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Redesigned iPad Mini may arrive before Retina: DisplaySearch

The next iPad Mini may not be the Retina version, says NPD DisplaySearch. It could be a version with a faster chip -- and possibly thinner too.

iPad Mini.  Retina version is delayed, says NPD DisplaySearch, echoing an earlier report from Citi Research.
iPad Mini. Retina version is delayed, says NPD DisplaySearch, echoing an earlier report from Citi Research.

A slimmer iPad Mini may arrive before the Retina version, according to a report Tuesday from NPD DisplaySearch. A 9.7-inch iPad with a future A7 processor may also be on the way.

The next Mini, due in the second half sometime, will sport a 1,024x768 display (like the current version) but get a processor upgrade to the A6 from the A5 that's in the Mini today, said NPD DisplaySearch in blog post today.

"The new iPad mini will continue to use a 7.9-inch display with a 1024×768 resolution, but it will use the iOS 7 operating system and an A6 processor," wrote DisplaySearch's Richard Shim.

It will also be thinner. "[It will have] a slimmer design than the current generation," Shim wrote. The iPad Mini today is only 0.28 inches (7.2 mm) thick, about 0.2 inches thinner than the iPhone 5.

And now the bad news: Production of the Retina version of the Mini has been pushed back until early 2014, echoing what Citi Research said last week.

"Another iPad mini is also planned for production but not until early 2014. That device is expected to feature a QXGA (2,048x1,536) resolution [Retina] display and the iOS 7 operating system," Shim said.

Last week, IHS iSuppli said production of displays (not the tablet itself) is expected to begin in the third quarter. But IHS offered this caveat: display makers typically produce a display in high volume one or two quarters before Apple can use the display.

Also mentioned in the DisplaySearch report is the 9.7-inch iPad. Production of a new model with a future Apple A7 processor is expected to begin in the third quarter, DisplaySearch said.

Apple's mix of tablet shipments is projected to be 60 percent iPad Mini and 40 percent iPad in 2013, according to DisplaySearch.