Apple Can’t Afford to Wait on a Retina iPad Mini

Evan Niu, The Motley Fool:

A fresh report from China’s Economic Daily News believes that Apple has indeed delayed the Retina iPad Mini’s launch until early 2014 because of the troubles it’s having.

Apple can’t afford to wait that long.

Philip Elmer-DeWitt points to Chitika’s May 2013 tablet usage share of web traffic where “All iPads” make up 82.4%. Second place is a distant 6.5% by “Amazon Kindle Fire”. I think Apple can wait, and Apple often does, to make sure the product is as good as it can make it before bringing it to market. Of course, Apple is far from perfect and brings to market far from perfect products, but at least I can count on Apple’s willingness to wait.

Quadrupling the number of pixels to 2048×1536 will increase power consumption. To maintain the same 10 hours of battery life Apple will need to pack a lot of battery into a retina iPad mini. Assuming a 10% annual increase in battery efficiency, Apple will need to wait. Even if IGZO was used to manufacture the retina LCD to improve light transmittance (for less than doubling of the LED backlight output) and the rest of the electronics were shrunk considerably the significantly larger battery still wouldn’t fit into the current iPad mini. And Apple can’t make the retina iPad mini much heavier because lightness is one of its main features.

I’d love to be proven wrong since I’d get one, but Apple will need to wait for battery technology to improve. I think a retina iPad mini won’t happen this year.