According to Digitimes – which quotes from Taiwanese supply chain sources – shipments for iPad Mini panels are set to drop down from AU Optronics.

From an estimated four million in the first quarter of this year, it’s set to hit the 2.5-2.8 million mark as the season winds up for purchases.

Apparently, the total iPad Mini volume is set to hit 10 million units – which, according to the report, is a low figure due to the low-purchasing season. Of these, while AUO gets to produce some near-3 million panels units, LG and Sharp take up the rest of the 7 million units.

iPad Mini 2

While there’s nothing hinting at iPad Mini 2 at face value, there is an indication in the last para of the post. It goes like this:

Despite AUO’s struggles, the company has still submitted panels for use in the next-generation iPad mini for certification by Apple, the sources said, adding that so far LG Display and Sharp have been selected as panel suppliers for the upcoming tablet.

Needless to say, the iPad Mini 2’s appearance this year has been almost become a ‘given’. Seeing as it is that, come this October, it would be an year since the iPad Mini was released, it would make clear sense for Apple to upgrade it.

The panels being made by LG and Sharp – and possibly by AUO if their panel samples get approved by Apple – could also be tuned in for what’s expected to be the retina display. There was a lot of debate recently about the iPad Mini 2 having (or not having) a retina display. As far as rumors go, indications seem to be clear on this one: there is going to be retina.

The iPad Mini 2 is also expected to feature an upgraded processor.

Digitimes suggests that Apple is gearing up for a late third-quarter 2013 or fourth-quarter 2013 release for the iPad Mini 2. That would mean September-October again. Incidentally, current rumors about iPhone 5S also hover around that time-window.