Supply problems surface in Apple's iPad Mini refresh

Apple’s refresh to the iPad Mini – with a suspected HD retina display – will not make it to the shops on time because of problems in the company’s supply chain.

The company is just getting ready to produce the iPad Mini with a retina display, so the tablet is unlikely to be widely available this year, supply chain sources told Reuters. Nonetheless, it’s expected the latest in Apple’s iPad Mini range will be revealed some time this month.

Considering the cheap and cheerful competition from the likes of Google and Amazon, both offering high definition displays, Apple would do well to get this launch right. Both helped jump start a rush to corner the affordable end of the tablet market, and it’s understood Apple is applying pressure on suppliers to keep costs as low as possible. Shipping the device with 8 gigabytes of memory is one option, sources say.

Analysts are warning if there’s no retina screen the company would be shooting itself in the foot.

Although details of the delay are sketchy at best, some whispers suggest there has been trouble certifying panel producers who were told to keep production power friendly. Samsung, Sharp, and LG Display were thought to be after the contract.

Apple may get around its supply problems by launching a limited edition Mini including the retina display before rolling out on a larger scale early next year.

Cost cutting on the next Mini’s bill of materials could be a way to bolster the company’s profits rather than going toe-to-toe with cheaper 7- to 8- inch rivals, comfortable as it is with remaining a manufacturer of high-end products.