Last time we heard about it, the unannounced (and unconfirmed) iPad 3 was supposed to arrive sometime in 2012. This would make sense, since the iPad 2 is still a very young product, being released three months ago (in March).
However, we’re now seeing a report published by Reuters, which suggests – based on info gathered from Taiwanese website Economic Daily – that Apple is, in fact, planning to launch the iPad 3 in the fourth quarter of this year.
What’s really interesting in this report is that the Taiwanese source says the new iPad “would have image resolution 5-6 times higher than iPad 2.” Ok, let’s think about this for a bit. Both the original iPad and the iPad 2 have the same 9.7 inch screen with 1024 x 768 pixels, so a new iPad with higher resolution shouldn’t be such a big surprise.
But a resolution 5 times higher than 1024 x 768 (786,432 pixels in total) means something like 2400 x 1600 pixels or higher. And that would be insane for a tablet, right? Well, yes and no.
You see, the iPhone 4’s 3.5 inch screen has a 960 x 640 pixel resolution, thus 326 PPI (pixels per inch). A 9.7 inch screen – assuming the iPad 3 will use one, and I’m pretty sure it will – with 2400 x 1600 pixels would still have a pixel density lower than the one the iPhone 4’s display has – 297 PPI. In the light of this, a new iPad with a huge resolution like that (2400 x 1600 or so) doesn’t seem to be such an insane idea. An iPad with Retina Display – why not?
Unfortunately, we’ll probably not find out any clear details about the iPad 3 until the day Apple decides to officially unveil it. And this may happen in Q4, as the Taiwanese website reported, since that’s also when iOS 5 (which includes more than 200 new features) should be released, too.
Apart from a bumped display resolution, I’d expect Apple’s next-gen tablet to feature a better rear camera, as the current model’s camera has a surprisingly low resolution, namely 0.7MP (960 x 720 pixels).
It will be interesting to see if Apple can make the iPad 3 even thinner than the iPad 2. Samsung has managed to produce two tablets that are 0.2mm thinner than Apple’s ( the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 8.9, both measuring only 8.6mm), so the Cupertino giant probably wants to outdo the South Korean company once more by pushing the boundaries of thinness even further. I don’t think it can go below 8mm, but… let’s wait and see.
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