Code in iOS 5.1 beta firmware has revealed a new iPad device that could be headed to the Sprint network. iPad 3 devices referred to by the codes iPad3,1 and iPad3,2 were revealed some time ago by 9to5Mac. The latest discovery is an iPad2,4 which would add a device to the iPad 2 lineup.
Existing devices include the Wi-Fi only iPad 2 (iPad2,1) and AT&T and Verizon models (iPad2,2 and iPad2,3 respectively). Sprint recently introduced the iPhone 4S and iPhone 4 on its network, surprising some observers who expected T-Mobile to be the next major carrier to carry Apple products.
Sharp has often been cited as one of Apple's current display suppliers, however the importance of Sharp technology to the design of the iPad 3 may have been underestimated. LG Display and Samsung have also been providing displays to Apple for its devices, but if sources at AppleInsider are correct, it's Sharp that will soon take center stage.
The report revolves around groundbreaking IGZO technology that is ready for mass production and provides Apple with an alternative to the current IPS LCD display used in the iPad and iPad 2. The advantage of IPS is its wide viewing angle, but Apple is always on the lookout for lighter, more efficient components for its designs.
DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim says production on the 2048 x 1532 iPad 3 panels has begun. "It's happening! Panel production has started [for the next-generation iPad]. There's three suppliers," Shim told CNET.
Early reports revealed Apple has already received one million displays for the iPad 3. If true, this puts the next generation iPad on course to be released as early as March 2012 like earlier rumors have suggested.
"It takes a couple of weeks for the production to go to the ODMs (the manufacturers). Then the manufacturer puts them in the housing. Then, that goes off to shipment. We could start seeing finished devices produced in December. And then being ready to be shipped in January. With volumes gearing up in February and March," Shim said.
If reports originating from parts suppliers are to be believed, Apple has already received one million 2048 x 1536 displays for the next generation iPad. LG Display, Samsung and Sharp are said to be working on an order of two million more display units for delivery this month.
The iPad 3 Retina display doubles display resolution in each direction on the 9.7-inch touch screen to 264 pixels per inch (ppi). Although the iPhone 4 Retina display comes in at 326 ppi, the smartphone is normally held closer to the eyes, requiring more resolution to eliminate the appearance of pixels. With four times the number of individual pixels the iPad 3 display will require more processing and battery power, possibly leading to a slightly thicker iPad 3.
So far the next generation iPad rumors have suggested Apple is working on a variety of smaller and thinner iPads, but a "reliable source" told iLounge a different story. The iLounge tipster said the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Pro will all be receiving redesigns in 2012.
The third-generation iPad will be thicker (0.7 mm) to accommodate the rumored dual OLED backlights, and it will be revealed in January followed by a March release. This is much a different story from the "iPad mini" and thinner iPad 2S rumors we've been hearing from other sources.
The Korea Times claims LG Display is going to meet with Apple in the next few days to talk about producing a 7.35-inch display for the rumored iPad mini. This latest rumor corroborates an earlier story from UMD, who reported LG and AU Optronic sent samples of a 7.85-inch display to Apple for approval back in October.
The smaller display will reportedly feature the same resolution as the iPad 2, and will be Apple's answer to the smaller more affordable tablets like the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble nook. A recent survey revealed 44 percent of tablet shoppers are considering buying the Kindle Fire over the iPad 2 this year. And 46 percent of UK iPad owners said they didn't believe they were getting their money's worth, because they hardly use the device at all.
Apple is looking to improve display technology on its next generation iPad, and we're not just talking about a Retina display resolution. A patent filed by Apple in the first half of 2010 reveals designs for dual OLED backlights, as reported by Patently Apple. The diagram below shows a cross section of the OLED backlight layers.
Part of what makes this technology so impressive is its simplicity. Current LCD displays have multiple layers requiring more thickness, and as has been seen in the past on the iPad and iPhone, they can be prone to manufacturing problems. Light leaks and yellow discoloration have been reported on some defective units.
The iPad 3 will sport a quad-core A6 processor manufactured by Samsung according to a report sourced from the Korea Times. Despite Apple and Samsung's public feud over patents and competing mobile devices, Apple will continue to rely on Samsung to deliver the next generation processor.
Industry sources claim Samsung has increased production of the Apple-designed A6 quad-core chip using advanced 28-nanometer technology at its manufacturing plant in Austin, Texas. Apple is one of Samsung's largest clients, and Apple relies on Samsung's proven track record.
Time to stock up on your grains of salt, and strap yourself in for a long ride of iPad 3 and iPad 2S rumors. According to the DigiTimes, Apple is planning on launching a new thinner iPad 2 in March, not the iPad 3. The next generation iPad is currently rumored to be suffering from manufacturing problems that will push its release to Q3 of 2012. The iPad 3's rumored 2048 x 1536 Retina display is reportedly proving difficult for Samsung and LG Display to produce, and is the cause for the delay.
Analysts are also predicting Apple will release an "iPad mini" in 2012. The lower entry-level iPad could feature a 7-inch display with the same resolution as the iPad 2.
These are basically the same iPhone 5 and 4S rumors we heard in back August. Analysts and tech bloggers claimed there would be a newly designed iPhone 5 and a low priced iPhone 4S on the market in October. However, they were supposed to be released at the same time, not months apart.
Apple patents seem to be filed on a constant basis, and determining which concepts will make their way into next generation products is almost impossible. We know an iPad 3 is due for release in March 2012, but we also know that several patents relating to 3D user interfaces on mobile devices have been filed in the past two years.
PC Magazine reports that Apple may deploy an iPad gesture control that would operate using the front camera of the tablet. This would make it possible to operate the iPad from across the room, or by simply gesturing in space to control options on the screen.