Supply chain rumors see double resolution screen for next iPad
Improved display of 2048×1536 pixels on the cards
The Korea Times is reporting that Apple's next version of the iPad will feature an improved display resolution of 20481536 pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio, to provide a full high definition (HD) viewing experience. The current iPad 2 has a 1024-by-768-pixel resolution at 132 pixels per inch (ppi)
The paper quoted a source saying that the display will support quad extended graphics (QXGA), with Samsung Electronics and LG Display, the world's two largest makers of liquid crystal displays (LCDs), close to securing big orders from Apple.
The paper said that Apple had started quality testing Samsung and LG's LCDs at one of its laboratories in China. Samsung and LG were required to produce screens with better picture quality and density, according to sources, who anticipate the testing process will be completed during the third quarter.
''Apple has traditionally preferred to use the same providers of the same parts for the same device, even as they evolve to different versions," said its source. "I don't see any fundamental change to that approach.''
The paper points out a possible letdown for Samsung in that Apple appears to have no interest in using its flat screens based on organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs), an area in which Samsung has been investing heavily.
"Another drawback is the current OLED technology is not at the level to realize a full HD viewing experience, which is important for tablets,'' said the source.
The story highlights the turbulent relationship between Apple and Samsung. While Samsung provides key components such as flash memory chips, processors and LCDs to Apple, the US company has filed a patent infringement suit against the South Korean manufacturer for allegedly copying the look and feel of its iPhones and iPads in its own offerings.
The Korea Times noted that Apple has been buying a staggering amount of DRAM, NAND flash and other components from Samsung, which also makes Apple-designed A4 and A5 processors on a foundry basis. However, Apple has reportedly been shifting much of its memory chip orders to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
The paper quoted Samsung officials insisting the chances are ''very low'' that Apple's deteriorating link with Samsung in chips will eventually affect its appetite for Samsung screens.
The paper predicted that the imminent deals would assure that Samsung and LG continue to be the biggest providers of flat screens to Apple for the foreseeable future. The companies are both capable of providing high-resolution QXGA screens up to 9.7 inches, thanks to advanced production technology based on the use of low temperature polysilicon.
''Pixel density, a barometer for viewing quality, should be increased to over 280 pixels-per-inch (PPI) to meet Apple's stiff requirement for screen viewing,'' said another source, who predicts that Taiwanese LCD giant CMI will see smaller orders from Apple than its Korean rivals.
The improved screens would present no problems for developers, insisted the MacRumors site, which also carried the story.
"By limiting the resolution increase to a doubling of the current displays, Apple will provide an easy transition for developers," said the site. "....Existing content can be displayed via pixel doubling to appear naturally on the higher-resolution display until it can be upgraded to the higher resolution. A similar system was used when the iPhone and iPod touch transitioned to double-resolution displays to minimise disruption to the app ecosystem of the platform."