Mobile

It’s iPad HD, not iPad 3. Plus, Apple is buying 7.1″ screens for smaller iPads

Update 3/7/2012: Apple announced its new iPad today, and it’s actually called… the new iPad. Or just “iPad,” for short. I still believe the iPad HD name was being used at one point by Apple (perhaps internally), because several Apple partners and developers confirmed the name to me after this post first hit. For now, get used to calling it the new iPad.

Original post below.

Apple’s next-generation iPad will be called the iPad HD, not the iPad 3, a reliable source tells VentureBeat. Additionally, we’re hearing that Apple is now buying 7.1-inch screen components in preparation for a smaller iPad release later this year.

Gizmodo reported on the potential iPad HD name last week, citing accessory listings from Belkin and Griffin. Additionally, the Verge (back when it was called “This is my next”), reported on the iPad HD name way back in July. Our source has been accurate about Apple releases in the past, so combined with Gizmodo’s report, it seems like a very strong indication that Apple will be announcing the iPad HD on Wednesday.

Why iPad HD? As I discussed in my rumor roundup, Apple’s next iPad is expected to sport a ridiculously high-resolution display running at 2,048 by 1,536 pixels. By comparison, current iPads feature a much lower resolution 1,024 by 768 display. The higher-resolution display will not only make text and pictures sharper, it’ll also make the iPad HD the only tablet to support 1080p high-definition at its full resolution (1,920 by 1,080). Expect Apple to market the hell out of that feature.

Android tablets have been sporting 720p HD displays (1,280 by 720) for some time now, but if the reports are true, the iPad 3′s display will blow Android slates out of the water. (Update: A few 1080p Android tablets were shown at the Mobile World Congress last week from Asus, Acer, and Huawei. Still, the iPad HD would be the first one actually released.)

The iPad HD moniker is also a further sign that the new tablet won’t sport a quad-core A6 CPU, as some rumors have speculated. Instead, it’ll likely ship with an improved version of Apple’s dual-core A5 processor, dubbed the A5X.

Our information on Apple buying up 7.1-inch screen components comes from another source, and it differs slightly from recent Digitimes reports indicating that Apple is working on a 7.85-inch iPad for later in the year. Honestly, an iPad close to 8 inches doesn’t make much sense to me, especially since that’s only two inches smaller than the current 9.7-inch iPad display.

Something closer to 7 inches makes more sense for Apple, since it would be able to compete directly against Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire, which will likely see a significant price reduction this Fall. Our source says Apple is particularly keen on taking back ground from the Kindle Fire, which is estimated to have sold 6 million units over the holidays. Apple is positioning the smaller iPad for launch later this year, but those plans could easily change, our source notes.

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