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iPad 3 rumor rollup for the week of Nov. 28

New high-def display, code mysteries, stock advice

By , Network World
November 30, 2011 09:07 AM ET

Network World - 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.

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