Pray that Apple doesn't release the iPad 2S instead of iPad 3. The iOSsphere is pulsing with rumors about a new technology for a high-definition display on the Next iPad; seething over an arcane listing of "new" iPads in an arcane iOS list; and pondering winning stock strategies to exploit the upside iPad 3 will surely usher in.
You read it here second.
"Sure, it's technical, geeky stuff but it looks as if we're in for a bumper crop of new Apple products in 2012."
iPad 3 will have thinner, but high-definition display
New rumors swirled this past week around a widely-reported Wall Street analyst's note that Sharp has begun producing LCD screens for iPad 3, using a new technology announced earlier this year. The resulting display will be 330 pixels per inch, creating an image as crisp as that of the iPhone 4S, but using much less power than conventional displays.
But some of the same tech Websites repeating and amplifying this rumor were also repeating a contradictory one, apparently without realizing it: that a joint project by Hitachi and Sony was already shipping LCD screens for iPad 3 and an unnamed "4-inch device," according to single-sourced posting on a Japanese Mac site.
The investors note was by Peter Misek, at Jefferies & Co., based on information during a recent trip to Japan. Among the many sites reporting on Misek's conclusions was Forbes, where Brian Caulfield summarized several.
Misek says Apple has invested $500 million to $1 billion in manufacturing gear for Sharp's central Japan plant, now dedicated to churning out displays for Apple tablets and phones.
The new LCD technology, announced by Sharp last April, uses oxide-material-based thin-film transistors. The oxide is indium, gallium and zinc, hence the acronym IGZO. According to the summary at SemiConPortal, IGZO transistors deliver better performance than that of amorphous-silicon transistors. As a result, they can be made smaller without sacrificing performance, a move that lets more light pass through the panel. "This advantage translates into lower power consumption and higher resolution. Sharp reported a reduction in power consumption of about 33% for a 10-inch-wide prototype panel compared to an equivalent panel with amorphous-silicon TFTs," according to SemiConPortal.
At that time, the Website reported that Sharp has a different silicon product for displays needing more than 300 pixels per inch, with the IGZO LCDs for under 300-ppi screens.
But Misek's note says that Sharp will deliver 330-ppi screens for the next iPad, which would slightly surpass that of the iPhone 4S. Currently, iPad 2's 9.7-inch screen has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels at 132 ppi. By comparison, iPhone 4S features Apple's Retina display, with 960 x 640 pixel resolution at 326 ppi.
And all of this contradicts last week's rumor, based on a CNET interview with Richard Shim, an analyst with DisplaySearch. CNET's Brooke Crothers quoted Shim as saying "It's happening--QXGA, 2048x1536. Panel production has started [for the next-generation iPad]." Shim says there are not one, not two, but three suppliers for the new display: Samsung, Sharp, and LGD.
Shim also claimed the iPad 3 display uses in-plane switching technology, also used in other Apple products, but that, too, contradicts Misek, who insists the sharp IZGO display does away with IPS.
Finally, Shim predicted "We could start seeing finished devices produced in December. And then being ready to be shipped in January. With volumes gearing up in February and March."
Apple reveals new iPads in some arcane iOS reference that no one can explain
The beta release of iOS 5.1, now available to software developers, has references to at least two "new" iPads, along with new iPhones and an Apple TV, according to 9to5Mac.
Somewhere in the new OS version is a listing of devices, including new references never before seen. Like "iPad 2,4" and "iPad 3,3."
"With references to iPad 3,1 and 3,2 - likely the new iPads launching in March - having appeared months ago, we're thinking this iPad 2,4 could be the Sprint version that Apple recently completed work on - but only if it has WiMAX," muses 9to5Mac. "Other options include an iPad for China's TD-LTE, an early LTE model or a dual-mode device like the current iPhone 4S."
In other words, we have no idea what the numbers are referring to. They are just, you know, there.
But don't despair. "The rumored March iPad 3 launch is quickly approaching so we'll know soon," says 9to5Mac reassuringly.
Apparently for 9to5Mac, five months is but like a day in the sight of the iOSsphere.
U.K. tech site Pocket-Lint is equally upbeat on these revelations. "Sure, it's technical, geeky stuff but it looks as if we're in for a bumper crop of new Apple products in 2012," it says.
iPad 3 will boost Apple's stock, so plan your investing now
The basic premise here is that repeated releases of popular, highly profitable products will cause a company's stock price to rise.
IPad 3 is a "sure-to-be blockbuster" product that will "act as a huge catalyst for Apple's stock," confidently predicts a stock advice vendor, WallStCheatSheet.com.
This is sort of like predicting that April showers will act as a huge catalyst for May flowers.
Of course, WSCS can't predict when the stock price will bloom because "we cannot yet confirm the exact release date of the iPad 3 in 2012," the Website explains.
WSCS cites, but doesn't link to, data from Mashwork and Hall & Partners (you can find the data in this infographic at Mashable), analyzing about over a quarter of a million tweets. The two companies found, says WSCS, that "for every ten times the iPad 2 is discussed in social media relating to Black Friday, Amazon's Kindle Fire is mentioned only once."
And you know what that means.
"This means Apple has a strong catalyst coming with the iPad 3 release, as consumers are likely to stick with brands they are comfortable with."
So, according to WSCS, "dips in Apple's stock prior to the release of iPad 3 should provide investors with excellent opportunities to build a winning position." Unless something bad happens, like "any systemic issues regarding the US debt limit or EU sovereign debt crisis."
Maybe you should just buy gold, which is currently about $1,713 per troy ounce but is expected to go higher "if the euro-zone crisis were to heat up and investors were to shed their euro holdings," according to one commodities analyst quoted in a recent Wall Street Journal story.
Apple's share price has ranged from $310.50 to $426.70 over the past 52 weeks, closing yesterday at about $374.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for Network World.
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