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Retina iPad Mini later, new Nexus 7 sooner -- DisplaySearch

Small tablets are moving to very-high-resolution displays, like larger 10-inch class tablets have done in the last year or so.

The iPad Mini Retina should arrive later rather than sooner.
The iPad Mini Retina should arrive later rather than sooner.

An iPad Mini with an upgraded display could appear later in the third quarter or fourth quarter, while a very-high-resolution Nexus 7 may be more imminent, according to DisplaySearch.

"We're seeing potential in the third quarter of panel production for a higher-resolution iPad Mini," DisplaySearch analyst Paul Semenza told CNET today.

"When would the Mini be available? Could be third quarter or fourth quarter," he said, adding that the speculation is DisplaySearch's best guess based on supply chain data.

Estimates about the timing for a Retina version of the iPad Mini have been all over the map, though recent guesswork from a financial analyst also claimed the "iPad Mini 2" could land in the third quarter.

Semenza said his data shows a 2,048x1,536-pixel density Mini display. "That's the typical step up when you go to Retina," he said. Currently, the Mini has a relatively grainy 1,024x768 display.

For those who keep track of pixel density, the new display would boast a pixel density of 324 pixels per inch compared with the current version's underwhelming 163.

LG Display is a strong candidate to make the display. But so are AUO, Japan Display, and even Sharp possibly, Semenza said.

Though Japan Display to date has been focused on smartphone displays -- it makes the iPhone 5 display, for instance -- "they're showing a desire to get into tablets," he said.

"And like LG Display, they're very strong in technologies that allow very high resolution."

Semenza also reiterated the challenges Apple and its display partners face when trying to fit a Retina display into the Mini's slender 7.2mm chassis. To wit, the 9.7-inch iPad Retina is heavier and thicker than its non-Retina predecessor, the iPad 2.

But before we see a new iPad Mini, an updated Nexus 7 from Google may arrive, at least according to indications from Asia-based parts suppliers, Semenza said.

"For the Google Nexus 7, we're seeing the potential for stepping up to a 1,920 x1,200 'HD+' kind of format. We're seeing panel production possibly in the second quarter," he said.

The 7-inch Nexus currently sports a 1,280x800 screen, with a pixel density of 216 pixels per inch. The new display would up this to 323 pixels per inch.

Google Nexus 7
Google Nexus 7 Google