New research from MacRumors confirms the next generation iPad will indeed carry a higher resolution display. Researchers at the site acquired a mass produced OEM replacement screen for the iPad 3 and examined the part under a microscope.
What the microscope revealed was a screen resolution of 2048 x 1536 pixels, precisely four times the number of pixels on the current 1024 x 768 iPad 2 display. Individual pixel size can be seen in the images above from MacRumors, with 16 iPad 3 pixels taking up the same space as 4 iPad 2 pixels.
Reports of an iPad 3 Retina display shipping in December 2011 pointed to a screen resolution of 264 pixels per inch, equal to the display resolution pictured above. A slightly thicker iPad profile could possibly include Sharp IGZO display technology, which would increase brightness as required by higher pixel density without over-consuming power. The addition of an A6 quad-core processor would provide the horsepower needed to run graphics on a Retina display.
The increased screen resolution also matches reports of Apple including @2x Retina display icons in iPad firmware. When it comes to the Retina 9.7-inch touch screen parts, MacRumors explains that these displays are not easy to manufacture, which increases confidence that the parts are legitimate. As with previously leaked iPad 3 screens, there is no simple way to power them up and display information.
As a result, iPad 3 screen photos from under the microscope are the best confirmation to date of a Retina display on the next iPad.