Bloomberg Apple iPad 3 Rumor: 30% More Resolution

Bloomberg:

The screen resolution on Apple’s new iPad would be about one-third higher than that of the iPad 2 and will boast a more responsive touchscreen, one of the people said.

The current iPad sports a 9.7-inch 1024×768 LCD, which translates to a resolution of 131.96 ppi. About one-third higher would be about 171 ppi. The corresponding pixel format would be either 1280×960 or 1400×1050, both 4:3 aspect ratios. This doesn’t make sense.

Reason #1: How would Apple market this new display? It isn’t Retina-worthy. HD could be one, but why would Apple focus on just one aspect of the display (HD video) when the iPad is geared for almost anything. I think it’s Retina Display or nothing when it comes to a higher-resolution display on the iPad.

Reason #2: The developers will have a helluva time. Brand new apps would look fine. Any updated apps will require two versions. Old apps would look terrible. And the overall result would be a mess. Tightly coupled with Reason #1, I think Apple will double the pixels horizontally and vertically. The resolution would double to 263.92 and the pixel format would be 2048×1536. Developers will be happy, apps will look great, and the user experience won’t suffer at all.

Would driving 2048×1536 pixels require too much resources? I don’t think so.

Reason #1: With more pixels on the same display light transmittance decreases. Yes, if you use the same TFT. But LG Display (LGD) has already announced production LCDs called NOVA that makes use of Fine Black Matrix technology. This reduces the TFT lines from 9 microns to 7. Thinner TFT lines means more light transmittance. So the backlight won’t need so much brighter, which also means it doesn’t need to consume that much more power.

Reason #2: 3M introduced new optical films that simplify the LED backlight unit (BLU) structure, reduce the number of LEDs needed, and improve light transmittance.

Reason #3: LED manufacturers have continued to improve light output while maintaining or reducing power consumption.

Reason #4: The Apple A5 chip is up to 9x the performance of the A4. Let’s assume the new Retina Display requires all of that 9x performance gain. That just means we’ll end up with performance that’s only like what we experience on the original iPad. I can live with that.

There are probably more reasons, but even from my limited knowledge there is very little reason why a 9.7-inch 2048×1536 Retina Display cannot be driven without much of a performance hit, which if any would have almost no meaningful impact on the user experience.

Now does this mean a Retina Display-equipped iPad would start at US$499? Probably not. I think Apple will bifurcate the iPad line and introduce an iPad Pro.

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