Apple could offer three versions of its popular tablet in 2012 by repeating a tactic seen with the iPhone. The tech giant may introduce the iPad 3 with a high resolution screen, while also unveiling the iPad 2S for customers wanting more speed, and converting the iPad 2 into a lower-cost entry-level model.
According to Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes, he still expects the iPad 3 to appear in March of 2012. The new tablet would feature a high-definition Retina Display and the Siri voice-recognition system and faster processor. Meanwhile, Reitzes also envisions the iPad 2 remaining in the Apple tablet family. An iPad 2S would just include a faster processor and Siri support. As was seen with the iPhone 3GS becoming free upon the iPhone 4S introduction, Apple could likely reduce the 16GB iPad 2 price to a reported $299.
There had been some reported concerns by iPad 3 suppliers how to increase the new tablet’s resolution while also making the device thinner and extend the battery life. A deal with Sharp could provide the answer. Reportedly, the Sharp LCD screen for the iPad 3 will use IGZO technology, providing 330 dps resolution requiring only a single LED bar. Some suppliers were concerned two light bars would be needed, putting the reduced thickness in doubt.
The analyst estimates Apple will sell 13.9 million iPads for the current quarter, however the figure may actually be lower. He also told investors iPad sales will grow 47 percent to 47.7 million units during fiscal 2012, up from 32.4 million for 2011.