Is Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s Retina iPad Mini Incoming, After All?

There’s been a lot of debate over the past couple of months as to whether or not Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will be able to launch a Retina iPad Mini this year. Upgrading the display is an inevitable progression for the iPad maker, but Apple remains at the mercy of its component suppliers and their ability to manufacture the high-resolution panels with adequate yields.

Last month, there were reports that these yields were too low, which threatened the device’s schedule and that the Retina iPad Mini could be delayed until early 2014 as a result. That could hurt iPad sales in the important holiday quarter, as rivals have been aggressively improving their own display specs. Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) has officially kicked off tablet upgrade season with its second-generation Nexus 7 that features a sharp 1,920 x 1,200 display. Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) is likely preparing to follow suit in September.

Well, The Wall Street Journal has potentially good news for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) investors. Apple is “likely” to launch a Retina iPad Mini in the fourth quarter, but in order to do so it will have to turn to Samsung. Apple has tried its darnedest to wean its business from its biggest rival, but that’s much easier said than done considering Samsung’s massive presence in the component market.

Samsung would just be one of three suppliers, with the other two being Sharp and LG Display Co Ltd. (ADR) (NYSE:LPL). Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) had wanted to just use the latter two vendors, but decided to tap Samsung for more supply.

AU Optronics Corp. (ADR) (NYSE:AUO) is one of two suppliers for the current iPad Mini display, but a manager at the Taiwanese company said that AUO isn’t profiting from the current iPad Mini business.