The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Apple suppliers have been gearing up their production lines in order to churn out a new iPad mini with a high-resolution display — and it could apparently arrive sometime this year.
According to "people familiar with the matter", Apple has been working with LG, Sharp and Samsung to source high-res screens for the new device, which the newspaper claims will count as retina. The report points out that the screen size of the iPad mini will likely remain the same, just with higher pixel density.
Interestingly, the WSJ suggests that Apple was keen to only use screens from LG and Sharp, but decided to use Samsung too, to meet demand and allow it to launch the device in the fourth quarter of 2013. This new rumour runs counter to some that have been floating around, which have suggested that the next iteration of the iPad mini would still be lumbered with a low-res display.
Elsewhere, the WSJ's report also suggests that Apple has been considering a range of colourful back covers for the new mini, instead of the current black or white. But it's worth remembering that Apple flirts with a lot of ideas; not all of them come to fruition. So, while it may be the case that Apple is playing around with a jazzily coloured range of Retina iPad minis, it equally may not be planning to bring them to the market.
Google's Nexus 7 laid down a rather large gauntlet last week though, with its high-res screen — and now Apple does need to compete. But regardless of the exact hardware, the WSJ also reports that the new tablet will arrive in the fourth quarter of this year — so there's still time yet for us to find out more about what to expect. [WSJ]