The iPad was a mighty hot commodity when it was released, and it enjoyed great reviews until the iPhone 4 came out. The smartphone didn’t hurt the tablet’s sales, but many users felt like the iPhone’s retina display made the iPad feel, well, dated. Using the iPhone all day and coming home to the lesser resolution screen on the iPad at night felt like a downgrade. This caused many to speculate that the next generation Apple tablet would have a retina display.
While Apple has pumped up the retina display at 326 PPI, or pixels per inch, if rumors of 2048×1536 Apple tablet are true, it really won’t be a retina display. Instead, it will be a 264 PPI screen. Sharper than the original iPad, but not quite a retina display.
A more practical approach would simply be doubling the resolution of the current iPad (1024×768) to 2048×1536 at a 260 DPI. While not quite a “Retina” display, it would follow with Apple’s efforts to avoid fragmenting their product line. From a developer’s perspective, the doubling of an existing resolution is much easier to support.
Additionally, images found in iBooks 1.1 shows artwork that reveals what could be a double-resolution iPad. If Apple is going to up the resolution on the iPad, doubling it makes sense for reasons stated above – developer support would be much easier. Devs could run older apps double-pixel wide, or refresh to be more compatible with the higher resolution.
Given Apple’s annual product refresh cycle, we can expect the new Apple tablet to be announced in the coming weeks with a possible early April release – same time as last year. This time around, Apple will have a bit of competition from the growing Army of Android tablets – many of which impressed us at CES this year. Additionally, the allure of 4G marketing may have some users holding out for a 4G tablet from Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon with the BlackBerry PlayBook and G-Slate tablets, for example.