Apple’s image has taken a few hits in recent months ... at least if you listen to Wall Street types. But that hasn’t stopped the trusty old rumor mill from spinning story after story of juicy Apple-flavored tidbits. One of its favorite subjects is the inevitable iPad mini with Retina Display. According to a prominent analyst, Apple already has two refreshes of the small tablet in the pipeline.

The news comes from CNET, who quotes DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim. He says that Apple will launch the 2nd-gen iPad mini (with Retina Display in tow) in Q3 of 2013. But he also sees the 3rd-gen iPad mini – with both a Retina Display and an updated processor – dropping a few months later, in Q2 2014.

Shim says that the first Retina iPad mini should go into production in June or July. That sounds about right for a Q3 launch (August and September have been suggested by other analysts).

Shim adds that LG Display will be taking over most of the screen production duties. He doesn’t see Samsung making any of them. In case you’ve been living in a cave for two years, Apple and Samsung have had a few disagreements.

Details, competition

When Apple increases resolution in mobile devices, it tends to do it in even multiples. This makes it easy on developers to convert their apps, and makes upscaling older apps less of a pain. So the iPad mini’s 1,024 x 768 resolution will get doubled (actually 4x the pixels) to 2,048 x 1,536.

Apple products tend to cause a stir, but Tim Cook and company might be beaten to the high-res mini tablet punch. Google and Asus might tell us about a higher-res Nexus 7 later this month, at Google I/O 2013. Amazon has also been rumored to release new higher-res Kindle Fires later in the year.

The 1st generation iPad mini’s display has a pretty outdated resolution (only 163 pixels per inch), but that doesn’t seem to be swaying customers too much. Apple had trouble keeping up with shipments during the holidays, and several signs point to it cannibalizing the 9.7-inch iPad with Retina Display. To those shoppers, apparently more tightly packed pixels can take a backseat to a lighter build and cheaper pricing.

Sources: CNET [1] [2]