Apple is planning to increase display resolution on the next generation iPad, however reports indicate that manufacturers Samsung and LG Display might not be ready to produce the parts in the quantities needed. Rumors of a fall 2011 iPad 3 launch were never verified, but display manufacturing challenges could be responsible for pushing things forward. Now the Wall Street Journal reports the iPad 3 is slated for a spring 2012 release.
Suppliers indicate the iPad 3 screen will double the current resolution of 1024 x 768, making the new Retina-style screen 2048 x 1536. This puts the number of pixels per inch on the 9.7-inch display at a formidable 264. The iPhone 4 and 4S both sport smaller Retina displays with a whopping 326 pixels per inch, although they are typically held closer to the eyes than tablets.
The higher resolution iPad 3 display would reduce or eliminate the appearance of pixels in the image. Not only this, but the screens Apple is considering are said to be over 50 percent brighter than a typical notebook computer screen. Manufacturing is scheduled to begin this November as Apple has already ordered parts from suppliers for 1.5 million iPad 3 units.
The high density of pixels presents a real manufacturing challenge, and quantities of these new displays have not yet been produced. Given past sales of the iPad line, Apple will push LG and Samsung to their limits with new orders. According to CNET, manufacturers may produce a 1600 x 1200 version of the iPad display if target volumes of the higher resolution model can't be achieved.
It's unclear if Apple would proceed with the alternative display, as this would not match the company's current strategy of doubling resolution. Keeping the pixel calculation simple makes it easy to display older graphics on Retina displays. Developers can include graphics optimized for both the legacy screens and newer Retina screens in their apps. iPad iOS 4 developer firmware was discovered to contain graphics files designed for a 2048 x 1536 resolution display.
If Apple's suppliers can get these screens produced quickly enough the iPad 3 will stay ahead of the competition in early 2012.