Over the last couple of weeks there have been a number of discussions on various rumour sites about the exact resolution of the screen on the new iPad 2. The popular favourite is that the iPad 2 will offer a “Retina” style display with exactly double the resolution of the current model. This would certainly be the best choice for any screen upgrade, because as we have explained before it would allow existing iPad apps to be upscaled very easily in iOS to twice their normal size. Much the same way that the iPhone 4 and most recent iPod Touch can run non-Retina iOS apps upscaled.
However, as we have already pointed out, the component cost of LCD panels of that resolution are still prohibitively expensive. Around $200 per unit, or half the current cost of an iPad at retail. As far as we know displays of this size and resolution are only produced in quite low yields currently. So Apple’s reported orders for millions of units are hard to take seriously.
Then again there is news of a new GPU which could very easily drive a larger display than currently found in the iPhone 4 and the iPad. But this “Apple A5”, rumoured to have a dual core ARM processor and updated GPU from Imagination Technologies would have only recently gone into mass production, if at all yet. Making it more likely the new SoC for the iPhone 5 based on info we have seen so far; despite it obviously being an attractive choice for an updated iPad.
Engadget are convinced that the new iPad will offer a higher resolution screen than the existing iPad model. And cite a “reliable source” who has not let them down in the past. But they are not convinced it will be double the resolution of the existing iPad.
In Apple’s recent earnings report Tim Cook did mention some very high value strategic investments Apple has made in certain manufacturing partners, other than FLASH storage. It is an outside bet, but it is possible that they have perhaps sourced a high resolution supply of screens with this secretive, high value investment. However, it is more likely that this “investment” will yield results later this year, in our opinion.
DigiTimes, who have been hit and miss with their predictions in the past, seem to have regurgitated more of the “Retina” display iPad 2 rumours in a piece today where they claim that the new iPad will indeed have higher resolution panels offering a resolution of 2048 x 1536; twice that of the current iPad.
But it is worth noting that their report seems more as if it was crafted from other earlier reports, rather than being sourced from new information.
So it is anybodies guess right now. What’s your take on it? iPad 2 with a Retina Display? Or just a bump with more RAM, a slightly faster GPU/CPU and some new ports and speakers? Have your say in the comments…