Bad news, Apple fans: Retina iPad mini supply shortages might be even worse than we expected. In fact, the shortages might be even worse than Apple expected. Citing information from a DisplaySearch analyst, Nikkei on Friday reported that the display manufacturers charged with building 7.9-inch Retina displays for Apple’s new tiny tablet are having some yield issues. A report from earlier this week suggested that one of Apple’s partners — Sharp, which is said to have been awarded 40% of Apple’s new iPad mini display orders — is having serious yield issues due to unspecified manufacturing difficulties. Apple’s other Retina iPad mini display supplier is said to be LG Display, and it was reportedly not having the same troubles as Sharp. According to this new Nikkei report, however, LG Display is in fact having some yield issues and Apple has been forced to call upon Samsung to pick up the slack.
Samsung is seen as Apple’s potential savior as the company is well-equipped to handle the volume, but since we’re so late in the game Samsung reportedly won’t be able to ramp up mass production until early next year. As such, Apple’s second-generation iPad mini could be in seriously short supply until sometime in 2014.
Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted on Apple’s recent earnings call that supply of the new iPad mini with Retina display would be tight when the tablet launches later this month, but he said the company might be able to stock enough tablets to meet demand. If Nikkei’s report pans out, and if pent-up demand for a high-resolution iPad mini is as heavy as some industry watchers believe it to be, it looks like there are going to be plenty of upset Apple fans this holiday season.
According to Apple retail partner Target, the iPad mini will launch on Thursday, November 21st, though that date has not been confirmed by Apple.