According to market research firm IHS iSuppli (via CNET), production levels for the expected upcoming iPad mini with Retina display indicate that the device may not ship alongside the upcoming iPad 5, which looks to be "on schedule" for an October release. Specifically, it is estimated that Apple's Asia-based supply chain of manufacturers have begun the start of Retina iPad mini display production, but have not entered a mass production stage of the upcoming tablet.
While Apple's iPad 5 looks to be on schedule for an October release, that's not the case for the Retina version of the Mini, according to Rhoda Alexander, director of Tablet and Monitor Research at IHS iSuppli.
"The Retina Mini looks less certain for that time. Manufacturing volumes on that would match better with a Q114 [first quarter 2014] launch," she told CNET.
Though she quickly qualified that saying, "But given that it's Apple, one never knows" -- meaning that Apple could announce a product but not necessarily ship it at the same time as the iPad 5.
The research firm also cites design challenges, stating that a trade-off between the integration of the Retina display and the compact size and exceptional battery life of the iPad mini has become problematic. The claim does conflict with a report from IHS iSuppli last month stating that Retina iPad mini production levels were set to match last year's levels. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also claimed earlier this month that the Retina iPad mini will indeed make an appearance before the end of the year.
Apple is expected to launch its redesigned iPad and a Retina iPad mini in the near future, perhaps at a media event as soon as next month. The company is also expected to make several updates to its Mac products before the end of the year, and they may make an appearance at that same event.