Apple's next-generation iPad will feature a higher-resolution screen, according to a new burst of rumors. That adds to the general drum-roll of rumor and speculation surrounding the successor to the company's bestselling tablet.
Citing unnamed sources from "upstream component makers," the publication DigiTimes suggested Jan. 20 that the "iPad 2" will boast a resolution of 2048 x 1536. That apparently opens the door for software crossovers within the Apple ecosystem.
"The larger resolution should provide the company's app developers more convenience, while all future applications will be able to run under any of Apple's machines including the 27-inch iMac," DigiTimes reported.
Along with blogs such as Boy Genius Report and MacNotes, DigiTimes has contributed many an iPad rumor based on unnamed sources over the past few months. Collectively, those rumors suggest that the newest iPad will arrive on U.S. store shelves by early April, roughly in line with the release schedule for the original iPad, which launched in April 2010.
Boy Genius Report suggested in a Jan. 12 posting that Apple is planning a fairly radical hardware alteration to the iPad. "We have exclusively been told that the reason Apple just added multi-touch gestures for the iPad in the latest iOS 4.3 beta is because the iPad will be losing the home button," read that posting. "Instead of button taps, you will use new multi-touch gestures to navigate to the home screen and also to launch the app switcher."
That would bring the next iPad in line with other next-generation tablets such as Research In Motion's PlayBook, whose case is also touch-sensitive; instead of hitting a button to bring up the home screen, for example, you "flick" your finger across the BlackBerry logo embossed along the tablet's bottom.
But a higher-resolution screen for the iPad would allow the tablet to stand out among its competitors in the same way that similarly augmented screens help differentiate smartphones from their competitors. Apple's iPhone 4 incorporates an ultra-bright "Retina Display," while Samsung's Galaxy S smartphone line includes Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) screens; both additions are frequently cited as standout features from other iOS and Android devices.
Should Apple choose to announce the next iPad in the near future, though, the question remains which company executive will take the stage to whip the curtain away from the device. Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who usually hosts his company's highest-profile presentations, announced Jan. 17 that he is taking another leave of absence to focus on his health. With his departure, it seems likely that COO Tim Cook, who unveiled the Verizon iPhone in New York City Jan. 11, will take over event ringleader duties.