Want an iPad 2 with a sharp Retina display? Not so fast. First of all, an actual Retina display matching the iPhone 4 resolution won't happen now due to technical reasons. Nevertheless, Apple seems to be planning an improvement in the iPad screen, but when?
Previous reports had cited files in the iOS 4.3 developer beta firmware that were designed for an iPad 2 screen with quadruple the resolution of the current iPad model. 2048 x 1536 pixels would be the size, enough for a formidable pixel density of 260ppi on the iPad's 9.7 inch screen.
Although this screen size is technically possible, it would require a pretty big boost in processing power. Luckily Apple's next generation A5 chip is rumored to include two ARM Cortex A9 cores and two PowerVR GPU cores to boot. Assuming the iPad 2 ships with the upgraded silicon, why not up the screen resolution?
Market research firm IDC claims that Apple has asked manufacturers to prepare for production of large numbers of 2048 x 1536 resolution screens for the iPad 3. The fact is that none of Apple's suppliers are ready to produce the higher resolution screens in the quantities required for the iPad 2 this spring. All of the engineering and design prowess in the world can't beat a manufacturing bottleneck.
Analysts expect up to 30 million iPads to be sold in 2011, and Apple conquered 85 percent of the tablet market in 2010 with the original iPad. Those volumes would make an OLED screen impossible as well, as production of these displays can't keep up with such a high demand. Already, Apple's iPad suffered from supply shortages last year and many were rushed off the assembly line directly to pre-ordering customers.