mass production before October. He cited apparent production issues associated with cramming enough pixels into the device's 7.9-inch display to qualify it as a "Retina" caliber of screen.

iPad mini


Because of those rumored production issues, Kuo suggested that Apple might introduce a more affordable iPad mini in the interim to help boost sales and fend off low-priced tablet competitors. He sees a low-cost iPad mini being priced between $199 and $249.

In his eyes, Apple could take a number of approaches to reducing the cost of building an iPad mini. His proposed options include removing the rear camera, reducing internal storage to 8 gigabytes, simplifying production of the metal casing, or using a more advanced process to build the A5 processor.

As for the full-size 9.7-inch iPad, Kuo still expects that Apple will launch a fifth-generation model with a redesigned frame akin to the iPad mini this fall. But he doesn't expect that sales of the full-size iPad will increase dramatically, because the device does not offer a different user experience from the iPad mini.

"We think Apple will stay competitive in the tablet market over the long term as it releases new and exciting products," he said. "But with product launches pushed back and competition getting fiercer, Apple and the iPad supply chain will have to wait until (the fourth quarter of calendar 2013) for significant growth."

Also on Sunday, in a separate research note also detailed by AppleInsider, Kuo said he believes Apple will introduce new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air models at this year's Worldwide Developers Conference. He expects Apple will also continue to sell its non-Retina legacy MacBook Pro with optical disc drive, citing remaining demand in emerging markets where Internet penetration isn't advanced.

Last year, Kuo was the first to detail a number of major changes to Apple's product lineup, including the discontinuation of the 17-inch MacBook Pro, and that Apple would continue to sell the legacy MacBook Pro with disc drive alongside a new, thinner model inspired by the design of the MacBook Air.

Kuo also accurately forecast Apple's entire fall product lineup, including unexpected releases like a redesigned iPod nano and tweaked fourth-generation iPad with faster processor and Lightning connector.

The analyst also revealed months before the new, thinner iMacs were announced that the redesigned all-in-one desktops would be in short supply. Availability of the iMacs proved to be so constrained that Apple experienced supply issues well into 2013. Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook even admitted last week that he wishes his company had held off on launching the new iMacs until 2013, when it would have been in a better position to keep up with demand.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 81
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,924member
    "We think Apple will stay competitive in the tablet market..." Paging Captain Obvious.
  • Reply 2 of 81
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,951member
    Because otherwise there otherwise would be an update only six months after the original introduction?

    I don't think people should expect updates more often than once a year. Sometimes they happen, but it looks to me they set a general pattern all iDevices will be updated Sept-Oct. of every year. iPods were updated around then for many years already, I think iPad and iPhone were recently put on that cycle, with iPhones pushed to Fall two years ago, and iPads pushed to Fall last year.
  • Reply 3 of 81
    red oakred oak Posts: 986member
    Right. Apple can barely keep up with demand on current lower margin mini, so they'll bring out a $199 version

    Makes complete logical sense. /s
  • Reply 4 of 81
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,430member
    And this source has nothing to say about Mac Pros? This source is only "well connected" to portable product info?
  • Reply 5 of 81
    How could Apple be having problems making a Retina display for the MacBook Air? They crammed one in the iPod Touch, so a MacBook Air with Retina shouldn't be an issue.
  • Reply 6 of 81
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    How could Apple be having problems making a Retina display for the MacBook Air? They crammed one in the iPod Touch, so a MacBook Air with Retina shouldn't be an issue.

    What do you mean by "crammed one into the iPod Touch"?
  • Reply 7 of 81
    johndoe98johndoe98 Posts: 278member
    How could Apple be having problems making a Retina display for the MacBook Air? They crammed one in the iPod Touch, so a MacBook Air with Retina shouldn't be an issue.

    There is less room for a battery in the MBA. The MBA has a 50 watt battery and the 13" RMBP has a 74 watt battery. Now, given they have virtually the same specs other than the MBA having a slightly weaker CPU, running on 17w instead of 35w, the argument could be made there isn't enough battery to last 7+ hours on a RMBA since the screen is drawing most of the power. It wouldn't surprise me to see them dump the MBA and simply introduce an 11" RMBP (and then possibly rename the entire line to MBs, notice the new RMBPs don't have the name labels on them like prior models, and they have been hailed as the future of Mac laptops).

    Upgrade the iPad mini to Retina and now their entire portable line up is Retina.
  • Reply 8 of 81
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    Originally Posted by tendoboy1984 View Post

    How could Apple be having problems making a Retina display for the MacBook Air? They crammed one in the iPod Touch, so a MacBook Air with Retina shouldn't be an issue.


     


    There's a 7.9" retina screen in the iPod touch?


     


    Also, who's talking about the MacBook family at all?!

  • Reply 9 of 81
    hmmhmm Posts: 3,405member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tendoboy1984 View Post



    How could Apple be having problems making a Retina display for the MacBook Air? They crammed one in the iPod Touch, so a MacBook Air with Retina shouldn't be an issue.


    Retina is not a technology. It is a trademark. Displays are also not easier to make as you scale up in size. If anything the cost goes up as defects at any point along the line are much more expensive.


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    What do you mean by "crammed one into the iPod Touch"?




    Didn't you do a hardware analysis back when the mini arrived that suggested it was 2 generations from such an implementation when looking at the history of other iPad hardware and the available resolutions without the use of scaled apps? I know I remember a post about it. They used the higher resolution display as the major selling point on the third generation iPad. If that drove enough sales, it will likely repeat with the mini. There is also probably a desire to maintain a similar price point with the Mini.

  • Reply 10 of 81
    outpostoutpost Posts: 10member
    I'm waiting for a Retina iPad Mini, so bringing out a cheaper version does not interest me in the slightest. Surely a 7.9" Retina would be just a smaller version of a 9.7" (same resolution) or am I missing something
  • Reply 11 of 81
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    hmm wrote: »
    Didn't you do a hardware analysis back when the mini arrived that suggested it was 2 generations from such an implementation when looking at the history of other iPad hardware and the available resolutions without the use of scaled apps? I know I remember a post about it.

    I did.
    They used the higher resolution display as the major selling point on the third generation iPad. If that drove enough sales, it will likely repeat with the mini. There is also probably a desire to maintain a similar price point with the Mini.

    No disagreement here. MY statement wasn't to say that the 2nd gen iPad mini couldn't be Retina, but the technology they used for the first one wouldn't make it possible unless they jumped a technological generation so that they could use components that will only be available in 2013, which we're likely to find in the 5th gen iPad. For instance, the current iPad mini is essentially the internals of the iPad 2 with the A4 Rev. 2. That would make the next generation iPad mini — assuming if they followed the stepping to use older HW, like they've done in the iPod Touch to reduce costs — it would have the A5X Rev. 2. I stated that at least that Img Tech GPU is required for pushing the 2048x1536 display but may still be too power hungry for the much smaller battery of the iPad mini, even with the 32nm lithography.

    I also stated that I think weight and size are more critical to the iPad mini than to the 9.7" iPad. I then opined that it won't happen until 2014 if they follow the iPod Touch SoC pattern or they'll see the success of the platform as well as a desire to control this market as securely as they did the iPod thereby making a new chip for the iPad mini that likely combines an older CPU with a modern Img Tech GPU, like Rogue, which will increase power efficiency.

    Finally, I sated that I wasn't sure a modern GPU may not be enough and suggested that a new backlight and other components might have to be changed in order to maintain a thin and light iPad mini with approx. 10 hours of use on a single charge that Apple is happy with.

    I could be wrong on all these counts and they may just stick an A5X in there and make it thicker and heavier, or just let the battery suffer. Personally, I hope they go with Rogue this year and don't make the iPad mini a bastard stepchild to the iPad. I think it's too important a product and product category for that.
  • Reply 12 of 81
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,408member


    These "rumors" come around before the launch of every expected redesign.  It's part of the natural process of developing a product.  We don't need to hear about it every time.


     


    Remember, Apple doesn't do cheap.  They only lower prices when the margins support it.

  • Reply 13 of 81
    zoolookzoolook Posts: 657member


    This doesn't make sense. There are plenty of high resolution devices either not much bigger or smaller than the mini, that don't have yield issues.

  • Reply 14 of 81
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member


    Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post

    There are plenty of high resolution devices either not much bigger or smaller than the mini, that don't have yield issues.


     


    Do they have a 2048x1536 7.9" screen?

  • Reply 15 of 81

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Outpost View Post



    I'm waiting for a Retina iPad Mini, so bringing out a cheaper version does not interest me in the slightest. Surely a 7.9" Retina would be just a smaller version of a 9.7" (same resolution) or am I missing something


     


    I'm waiting for a retina Mac Mini... 

  • Reply 16 of 81
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    zoolook wrote: »
    This doesn't make sense. There are plenty of high resolution devices either not much bigger or smaller than the mini, that don't have yield issues.

    Like what? And remember you have to compare displays that are around 320 PPI or above without being PenTile that are using IPS or a comparative high-end panel type with a 178° viewing angle and excellent quality and accuracy that can be produced at iPad mini quantities? I simply don't think anything else falls into that category except for Apple products.
  • Reply 17 of 81
    vl-tonevl-tone Posts: 337member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post


    This doesn't make sense. There are plenty of high resolution devices either not much bigger or smaller than the mini, that don't have yield issues.



    Oh really? Please name one 7-8" tablet that has an IPS display with a resolution equal or higher to 320dpi? I'm curious.

  • Reply 18 of 81
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,228member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Like what? And remember you have to compare displays that are around 320 PPI or above without being PenTile that are using IPS or a comparative high-end panel type with a 178° viewing angle and excellent quality and accuracy that can be produced at iPad mini display levels? I simply don't think anything else falls into that category except for Apple products.


    HTC One. Super LCD 3 that is a very capable and high quality display. But I agree with OLED/PenTile. Simply horrid and not to mention the hideous colors. 

  • Reply 19 of 81
    vl-tonevl-tone Posts: 337member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post


    HTC One. Super LCD 3 that is a very capable and high quality display. But I agree with OLED/PenTile. Simply horrid and not to mention the hideous colors. 



    The HTC one is a 4.7 screen. It's always much easier to produce small high-res screens than larger ones.

  • Reply 20 of 81
    What am I missing? <My iPhone 5 has Retina, the 9.7 iPad has Retina so why can't they fit the 7.9 with it? Is there a bigger problem cause this one doesn't make any sense. If the iPhone can support Retina with front and back cameras and a great battery (mine lasts a long time) why can't this technology fit in a 7.9? The first mini along with most other models are out or are disappearing from all retailers. Is Apple ready to lose this market ... really?
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