In the past year, both large tablets and 5-inch smartphones have shifted to razor-sharp, high-resolution displays. Smaller tablets, however, have yet to make that leap. According to an analyst who’s been keeping tabs on the supply chain, that could soon change – with both the iPad mini and Nexus 7 switching to high-res “Retina” displays.
Google strikes first?
According to CNET, DisplaySearch analyst Paul Semenza sees the supply chain moving in that direction. After examining data from Asian parts suppliers, he predicts that Google and ASUS will strike first, releasing a 2nd-generation Nexus 7 with a sharper display.
He predicts that the 2nd-gen Nexus 7 will tote a 1,920 x 1,200 display, at 323 pixels per inch (PPI). That would be a significant upgrade over the current model’s 1,280 x 800 (216 PPI) display. Semenza said panel production could potentially start in Q2 2013.
Retina iPad mini in October?
Semenza then sees Apple shipping the much-desired iPad mini with Retina Display sometime in Q3 or Q4, 2013. It would quadruple its predecessor’s pixel count, jumping to 2,048 x 1,536 (326 PPI). Unless Apple radically alters its approach to upgrading iOS device displays, Semenza's prediction is no surprise. Apple upgrades iOS device displays in even multiples, to maximize compatibility and simplify the transition for developers.
Semenza didn't go as far as predicting that the Retina iPad mini would be thicker and heavier than its predecessor, but he did reiterate Apple's challenge in creating the product, pointing to the fact that the Retina iPads (3rd and 4th gen models) are chunkier than the iPad 2.
The analyst's predictions are potentially in line with previous (alleged) leaks, which pointed to a higher-resolution Nexus 7 sequel in May. Separate leaks suggested that the iPad mini won’t get a Retina Display until October.
Grains of salt
When you’re dealing with Apple rumors and supply chain leaks, it’s often hard to separate fact from fiction. But with multiple leaks pointing in the same direction – and few murmurs contradicting them – there's a decent chance that this smoke will soon reveal a fire.