iPad 3 is going to look a lot like iPad 2… Until you turn it on, that is. If the purported iPad 3 front glass spyshot on the right is an indication, the third-generation iPad (rumored for the March 7 unveiling) will sport virtually identical appearance to its predecessor. Discovered byApple.pro, a pretty reliable source for Apple hardware rumors, the front glass part shows literally the same 9.7-inch size and shape as iPad 2, down to the home button and the round bezel. Another image allegedly representing digitizer assembly (seen below), reveals a longer ribbon cable than on iPad, going all the way to the side of the display. Apart from that, the iPad 3′s front should be indistinguishable from iPad 2. It is widely assumed that iPad 3 will rock a 2048-by-1536 pixel resolution display and a set of manufacturing spyshots suggest that, surprisingly, Samsung is manufacturing those high-resolution displays rather than Sharp or LG Display, as previously thought.
As Apple doesn’t keep al its eggs in the same basket, the company could (and probably will) source iPad 3 panels from multiple suppliers. Interestingly, Samsung’s board of directors today approved plans to spin off the company’s LCD display business into a new entity. The wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, the new company will be named Samsung Display Company and will merge with Samsung Mobile Display and S-LCD in order to improve their competitiveness. The South Korean consumer electronics conglomerate said in a statement that “the display market is undergoing rapid chances with OLED panels expected to fast replace LCD panels to become the mainstream”.
Now, some media outlets speculate Apple will make a mistake by advertising iPad 3 as Retina-capable, arguing a 2048-by-1536 display doesn’t meet Apple’s Retina specifications. We’re deconstructing this myth right after the break.
Apple defines any display as being Retina-capable as long as it packs in enough pixels so that your eye is unable to discerne the individual pixels. Four things to bear in mind here: Display size, resolution, pixel density and the distance viewed. In case of the iPhone, Retina means at least 300 pixels per inch packed on a 3.5-inch display typically held at 12-15 inches away. But you don’t stare at a 9.7-inch tablet display from the same distance – iPad is typically held 15-18 inches away, meaning Retina quality can be achieved at 240 pixels per inch. Summing up, a 9.7-inch display with a 2048-by-1536 resolution at 264ppi held 15-18 inches away is Retina-quality.
This is safely above the Retina threshold, clearly letting Apple market iPad 3 as Retina-enabled without being slammed over false advertising. Packing in four times more pixels is going to be an overkill – hence a focus on graphics improvements, a bigger battery and a dual-bar LED system rather than quad-core CPU. As Display Search’sRaymond Soneira points out, going to high resolution means major brightness and power issues. That said, those alleged dual light bars might not be stacked as that would further increase the thickness of the display assembly.