Apple iPad 2 Screen Thinner, Lighter: Rumors

Apple's next iPad will feature a thinner and lighter screen but likely no high-resolution Retina Display technology, according to images posted on 9to5Mac.

Apple's iPad 2 may lack a high-definition Retina Display, at least based on alleged photos of the device posted on the blog 9to5Mac.

The blog claims that, along with "the iFix Youri iPhone 4 repair shop," it managed to acquire an "iPad 2 LCD" from China.

"At this point, we cannot tell if the resolution is higher (or -Retina') but it is definitely higher quality in terms of its build," reads the Feb. 1 posting, accompanied by several images. "The iPad 2's display is also lighter, and over a mm thinner than the current iPad's display with a smaller surrounding frame."

The back of the alleged iPad 2 display features the tag "LP097X02-SLN1," which one commenter then pegged as "Lg Phillips 9.7in XGA 1024x768 H-IPS display."

If the commenter stands correct, it would confirm an IDC analyst's earlier statements that the iPad 2 will lack a Retina Display. The publication DigiTimes suggested in late January that the iPad 2 would boast a screen with 2048 by 1536 resolution, which in turn led IDC research manager Tom Mainelli to tell PC World: "Our sources say Apple has requested that manufacturers begin work on displays with that resolution for the iPad 3."

While a radically higher-resolution screen could help the iPad franchise in the face of fiercer competition by Android-based tablets, a next-generation Apple tablet with dramatically upgraded capabilities has the potential to alienate those who already spent hundreds of dollars buying the original iPad. In theory, that consideration may lead Apple to embark on a more incremental upgrade to the next-generation tablet, which has not yet been officially announced.

In the meantime, rumor and conjecture are doing their utmost to fill that vacuum created by a lack of official iPad news. In a Jan. 12 posting, the blog Boy Genius Report suggested the next iPad will lack a home button, relying instead on multi-touch gestures to navigate to the home screen-bringing the device's hardware in line with that of Research In Motion's upcoming PlayBook tablet, which lets users bring up the home screen with a finger-flick across the bottom of the touch-sensitive casing.

Other rumors circulating throughout the blogosphere suggest the iPad 2 will boast a thinner body and more streamlined design-something that, if nothing else, the 9to5Mac images seem to support. As with the original iPad, though, Apple's actual unveiling event could reveal a device radically different from many news Websites' best guesses.