Rumors of a high-resolution "Retina Display" for Apple's next iPad, never far from the surface, came roaring back after the blog TechUnwrapped posted screenshots of some extra-large images in iOS 5, the upcoming mobile operating system for Apple mobile devices.
"As I was going through the iOS SDK I came across some images in the new Twitter .framework. The resolution appears to be 1,536 x 2,048," a tipster apparently wrote to the blog, including the aforementioned screenshots to back up those findings. As TechUnwrapped noted, the resolution of the current iPad 2 is 1024 x 768.
In addition to the new Twitter .framework, Apple's upcoming Newsstand application-with consolidates iOS users' subscriptions in one place, and downloads new periodical issues in the device's background-apparently also features images with twice-as-large resolutions.
Apple will release iOS 5 sometime this fall. It is a broad-based update: in addition to Newsstand, new features include a refined notifications screen, boosted interoperability with Twitter, and an "iMessenger" conversation platform seemingly designed as a direct competitor to BlackBerry Messenger.
Other sources have been reporting that Apple is prepping its next iPad with a higher-resolution screen. On June 14, Reuters paraphrased Taiwan's Economic Daily as saying the iPad 3 would launch in the fourth quarter with an "image resolution 5-6 times higher than iPad 2."
That being said, other rumors have pushed back against the idea of a late-2011 release for the iPad 3. In an April report, the publication DigiTimes quoted unnamed "upstream component makers" as saying that Apple was still deciding on possible panels for future tablets, with any resulting products "unlikely" to make a showing in 2011.
"The sources point out that they have not yet received any notice for next-generation iPad products and do not believe iPad 2 is a transitional product," read the report. "With iPad 2's strong shipment order forecast from Apple, the sources believe iPad 3 will not appear in the short term."
Any iPad 3 theories contribute to what's already a media-fueled furnace of scuttlebutt over everything iPad-related. Apple's lack of official word on its upcoming product has a way of working analysts and bloggers into a speculative froth. In the months ahead of each iPad's successive unveiling, the blogosphere typically buzzes with "news" and rumors of possible features and form-factors-many of which, inevitably turn out to be wrong.
One of the stronger rumors, however, has centered on a high-resolution display for the iPad 3. But even then, whether TechUnwrapped's screenshots are harbingers of such a hardware feature remains to be seen.