By Jim Karpen on Fri, 11/08/2013
Apple still hasn't announced a release date for the new iPad mini with Retina display. The only word so far is what they said last month—that it would be available in late November. It will be interesting to see if the mini does indeed launch then. According to a report on AppleInsider, based on an article in a Korean publication, one of the suppliers of the display (Sharp) is having problems making the display, which is causing the mini to be delayed. This is in line with earlier rumors, but this article finally gives more details. It says that LG is also making the displays, and isn't having problems. However, the article says that another report said that LG, is also having problems. AppleInsider says Apple may need to turn to its rival Samsung to also manufacture the displays in order to meet its needs. It's possible the mini will still launch in November, but will be in limited supply.
The most interesting thing to me about the article is that it says that Sharp and LG are using two different processes for making the display. Sharp is using the state-of-the-art IGZO (indium, gallium, zinc, oxide) technology, whereas LG is using the more common substrate called amorphous silicon. They say that Samsung uses yet a different technology: polycrystalline silicon. I didn't ever imagine that Apple would make a product using several different technologies. It seems like it would result in slight differences among the units. Maybe they have their information wrong.
In any case, it's big news if Apple is indeed moving toward IGZO. This technology uses up to 90 percent less energy while offering a sharper image. It's also interesting that the article says the manufacturing problems result in displays that aren't evident to the naked eye, but that Apple's standards are so high, even this slight defect means rejection.
In other iPad news, reviews of the iPad Air continue to be stellar. Wired has weighed in, and they conclude that "In fact, Apple’s latest tablet, as it exists, is definitely one of the best (if not the best) tablet out there right now." The article appreciates the thinness and lightness, the powerful processor, and the long battery life.
Also, an Australian newspaper is saying that a demo iPad burst into flames in a Vodafone store in Canberra. The flames appeared to come from the charging port. No one was hurt, and Apple has taken away the device to analyze what the problem may have been. Fortunately, this is an isolated incident and not anything you need to worry about.