iPad 3’s biggest production challenge: that damn Retina Display

apple ipad
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apple ipadThe Apple iPad 3 reportedly has a serious challenge ahead of itself when it comes to production: building that blasted pixel-rich Retina Display.

After the completely inaccurate reports about iPhone 5, it’s hard to trust any rumors about upcoming Apple products. But when it comes to the iPad 3, I find the idea of slightly bumping up the screen resolution and internal hardware completely believable. Plus, we’ve already heard similar rumblings from other sources when it comes to the iPad 3.

This latest report, courtesy of CNET, has an unidentified source suggesting that iPad display makers LG and Samsung are presently able to produce a 10-inch screen with a maximum resolution of 2,048 x 1,583. That resolution means the device would have 264 pixels per inch (PPI), and that’s twice the 132 PPI of the iPad 2’s 1024 x 768 display.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t hold up to what Apple has already delivered with its highly touted “Retina Display” that was first featured on the iPhone 4 and is now available on the iPhone 4S. Both of those models feature 960 x 640 resolution on their 3.5-inch displays, which means they have 326 PPI. That’s a far cry from the 264 PPI on these upcoming iPad 3 displays.

Besides not being able to live up to the standard PPI set by the iPhone 4’s screen, the manufacturers are struggling to make these new 264 PPI in large quantities. It’s much easier to manufacture small 3.5-inch displays with incredible pixel density than it is to make a 10-inch display with the same density, so coming up with the actual process has left suppliers stumped.

If manufacturers can’t deliver what Apple wants at high quantities, one other screen option is available: a better-but-not-that-impressive 1,600 x 1,200 resolution display. Even if LG and Samsung are only able to deliver screens with that resolution, it would still be a decent upgrade, especially if Apple updates the processor and cameras on the iPad too.

How important is a higher resolution display to you for the iPad 3?

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