Apple Eyeing Samsung for Retina iPad Mini Screens

Apple will likely tap Samsung for high-resolution screens for its next-generation iPad Mini, unidentified sources tell The Wall Street Journal.

The much-rumored Retina tablet, which is expected to go into mass production by the end of this year, will also feature screens produced by Japan Display and LG Display, the sources said. The new model will likely retain the current form factor with a 7.9-inch screen size, while a selection of colors for the back cover is being considered, the sources said.

The report suggests that Apple is further along in the production process than previously thought. Analysts and their supply chain sources have been saying for a while that they expected the Retina Mini to be delayed, possibly until 2014.While Digitimes reported in June that Apple hadn’t even decided whether to go Retina for the Mini because of display supply issues, market analysts Citi Research and NPD DisplaySearch have both said they anticipate a Mini Retina release in 2014. Both analysts also expect an updated non-Retina version of the Mini to appear this year.

However, such a deal would seem to suggest that Apple has not succeeded at a much-rumored effort to distance itself from the South Korean Electronics giant, which represents both a competitive rival and legal foe. Apple has also reportedly been pushing more chip orders to other Asian hardware manufacturers in an effort for its next-generation iPhone as it tries to diversify supply lines and reduce its dependence on its legal foe and competitor.