Apple could release the iPad Mini Retina this year as it faces a crush of high-resolution competition, an analyst said Wednesday.
The Retina version of the Mini -- particularly the display -- is proving difficult to manufacture in the very high volumes required by Apple, analysts have told CNET in the past -- leading some to conclude that a 2014 release is possible.
But Kuo believes that the new Mini "may be pulled in for [launch] in late 2013. Since other brand vendors are all expected to have a line-up of new high resolution 7-8 [inch] tablets...over the next 3-6 months."
"We think iPad mini 2 may lose its opportunity in the market if it is slated for introduction next year," he added.
And he had more to say about what he calls the "iPad Mini 2" and the larger fifth-generation iPad. (The Mini has a 7.9-inch display, while the iPad has a larger 9.7-inch screen.)
Both models may sport an A7X chip, which would be a higher performance version of the rumored A7 chip. That would jibe with the current lineup of Apple processors: the iPhone 5 has an A6 processor, while the iPad 4 has a faster A6X.
Here's where it gets a little confusing, however. Kuo also referred to another iPad Mini model that could launch in 2014. That would be similar to the current Mini but pack an A6 chip, an upgrade from the A5 used now.
Citi Research -- which does not believe the Mini Retina release will be pulled in -- said recently that the second-half 2013 iPad lineup "will be iPad5 (reduced weight, slimmer bezel, thinner design), iPad Mini (the existing model), and a reduced price iPad Mini (likely priced at $249)."