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iPad Mini with Retina display ‘likely’ coming this year – with a little help from Samsung

Recent rumors swirling around the iPad Mini have focused mainly on launch dates and whether the tech giant will update the device with a Retina display or stick with its more basic and somewhat tired-looking 1024×768 screen.

A report from the Wall Street Journal Wednesday, citing sources in the supply chain, suggests that Apple will pull the covers off a revamped Mini later this year, not next, and that it’ll “likely” come with the high-resolution Retina display. It added that it could even hit shelves with back covers in a range of colors, à la iPod Touch.

There were a number of reports last month suggesting the Cupertino company had postponed a 2013 launch of the diminutive tablet after running into problems with the supply of displays for the 7.9-inch device. However, the Journal indicates in its piece that Apple has overcome the issue – with a little help from arch-rival Samsung.

Displays for the next version of the Mini will reportedly be manufactured by Sharp and LG Display, with the Korean electronics company now joining the list to help ensure adequate supply.

Apple has long done business with Samsung, with the Seoul-based tech company supplying a range of parts for various Apple devices. However, as Samsung has risen in prominence in the smartphone market with popular high-end handsets to rival the iPhone such as its Galaxy S range, and in the midst of lengthy and bitter patent-related legal disputes that have seen both companies fighting to have each other’s products banned from the market, Apple has sought to decrease its dependence on its rival for components. However, if the Journal’s source is reliable, the iPad and iPhone maker is still having to call on Samsung for help.

With Google last week unveiling version two of its Nexus 7 tablet featuring, among a number of enhancements, a new high-resolution screen with a super sharp 323 PPI, a non-Retina Mini mark II would, for many consumers, look decidedly dull in more ways than one. With this is mind, and taking Wednesday’s report into account, a second-generation iPad Mini with a high-resolution display looks increasingly likely.

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