Apple iPad 3: Is 2048 x 1536 Too Crazy?

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Asian display makers LG and Samsung are reportedly having trouble — probably with yield rates and density issues — in making the 2048 x 1536 resolution retina display in the upcoming Apple iPad 3. That resolution is about 264 pixels per inch (PPI), twice the resolution of the current iPad 2. Will Apple's ambitions for the retina display of the much-rumored tablet slow its expected spring release? Maybe the iPhone 4, with its 326 pixel density, stretches capabilities to the limit. We'll be watching. CNET has a great report on this today.This from CNET's Brooke Crothers:

The follow-on to Apple's popular iPad 2 is expected to arrive as early as the first quarter of next year. And Apple is aiming high, as usual. The goal is to have a Retina Display-like resolution on the iPad 3, according to the source who is in contact with Asia-based suppliers who, in turn, are familiar with Apple's plans.

Apple defines a Retina Display as having "pixel density is so high your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels." For the iPhone 4S that means a 960×640, 3.5-inch display that packs in 326 pixels per inch (PPI). At about 12 inches from the eye, this is the most amount of detail the human retina can see, according to Apple.

That's dense. In fact, so dense that you won't see that level of density on an iPad 3 with a Retina Display–if it's in fact called that. Nor is it even necessary because typically the iPad's screen isn't held that close to the face.

The closest that iPad display manufacturers like LG Display and Samsung can get is 2048×1536 resolution display, according to the source. That's a PPI of 264, twice the 132 PPI on the iPad 2.

But whether manufacturers can make them in volumes that Apple demands is the question. "They have production plans for 2,048×1,536 displays. Starting in November. But those are only plans at this point," said the source, referring to LG and Samsung.

"It's not a question of making just one. That, of course, can be done. The challenge is making lots of them," the source said. "This is a quantum leap in pixel density. This hasn't been done before."

If manufacturers are not able to hit the volumes necessary for the higher resolution, there is an interim option of 1,600 x 1,200, according to the source.

The display is also expected to have a brightness of 550 nits. That's pretty bright, as the typical laptop display panel tops out at about 350 nits.

In related news, Samsung this week is showing off a 2,560 x 1,600-pixel 10.1-inch LCD Panel for tablets. That could potentially appear in future Samsung products.

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Gina Smith

Gina Smith is a New York Times bestselling author and an award-winning journalist. A former correspondent for ABC News, Gina is the co-founder and editorial director of aNewDomain Media. Email Gina at gina@anewdomain.net and find her on Twitter @ginasmith888

1 Comment

  • how the heck do they think battery’s are gonna support this? my samsung galaxy s2 hardly lasts a day in all its display glory 🙁