Retina iPad mini due next year, reports say

If you've had a chance to play with an iPad mini, you were probably pleasantly surprised by the device's build quality, light weight, and convenient size for one-handed reading. There's just one problem: the display has a 1024x768 resolution, which works out to just 163 pixels per inch. That's a little blocky for a mobile device these days.

Thankfully, relief is on the way—albeit not anytime soon. The folks at SlashGear have dug up a couple of stories—one from Chinese website DoNews and another from MENAFN—that suggest a Retina-infused iPad mini will be out in the fourth quarter of 2013. That device will reportedly feature an upgraded 7.9" panel with the same 2048x1536 resolution as the full-sized iPad, bringing up the PPI count to 324. Now that's more like it.

SlashGear says that impressive pixel density will be made possible by AU Optronics' use of indium-gallium-zinc-oxide channels in the LCD panel. Word is that AU Optronics will also use gate-IC-on-array technology, which will allow the panel to have a thinner frame. I hope Apple doesn't shrink the iPad mini's bezel any further, though. The edges are already almost too thin to prevent accidental input.

In any case, a 324-PPI iPad mini would make a pretty fantastic e-reader. Reading outdoors would probably be less convenient than with an E Ink display, but not even Amazon's latest Kindles offer anywhere close to that level of pixel density.

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