There have been several conflicting reports in the past on whether the next-generation iPad mini will feature a Retina display. While most have speculated that it's unlikely that Apple will pump up the screen resolution on its 7.9-inch tablet due to economies of scale, some felt that it was coming sooner than expected.
Continuing with the series of rumours, a new report
by Apple focused website 9to5Mac claims that Apple is testing a new iPad mini model that would include a faster processor but not a Retina display. It comes to this conclusion after noticing some references in the iOS 7 SDK that were initially reported a developer. According to the site, the information hints at three new iPad mini models, iPad "2,8," iPad "2,9," and iPad "2,10, with code names J75, J76, and J77, pointing to one WiFi-only model and two 3G models. The rumoured Retina display iPad mini codename is "J85," which is not included in the SDK.
The references also suggests that the new iPad mini would be powered by a "s5l8950x" processor, which is the A6 SoC (system-on-a-chip) that also powers the iPhone 5. The references also points to a non-Retina screen. The report clarifies that Retina display devices usually include hooks to images at a "@2x" mode that allows developers to reference app artwork that built for a Retina display device, and these are missing is the iOS 7 SDK for iPad mini.
However, it's worth pointing out that Apple could update the SDK in the future. It's also possible that the reference is for an internal test device and not for a final one.
Interestingly, just hours after this report, a new report
by The Wall Street Journal suggests that Apple's suppliers are ramping up production of a new iPad mini device that features a high resolution screen made by Samsung. The report cites people familiar with the matter to confirm the development.
According to the report, Apple is working with suppliers in Asia on its next iPad mini with a Retina display, though the size of the display will remain the same. The component makers have knowledge of Apple collaborating with Samsung for the screen on the new iPad mini. It adds that Apple intended to source displays from Sharp and LG Display, but went in favour of Samsung to ensure adequate supply. It's noteworthy that Samsung also supplies screens for the fourth generation iPad with Retina display.
The report further suggests that Apple has also been thinking of introducing new back covers in multiple colours for the new tablet.
While The Wall Street Journal has been a credible source when it comes to Apple related rumours, you can never be too sure till Apple announces the device. Having said that, with the new high-resolution Nexus 7 hitting the market, there's pressure on Apple to release a new iPad mini variant with a high resolution screen. The iPad mini hits all the right notes when it comes to the pricing and form factor, but the low resolution display is a bit of a disappointment.