A new rumor today has suggested that the next version of the iPad mini, likely arriving at some point in 2013, will have a Retina Display. The rumors stems from a Digitimes report who are suggesting that a new iPad mini will gave a 2058 x 1536 pixel display equating to a 326 pixels per inch screen density. The report also states that the next generation of the full size 9.7 inch iPad will have one LED light bar instead of the current two in order to reduce thickness and weight.
While Digitimes does sometimes have a spotty track record with Apple rumors, there are a few obstacles that stand in the way of a Retina Display iPad mini, at least at the current time. The first is that of weight and thickness that a new Retina Display would no doubt affect, particularly in the context of increasing the processing power and battery capacity that a Retina Display would require.
Apple would likely not want to make the iPad mini any thicker and heavier, particularly since one of the major selling points of the device is the ability to hold it comfortably in one hand. Incorporating a Retina Display will likely affect both of these features with the extra battery required to power it. This also relates to the battery life and whether Apple will be able to retain the ten hour battery life that the iPad is famous for (although anecdotal reports suggest that the iPad mini battery lasts far past the expected ten hours so there is perhaps a little leeway there).
The final factor relates to cost, although this is perhaps less of a concern as component prices decrease. The report also contains a small error in the context of the predicted resolution (a double resolution display would be 2048 pixels not 2058).
Is there even a need for Apple to Retinafy the iPad mini? That is perhaps the biggest question. Do we have unrealistic expectations now when it comes to Apple products or will the company continue to surprise us in terms of incredible product releases every year? The only way I can see this happening is if there is a lack of a footprint on the current weight/thickness/cost/life specs of the iPad mini.
The selling points of the device are clear in terms of how light and thin the iPad mini is. Can the same points be achieved in the context of a Retina Display? That is perhaps the key question.