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October 02, 2013

Are New iPad Minis Going to be in Short Supply or Not?

Sometime this month, Apple will announce its newest iPad toys. Sure to be among them is some new version of the iPad mini. We've speculated elsewhere that a new iPad mini might come with a curved display. We'd love to see such a thing come to pass - we believe it would deliver a very cool punch on the innovation front for Apple to do so. It would have to sport a retina display as well - but then any new iPad Mini would need to sport a retina display, so why not add the curved screen as well?

We're now hearing rumors from all the usual suspects - those ever-present unnamed sources - that Apple will indeed deliver a retina display mini, however that mini may not be available in suitable supplies - that is, supply will be "constrained" to use the current jargon being bandied about. Why might that be? Are there supply chain constraints? Manufacturing issues? What?

As we noted in our earlier article on curved glass minis, we find it hard to believe that between Sharp, LG and Samsung, Apple cannot get enough retina displays in hand from its suppliers to deliver adequate iPad mini units for the entire holiday season. We simply find it hard to believe. We'd be surprised if this turned out to be the case.

It is certainly possible, of course, that there is a power issue associated with the mini. The battery inside the iPad mini is much smaller than the one large iPads sport, and perhaps Apple is having issues with being able to deliver at least 10 hours of power to retina-supplied minis. It is certainly possible - and in fact we find it a more plausible excuse for any "constrained" supplies.

Our own hope is that the iPad mini may be constrained by a retina-quality curved screen display that suppliers might have trouble ramping up in large quantities. Part of the allure of a curved screen is that it may also lead to additional thinness - see the photo below (courtesy of Mashable for an iPhone concept it had reported on) to see what we mean here.

It's always possible of course that Apple is simply busy with finalizing and delivering a 64-bit, fingerprint scanner-equipped large iPad with perhaps enough internal RAM to make application processing super-fast. That is another thing we are hoping to hear from Apple when the new iPads are announced. The 64-bit iPad would be a big deal within the enterprise. Yes, certainly the much faster processing speeds will be appreciated, however if Apple were able to meaningfully up the on-board RAM it would be a true match for the 64-bit A7 and would allow application processing at unprecedented speeds for tablets.

We would not mind seeing a true enterprise edition iPad along these lines. This would be a perfectly suitable excuse for delaying retina display iPad minis.

Of course there is the conundrum under such a scenario of Apple putting the enterprise ahead of the consumer. For a consumer-oriented company this might be a philosophical issue inside of Apple.

But there is a simple solution for this - deliver the curved glass retina iPad mini and the enterprise edition iPad. Now that would be a nice little Christmas gift for Apple. And for everyone else who buys Apple toys.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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