Apple’s iPad 3 is expected to make its debut early this year, but it may not be the end of the much-loved iPad 2.
According to the company’s plans for display panel shipments, the iPad 2 is certainly not about to meet its demise. Instead, Apple may follow the same steps it has taken with the iPhone 4 and offer its second-generation iPad alongside the new model as a cheap $299 alternative — allowing it to compete with Amazon’s budget Kindle Fire tablet.
A report sent into DigiTimes revealing Apple’s plans for display panel shipments suggests the Retina Display for Apple’s iPad 3 will surpass production of displays for its iPad 2 during the second quarter of this year, but that suppliers will continue to ship over 25 million iPad 2 displays in 2012.
That’s a huge reduction to the 48 million panels produced in 2011, but it’s still a pretty huge number — especially for a device that might be on its way out of the door. These numbers would suggest, then, that the iPad 2 still has life left in it yet, and that it could be offered as a cheap alternative to the iPad 3 — much like the iPhone 4 is to the iPhone 4S — and an iOS-powered alternative to budget Android-powered tablets like the $199 Kindle Fire.
The iPad 3 is expected to carry the same $499 price tag as the existing model, but could even be slightly cheaper, according to some reports. In addition to its long-awaited Retina Display, the device is also expected to feature LTE connectivity, and Apple’s quad-core A6 processor.
Alongside iPad 2 panels, suppliers will ship 40 million displays for the iPad 3, according to the report, totaling 65 million iPads during 2012.