A report says that Apple could be preparing to release an updated third-generation iPad this fall, with changes to reduce weight and improve the LED backlighting.
“We are seeing [Apple] work with panel makers to come out with a display that enables a thinner overall [product] with longer battery life,” said Richard Shim, an analyst at [market research firm] DisplaySearch.
“Of course the supply chain is dynamic, but we’re seeing some early indications that this may be happening,” he added. Because of the vagaries of the supply chain — made up of manufacturers and suppliers — orders get canceled, plans get changed, sometimes on a monthly basis.
DisplaySearch published a research note about the updated Retina Display iPad last week. The note said, “Apple is working with the LCD supply chain to refresh the display, including revising the LED backlight design for cost reduction, refining the thermal solution, reducing the weight by replacing some components, and fine tuning the panel transmittance for lower power consumption.”
Shim said that would include the use of an IGZO display to reduce the display’s thickness and heat. Samsung would be a likely manufacturer, he added.
Founder, president, and CEO of DisplayMate Technologies, Raymond Soneira said earlier this year that the Retina Display iPad that Apple released was actually “Plan B” for Apple. Plan A was a design that didn’t have additional thickness and weight. (The new iPad’s height and width remained the same, but the thickness of the device swelled slightly to 0.37 inch and the weight inched up to 1.44 pounds.)
“There’s no question that the iPad 3 is Plan B. They pushed amorphous silicon [display tech] to a higher [pixels per inch] than anybody else. But the light throughput is not good. So it has roughly twice as many LEDs, and they had to get a 70 percent larger battery,” Soneira said previously, referring to the Retina iPad.
About 7 million updated Retina Display iPads could be produced in October if Apple decides to go forward with production.
This would be an unusual move, as Apple typically waits at least a year to offer successors to their devices, the current Retina Display iPad was announced in March of this year.
John Brownlee, writing for Cult of Mac, says he thinks that it’s possible this all means that we won’t see a new iPad in March of next year. remarking that, “When Apple called the third-generation iPad the ‘new iPad’ instead of the iPad 3, they were signaling that the iPad was to be treated more like a MacBook or iMac, and there wasn’t as much room for yearly upgrades, like the iPhone. iPad updates would be mostly incremental, not major events.”
When you think about it, Brownlee’s theory makes sense. Maybe Apple will be updating the iPad line much like they do their Mac lineup.
What so you think? Will Apple release an updated Retina Display iPad this fall? If they do, does it mean no new iPad in the Spring? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.