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The iPad mini may only have been out for a short while, but Apple’s hardware partners are already purportedly preparing for its predecessor, with a Retina display high on the agenda. The iPad mini has, on the whole, been well-received, but of the numerous gripes bloggers and consumers alike have had, the lack of an über-sharp display has consistently been one of the main issues.

At present, the iPad mini is simply a smaller iPad 2, and while the Retina-displaying iPad 4 is now powered up to the rafters with an A6X processor, many have felt the mini doesn’t pack enough of a punch for its price tag. But AU Optronics, a Chinese supplier currently manufacturing the 1024 x 768 panel on the current iPad mini, is geared to begin supplying a 2048 x 1536 resolution 7.9-inch display by the second part of 2013.

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The scoop comes courtesy of DoNews, and if true, would offer a much more agreeable 324 ppi. Apple has made a habit of offering Retina in one product before following up with a similar device bereft of the same crisp visuals, and while there is always the issue of supply constraints to take into consideration, many feel the iPad mini – in its current state – just isn’t good enough.

Of course, the fact that Apple kept the resolution of the iPad mini the same as the iPad 2 has meant the hundreds of thousands of apps compatible with the older, larger model are already optimized for the 7.9-inch slate. With that said, as thousands of MacBook Pro with Retina display users have found, sometimes it’s worth waiting for a few apps to update their aesthetics in favor of the flawless visuals a Retina display can bring.

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With the parts scheduled to be manufactured in the latter half of next year, it would seem as though Apple’s yearly iDevice refresh cycle is set to continue with the iPad mini. Apple broke its usual habit (and irritated a bunch of iPad 3 owners) in releasing the iPad 4 last month alongside the mini, but that is seen as an anomaly, and thus the iPad mini is expected to arrive during Q4 of next year – Retina display and all.

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