Sharper display Apple iPad Mini faces delay-sources

By Clare Jim and Reiji Murai

TAIPEI/TOKYO (Reuters) - Apple Inc will be unable to widely roll out a new version of the iPad Mini with a high-resolution "retina" display this month, people who work in the company's supply chain said, leaving the gadget without the sharper screen found on rival tablets from Google Inc and Amazon.com Inc .

Apple's supply chain is only now gearing up to make retina displays for the iPad Mini, which means the gadgets could be available in only limited quantities this year, if at all, and the company may miss the chance to cash in on the year-end holiday shopping season, the sources said.

Cupertino, California-based Apple has come under pressure to preserve market share and bolster sales against rivals that are rapidly raising specifications and lowering prices.

It remains unclear exactly what new features and modifications could find their way into the next iPad Mini, which the sources said was due to be unveiled this month.

But higher-resolution screens and cameras, as well as thinner and lighter dimensions, are among the improvements users have come to expect with updated smartphones and tablets.

"If they don't put in retina ... there will be howls," said Frank Gillett, an analyst with Forrester.

Apple declined to comment about any product launches and the sources at companies in Apple's supply chain declined to be identified due to the confidentiality of the matter.

DISPLAY DISAPPOINTMENT

Apple defines retina display as resolution that is detailed enough that the human eye can't detect pixelation.

The feature is available on some full-sized iPads, and similar resolutions are available on iPad Mini competitors such as Google's Nexus 7, as well as Amazon's seven-inch Kindle Fire HDX due to go on sale this month.

The reason behind the delays in manufacturing the retina display screens for the iPad Mini were unclear. One source at a supplier said there were delays in Apple's certification of panel producers, which were given strict power-saving requirements.

LG Display Co Ltd <034220.KS>, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd's <005930.KS> display unit and Sharp Corp <6753.T> all vied to manufacture the panels, supply chain sources said.

The three display makers declined to comment.

Given the time required to ramp up screen production, a retina display-equipped iPad Mini would not be available in large volumes until early next year, the sources said.

The sources expected Apple to either wait until early next year for a full-fledged launch of a retina display iPad Mini, or to make a retina version only available in limited quantities before the end of the year.

Apple has also told suppliers to reduce costs, two of the sources said, with one person saying the U.S. firm is looking at rolling out an iPad Mini with a smaller 8 gigabytes of memory.

Less memory may allow Apple to lower the price of the Mini to boost sales in emerging markets like China where cheaper tablets, many of them running Google's Android operating system, are gaining market share.

"Right now the iPad Mini is more expensive than everyone else in the 7- to 8-inch tablet segment," said Arthur Liao, an analyst for Fubon Securities in Taipei. "If it could reduce its price by even just $50, it would appeal to more consumers."

The iPad's total market share almost halved to 32.5 percent in the second quarter from a year ago, while Android devices, including Samsung's Galaxy series, gained nearly a quarter to 62.6 percent, a survey by tech research company IDC showed.

Amazon's new 7-inch Kindle Fire is priced from $229 for 16GB wifi-only models, while Google's second-generation Nexus 7 offers a similar screen size and storage capacity at the same price. By comparison, the cheapest model in Apple's current 7.9-inch iPad Mini lineup with 16GB storage size starts at $329.

Anyone expecting Apple to dramatically cut prices is likely to be disappointed, analysts said, pointing to the higher-than-expected price tag for the iPhone 5C unveiled this month.

"Don't expect the prices to be significantly lower," said one of the sources. "Even though Apple aims to cut down on component costs, it still ends up around the same as the current Mini because the new Mini will have upgraded specifications."

(Additional reporting by Poornima Gupta in San Francisco, Miyoung Kim in Seoul and Mari Saito in Tokyo; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Miral Fahmy)

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

On-field action set to divert from off-field drama

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Mitchell Johnson may quit T20s for Test cricket

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

This isn’t my first trip to India: Neesham

Kiwi all-rounder wants to utilise the India leg to explore the country’s tourist attractions. More »

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Ishant wanted to quit ODIs

Says his mother made him change his mind. More »

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Supreme Court says no to BCCI’s request

Bench refuses to grant access to recordings of Srini and Dhoni’s depositions before Mudgal committee. More »

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

Pietersen’s ‘little’ secret is out

A fractured little finger could now throw the Delhi Daredevils captain out of action at the start of this season. More »

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

SMA Trophy gets short-changed

Key players are away preparing for the IPL, taking the shine off the other domestic T20 fixture. (CYCSPL) More »