Apple's next iPad could feature a high-resolution screen along the lines of the company's "Retina Display," as well as a slimmer body.
That rumor derives from two separate sources. On July 11, Taiwanese publication DigiTimes paraphrased unnamed "industry sources" as claiming that Apple will launch the next iPad either at the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth quarter. The tablet "may be named iPad 2 plus and will be thinner than its predecessors yet with upgraded display."
A slimmer body could present a substantial engineering challenge, considering that the iPad 2 already boasts a 0.34-inch thickness and (based on third-party teardowns) tightly-packed internals.
The second report came from the tech blog This Is My Next, which also claimed Apple will launch an iPad later this year with a higher resolution display.
"As hard as it might be to believe, the new tablet is said to sport a double resolution screen (2048 x 1536) and will be dubbed the -iPad HD,'" read the July 7 report, authored by Joshua Topolsky. "The idea behind the product is apparently that it will be a -pro' device aimed at a higher end market ... and will be introduced alongside something like an iPad version of Final Cut or Aperture."
He suggested that the tablet will be marketed as part of the iPad 2 line, not as a successor.
With the iPad 2 a solid marketplace success, the rumor mill has recently refocused its attentions on a possible sequel. As with seemingly every other Apple product, the rumors start as a cluster of vague (and often contradictory) predictions by Asian publications, often quoting unnamed sources. Then stateside publications get into the game, citing their own behind-the-scenes moles. While some of the scuttlebutt indeed proves accurate, much of it ends up being little more than the purest conjecture. Nevertheless, these stories attract substantial buzz and Internet traffic, ensuring their continued publication (not to mention millions of dollars in free publicity for Apple).
In this case, though, there is some evidence suggesting that Apple's next iPad could feature a higher resolution display. In June, the blog TechUnwrapped posted screenshots of some extra-large images in iOS 5, the upcoming operating system for Apple mobile devices, including the iPad.
"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 wrote to the blog, while also sending the aforementioned screenshots to back up the claims. With the resolution of the iPad 2 now standing at 1024 x 768, that new resolution would represent a substantial upgrade-one perhaps akin to the iPhone 4's high-resolution "Retina Display."
Apple plans to release iOS 5 sometime this fall, which just about coincides with the rumored launch of this next iPad. 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 the iPad 2."
Whether these iPad rumors pan out remains to be seen. However, an iPad release later in 2011 would disrupt Apple's nascent tablet release schedule, which seems to center on a new launch roughly every year.