Apple could be “unable” to premier a Retina display-equipped iPad mini this fall, according to sources in the Cupertino, Calif. company’s supply chain.

In a report published by Reuters, the unnamed sources corroborate with recent rumors and indeed claim that a second-generation iPad mini with Retina display is in the works. However, it’s also noted that Apple’s supply chain is only just beginning to manufacture the 7.9-inch high resolution displays for the anticipated tablet.

As such, an October or November full-scale launch is looking increasingly unlikely.

Reuters explains:

Given the time required to ramp up screen production, a Retina display-equipped iPad mini would not be available in large volumes until early next year, the sources said.

The sources expected Apple to either wait until early next year for a full-fledged launch of a Retina display iPad mini, or to make a Retina version only available in limited quantities before the end of the year.

The news comes as Apple is being placed under increasing pressure to compete for its dominant share of the U.S. tablet market. Though the iPad once outright controlled this sphere, rival manufacturers are closing the gap and gaining on the Cupertino, Calif. company.

Since both Google’s next-generation Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HDX are equipped with displays of 1900 by 1200 resolution, Apple’s iPad mini is expected to more than keep up with the competition. Reuters continues:

Amazon’s new 7-inch Kindle Fire is priced from $229 for 16GB wifi-only models, while Google’s second-generation Nexus 7 offers a similar screen size and storage capacity at the same price. By comparison, the cheapest model in Apple’s current 7.9-inch iPad mini lineup with 16GB storage size starts at $329.

Could Apple be considering reducing the price of its iPad mini as well, then?

Don’t expect it, claim the supply chain sources. Though Apple is indeed reportedly aiming to reduce the cost of next-generation iPad mini components, “upgraded specifications” mean that the price of the new tablet will remain the same.

Given Apple’s past performance, however, we’re still holding out for a full-scale Retina-equipped iPad mini to launch later this year.

Though if the supply chain sources cited in Reuters’ report are accurate, it could be that disappointment is in the cards.

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