Apple’s iPad 3 : This year or next?

There is some debate as to when Apple will release the next model of its iPhone; the iPhone 5. The heartbreaking events in Japan recently may also factor into delays in supplies for certain key components that are said to be part of the iPhone 5 product design. So at the moment all bets are off as to when Apple’s next smartphone will hit the markets.

The iPad 2 was a far more ambitious product revision than many expected Apple to release so early in 2011 (myself included). Which has in turn cast some doubt on whether Apple will shift its product release schedule for their iconic tablet to the end of each year, as many expected, which would have resulted in an iPad 3 for Christmas. A Christmas tablet launch each year for such a hot consumer product has to be an attractive proposition for Apple. It is simply a matter of how they might pull it off. Something which seems unlikely based on information we have today.

It is also very clear that Apple is looking at an ambitious display technology upgrade for future iOS devices. One possibility is a hybrid e-ink and LCD display, which we talked about here at Touch Reviews a few days ago.

Another possibility is that Apple might be shifting its display technology to AMOLED. But this would mean that Apple would be very reliant on Samsung for its display components – something they are said to be trying to move away from as Samsung becomes more of a competitor in key markets with Apple. i.e. Tablets and smart-phones. AMOLED displays could also actually mean a drop in overall resolution in Apple’s displays – and certainly some loss of quality. Currently Apple’s LCD panels (which rely on technologies designed to improve clarity and viewing angles) still perform better, and offer better resolution, in real world use than comparable AMOLED panels – despite being based on an older technology.

The final, most likely option in our opinion, is that Apple is investing serious R&D and money into increasing the yields of ultra-high resolution LCD panels. Panels that are still similar to those found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4 – but with a pixel resolution over the entire size of the much larger tablet panels, which would rival the iPhone 4’s Retina Display pixel per inch metric.

If we are to see any iPad revision out of Apple this year, taking all the events in Asia into account in recent weeks, and the state of display technology manufacture and R&D, it is very likely that it will simply be a product specification bump (much like we expected at the beginning of this year). So basically expect more Flash memory for any 2011 iPad update.

Overall the general consensus seems to be that the “iPad 3″ will most likely hit Apple Stores in early 2011. Mimicking the product cycle of its previous two siblings.

What’s you guess? Will Apple prove us all wrong again, and up the ante with a revolutionary iPad 3 for Christmas? Or will it be next year when we see Apple’s next serious tablet upgrade?
Have your say in the comments…

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7 Comments on “Apple’s iPad 3 : This year or next?”

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