Retina iPad Mini display could go into production soon

The Retina iPad Mini's display should go into production in the coming months and it will pack in the pixels.

The Retina iPad Mini will achieve a mind-blowing pixel density. Will consumers notice all of those extra pixels when screens exceed ultra-high densities?
The Retina iPad Mini will achieve a mind-blowing pixel density. Will consumers notice all of those extra pixels when screens exceed ultra-high densities? Apple

Production of the display for Retina iPad Mini should start in the coming months, boasting one of the highest tablet resolutions to date, NPD DisplaySearch told CNET Monday.

"We should see the start of mass production of the panels in June or July," said Richard Shim, an analyst at NPD DisplaySearch.

LG Display will be one of the major manufacturers of the display, he said, adding that Samsung is not a supplier for the Mini.

"Samsung is currently not in the iPad Mini and they won't be in the next generation. LGD is becoming a much bigger supplier than before," he said.

Other display manufacturers will participate too but LGD appears to be the most prominent supplier initially, according to Shim.

The 7.9-inch Retina iPad Mini will have a resolution of 2,048x1,536, Shim said. That gives it roughly the same PPI (pixels per inch) as the Retina screen on the iPhone 5 and one of the highest densities for a tablet to date.

Shim wonders if consumers will notice the extra pixels when displays exceed 300 PPI, however.

"We're going to start to see a bunch of tablets [coming out] with a pixel density over 300. At a certain point it will be hard to discern that improved image quality," he said.

But those panels are coming nevertheless. The 7-inch and 8.9-inch Amazon Kindle Fire will be updated with 300-PPI-plus displays, Shim said. And Google's Nexus 10 is already close to that with a PPI of 299.

That said, many consumers will undoubtedly notice the difference between the current iPad Mini's display and the upcoming Retina iPad Mini's.

And judging by the popularity of the iPad Mini, its display will likely get the most attention and be the gold standard for competitors.

Note: The initial post based on NPD DisplaySearch's data was updated late Sunday night to reflect new information: the first Retina iPad Mini is expected to appear in the third calendar quarter and a second Retina Mini model -- with a new processor -- will appear in the first calendar quarter of 2014, according to DisplaySearch.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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