Apple has reportedly listened to its customers and has decided to include a Retina display on the next-generation iPad mini, which could end up being released before the end of this year. If reports are correct, Apple will partner with LG, Sharp and Samsung to receive an adequate amount of Retina screens, despite wanting to limit its involvement with Samsung.
Even though there was detailed information from sources close to Apple that a Retina iPad mini would be on the way, other reports Wednesday said Apple was testing a faster iPad mini instead. However, Apple tests a slew of different devices and many of them do not make it to the market or are delayed for future generations.
The timing of this leak -- which came from Asian suppliers, according to The Wall Street Journal -- has been called into question because of how much it differs from previous leaks.
Retina Everything, or Not?
With the success of the Retina display on the full-size iPad, iPhone and Macbook Pro, rumors have since been coming out about Retina displays for almost every new Apple product. While it is likely Apple's goal to have its devices transition to the higher-resolution display, it is not easy. We can see that simply with Apple reportedly being forced to partner with Samsung to get enough displays.
Price is also a major factor in Apple products, especially as it tries to compete with competitors that always seem to be able to offer similar devices for less. A Retina display could force the iPad mini's price higher, and in turn would leave Apple with fewer customers.
The supply for Retina displays has not reached a point where Apple can even choose who to buy from in order to include the screens on some of its devices, much less all of them. Based on analysis from 2012, an iPad mini with a Retina display would cost Apple nearly $60 more per unit, leaving the company without much of a profit.
Apple and Samsung: A Love-Hate Relationship
No matter how hard Apple tries, it cannot pull away from Samsung completely. Apple is in a patent fight with Samsung in courts all over the world. One such fight could still lead to a ban of the iPhone 4 in the U.S., and yet The Wall Street Journal report said Apple may still have to work with its enemy.
Years ago Apple and Microsoft were always fighting each other, but now the real battle is between Apple and Samsung, with Samsung partly serving as a proxy for Google. Legal battles -- especially involving patents -- occur often in the tech industry, but it is rare that the companies going against each other also rely on one another.
Whether Apple will work with Samsung depends on whether the rumors are true and the company actually decides on upgrading the mini to include a Retina display.