For months now, we’ve all read reports Apple’s iPad 3 will feature a Retina Display. Now we’re seeing proof pop up that an iPad 3 with a 2048×1536 display is already being tested and manufactured. But is a higher resolution screen really likely in with a device touted as slimmer than the iPad 2?
“It’s happening,” DisplaySearch hardware analyst Richard Shim tells CNET. Samsung, Sharp and LGD are already at work companies producing high resolution Retina Display panels for the iPad 3.
The confirmation comes amid reports of an iPad 3 device codenamed “J2’ appearing in a recent version of iOS 5. Coming together, it seems certain Apple’s already working on building the elusive Retina Display iPad 3, and despite earlier reports, this iPad would be even thinner than its predecessor.
But how? According to previous reports, a 2048×1536 Retina Display in the iPad 3 would require two LED backlights instead of the current single backlight, which would in turn increase the iPad 3’s thickness by 8%. However, suppliers have gotten around that problem by producing a display that uses just one light bar, but combines two LED chips instead of one. The change would permit both a thinner design but also the clearer Retina Display perfect for video and other graphic apps.
The iPad is overdue for an upgrade to a Retina Display, having skipped out on this generation despite the iPhone 4’s pixel upgrade in summer of 2010. The addition of a high-density Retina Display to the iPad would help further distinguish the two devices. The iPhone would be seen as your on-the-go device, able to make calls and snap wonderful photos, while the iPad would be mainly a consumption device, offering the viewer the perfect mobile device for photos, video and other media on as rich, colorful and realistic a display as possible.
But is a Retina Display a selling point for everyone? For some iPad owners like me who prefer flinging birds over watching HD video, or read emails over editing pixels on the screen, a Retina Display may not be a selling point. It may be time to offer an iPad Pro for the creators and a regular iPad (perhaps lower priced) for the rest of us, which might help Apple also compete with Amazon’s low-priced $199 Kindle.
The choice of the J2 – described as an “amped-up” version of an earlier “J1’ design — appears to move Apple closer to unveiling the iPad 3 sometime later in 2012.
But when? Although some reports suggest the first-half of 2012, it may be better to emulate the iPhone 4S launch, putting some distance between the holidays and providing the summer period as the perfect time to launch a device without distraction. Indeed, such a plan may already be in the works. Apple’s next iPhone could be ready by June 2012, timed perfectly for an iPad 3 launch. My only hope is that we don’t repeat the iPhone 5 hurry up and wait snafu which caused so many PR black eyes.