iPad 3, iPad HD? Seeing is believing

by David Needle

March 5 2012

Steve Jobs showed off Apple's first retina display at the iPhone 4 launch, now it appears the new iPad HD will have one. (Photo: SlashGear)
Steve Jobs showed off Apple's first retina display at the iPhone 4 launch, now it appears the new iPad HD will have one. (Photo: SlashGear)

So what will we see Wednesday when Apple unveils the long-rumored iPad 3? In fact, it may not be an iPad 3 at all; the latest reports indicate Apple’s next iPad will be called the iPad HD.

What’s important about the HD name, if true, is that it says Apple wants to promote the higher resolution display as the most prominent new feature in this latest iPad. Analysts interviewed by TabTimes say that may well be the case. The expectation is that the new iPad will have double the resolution to 2048 x 1536 of the current iPad 2 in the same 9.7 -inch display size with a 4 x 3 aspect ratio. 

“That’s our belief, that it will be called the iPad HD,” said Richard Doherty, research director of the Envisioneering Group. “iPad HD is going to reset the whole tablet experience.” 

Why? Doherty says the iPad HD’s so-called retina display is going let Apple set the bar higher for Android and other would be tablet competitors. “The experience consumers are going to have on this device will be that much better; they’re going to say, ‘Wow, this is better than my HD TV’.” 

Rhoda Alexander, lead tablet analyst at IHS iSuppli says the doubling of the pixel count is a logical next step for Apple because it makes it easier for current apps to adapt to the new resolution. “Apps should take the increase in pixel density and display beautifully,” said Alexander. 

Because Apple’s effectively doubling the amount of information it can show on the same size screen Alexander says it’s going to make everything we can see today on the iPad 2 that much better. “Everything, whether it’s the written page, a web page, a video, will pop in a way it didn’t before.” 

As for competitors, both Doherty and Alexander said they expect Android tablets to come out later this year with devices that match or in some case may even exceed the iPad HD’s. 

“I’m sure within weeks of Apple’s announcement some prototype will roll out with a competitive display, but it won’t have the same integration with the operating system and app ecosystem that the iPad offers,” says Doherty. “You can’t do that overnight. Look how long it’s taken Ice Cream Sandwich tablets to get out there.” 

The TV of tomorrow and a 3D iPad?

But as a broader universe of HD tablets does emerge, Doherty says they are going to become like the new TV. “You’re going to see what we think of today as TV as the alternative experience and tablets become the norm. 

Thinking even further out, Alexander speculates Apple might be holding off using the iPad 3 name because it plans to eventually release a 3D tablet and wants to save the “3” moniker till then.

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