Apple will apparently forgo including its high-definition Retina Display in the iPad 2, according to an IDC analyst. Instead, the iPad 3 will be the company's first tablet capable of 2048 x 1536 resolution.
"I think the DigiTimes story probably got the resolution right, but the iPad version wrong," IDC research manager Tom Mainelli reportedly told PC World, in a quote then circulated on sites such as Slashgear and Digital Arts. "Our sources say Apple has requested that manufacturers begin work on displays with that resolution for the iPad 3."
Nor did Mainelli believe those manufacturers "ready" to produce tablet-sized Retina Displays in appreciable volume. "And Apple is going to require huge volumes for the iPad 2."
The original DigiTimes story suggested that the iPad 2's 2048 x 1536 resolution would play into Apple's larger plans for its 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," reported the publication Jan. 20.
In theory, a higher-resolution iPad display would be a major selling point for Apple as it tries to fend off competition from a host of Android-based tablets such as the upcoming Motorola Xoom. Even without such a screen, though, rumors circulating within the blogosphere suggest that the next-generation iPad will include features such as a slimmed-down body and updated iOS.
Some of the scuttlebutt is particularly radical; the blog Boy Genius Report, for example, suggested in a Jan. 12 posting that the next version of the iPad will lack a home button, instead relying on multi-touch gestures to navigate to the home screen. If true, that would bring the next-generation iPad in direct line with Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet, which brings up the home screen with a finger-flick across the bottom of the touch-sensitive casing.
DigiTimes suggested in a recent report that both Motorola and RIM have placed substantial tablet orders with their Taiwanese component makers. In conjunction with an aggressive tablet push by Samsung with its Galaxy Tab, that means Apple faces much fiercer tablet competition in 2011 than it did in 2010.
Apple remains officially tight-lipped about when it will announce a second-generation iPad. The actual unveiling, though, could vary substantially from the typical Apple event; with CEO Steve Jobs on a leave of absence to focus on his health, COO Tim Cook or another executive will likely have to step in as emcee for such a circus.