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iPad 2 successor possibly to hit stores as early as February

While this can be lumped squarely in the "unconfirmed" column, rumors have begun swirling about the possibility of Apple's next-generation tablet, the iPad 3, launching within the next "three to four months."

Anonymous sources in the supply chain are cited by DigiTimes saying that the parts and components for the iPad 3 are being delivered to OEM contractors while reducing deliveries for the iPad 2. 

"OEM production of iPad 2 will remain high at 14-15 million units in the fourth quarter of 2011 but decline to 4-5 million units in the first quarter of 2012, paving the way for the launch of the new iPads," DigiTimes writes.

The rumors are bolstered by further reports from a Chinese Commercial Times report that says Foxconn will begin production on the new models in January, and increasing production by February.

The aforementioned anonymous supply-chain sources say that anywhere from 9.5 to 9.8 million units of the iPad 3 will be produced in Q1 of 2012.

Another report from last week, this one from the L.A. Times, cited February as the target launch date, so the new timeframe isn't too far off. 

According to the Times, the iPad 3 will be similar to its predecessor, but will include Apple's retina display, doubling the resolution found on the current model.

The original iPad launched in April 2010. The iPad 2 launched in March 2011. If Apple's 11-month trend for next generation of its popular tablet continues, February 2012 would be the target.

With increased competition in the tablet market from the likes of Microsoft and additional Android offerings, Apple might be feeling a sense of urgency to stay ahead of the curve if it wants to hold on to its tablet market share.

Sources: DigiTimes, LA Times

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RE: 3 million pixels
By tviceman on 12/12/2011 11:43:58 AM , Rating: 2
I want to know how a resolution that high on a display that small is going to be affordable and feasible. If it's "not that hard" or expensive to make, then why aren't there an abundance of 22-24" screens with that resolution? At 22", there are more 1680x1050 monitors than 1920x1080 on newegg...

Not saying the rumors aren't true, but I don't understand how it's currently feasible.

RE: 3 million pixels
By NellyFromMA on 12/12/2011 12:24:50 PM , Rating: 2
Just think of when you drop and break it :( I'm sure the replacement screen will fetch a nice price

RE: 3 million pixels
By dew111 on 12/12/2011 3:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
Ding ding ding ding ding...we have a winner! It's not affordable. Like silicon chips, as you build bigger panels with the same density of transistors, yield (the number of defect-free parts) goes down, and the cost of good parts skyrockets. Smart phone screens are small. Tablet screens are much bigger. This rumor has been alive (and ridiculous) for a long time. It was started by industry analysts who have very little technical knowledge. They latched onto one of Apple's marketing points and tried to extend it to their other products where it is completely infeasible and unnecessary.

Even if the panel were affordable, quadrupling the resolution would require a huge leap in processing power to make the display snappy and responsive. Apple isn't going to release a product with a UI that grinds to a halt any time you use multitouch. The iPad 3 may have a larger resolution display, but it will be at most on the order of 1280x960.

RE: 3 million pixels
By omnicronx on 12/12/2011 4:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
Even if the panel were affordable, quadrupling the resolution would require a huge leap in processing power to make the display snappy and responsive.
You are making assumptions. The GPU in the iPad 2 was essentially overpowered for the device, it would actually have absolutely no problem pushing the pixels in a non gaming environment in its full glory at those resolutions.

While gaming, you are once again falsely assuming that a)games won't be capped at a specific resolution, b)developers won't merely scale from a lower resolution (which they already do now). (it does not really even make sense to move go higher than 1024x768 right now as the vast majority of the iPad userbase will still be stuck on this resolution)

As for the lower resolution display, that was one of the the other reasons that many felt that the resolution in the iPad 2 would remain the same, and not receive any kind of bump. We knew that it a Retina like display was eventually coming, and continually adding on extra resolutions that dev's now have to support makes absolutely no sense for Apple and does not fit into their business model.

i.e Mark my words, either the iPad 3 will be a Retina like display, or its resolution will not change at all.

All of this said, a Retina display is now feasible in the iPad, it was not even a year ago. So this is not merely reiterating a previous rumour from the iPad 2, the rumors are being revisited because it now makes sense where it did not just a short time ago.

RE: 3 million pixels
By TakinYourPoints on 12/13/2011 4:55:39 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. The GPU in the iPad 2 is still faster than the Tegra 3, and the PowerVR GPU in the next iPad should be even faster if it's anything like the quad-core version that is also going in the Vita. Certainly enough to drive a monitor of that resolution.

The issue isn't processing power, it is yields of good LCD panels. Yield numbers will get better but right now it's similar to a new die shrink for CPUs and GPUs. There's a period where things are shaky and finally get figured out. I'm curious to see if yield numbers put a constraint on supply of iPad 3s. If I'm not mistaken, lower than expected yields initially held back production of the iPhone 4 as well.

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