Will iPad 3 Sport a Sharper Image?
The next generation of iPads will give users more choice, if the latest rumors prove true. Two models will reportedly carry different cameras, letting users opt for a five or eight megapixel snapper. Both will evidently sport sharper screen resolutions, giving the iPad 3 the same Retina Display introduced in the iPhone 4. They will also apparently pack heartier batteries.
01/03/12 5:00 AM PT
What will the iPad 3 look like? According to current speculation, it will have a sharper screen, a better camera and longer battery life.
Apple will quadruple the resolution of the display of the new generation of iPad over the current model, according to a Digitimes report. The 9.7-inch Retina panel will have QXGA resolution of 2,048 by 1,536 pixels.
What's more, dual LED lights will be added to improve the brightness of the screen, which reportedly will be made primarily by Sharp, with some additional units made by Samsung and LG Electronics.
An iPad with that kind of resolution will be greeted with open arms by app makers like Open Door Networks, maker of Art Authority, which was selected as the best reference app of 2011 by the editorial team at Apple's App Store.
"We're really psyched about the rumors about higher resolution," Open Door President Alan Oppenheimer told MacNewsWorld. "It would take the Retina display from the iPhone and expand it to the iPad. That would be incredible."
Real Competition in the Wings?
The next generation of iPads will reportedly feature two models that will differ in the quality of their rear-facing cameras. One will sport a five megapixel camera with a CMOS sensor produced by Samsung; the other will have an eight megapixel unit with a sensor by Sony.
The line is also rumored to have a more powerful batterty which, at 14,000 mAh, would be able to deliver twice the life of the current model.
That larger power plant may be necessary, though, to support the other rumored improvement to the platform: a quad-core A6 processor.
That processor upgrade will be necessary if Apple is to maintain its lead in the market, especially with the introduction of more powerful Android tablets based on Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 3 chip, according to Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst with the Enderle Group.
"Apple is facing a lot of competition in the first half of this year," he told MacNewsWorld. "It's stock valuation really trades on the success of their lead 'halo' product, which currently is the iPad. They really can't afford to fall too far behind. That makes it likely that the iPad 3 is going to be forced into the market sooner as opposed to later."
Rumors on Target?
What the iPad 3 will look like is pure speculation at this point -- Apple did not respond to our request for a comment for this story -- but some of the latest rumors are on solid ground, according to Stephen Baker, an analyst with the NPD Group.
"From a spec perspective, I think everybody's pretty well got what the next iPad is going to focus on," he told MacNewsWorld.
"You're going to see a much better screen and real focus on the display in the next generation of iPads," he continued. "That's going to be the clear differentiator from generation two to generation three."
Aside from specs, however, what the iPad 3 will usher in is a new price structure aimed at solidifying Apple's leadership at all segments of the tablet market, he asserted.
"People think that Apple is not an aggressive pricing company, but that's really not the case," he said. "When they see the need to fill price points with different types of products, they are very willing to do that."
That could mean bringing in the iPad 3 with five megapixel camera at the present price point, an eight megapixel model at a premium point and the iPad 2 at a point to compete with Amazon's runaway bestseller, the Kindle Fire.
That kind of strategy will work as long as there's a clear differentiator between the old and new products, which will be the case if the screen in the iPad 3 lives up to rumors, Baker noted.
"It will allow them to hold the value on the newer product while not letting more price-conscious customers walk away," he said.