That Apple is making a follow-up to the iPad 2 is no surprise. That it might be sourcing one of the most important components from a company it's currently involved in a massive legal spat with makes for an interesting story.
The Korea Times today is reporting that Samsung Electronics and LG Display are vying to supply Apple with a higher-resolution LCD display that will be used in the next-generation iPad. According to the Times' anonymous source, Apple's going with a display that will be the same size as it's been in the first two iPad models, except with double the resolution, or 2,048x1,536 pixels.
This is not the first report that Apple's iPad is getting a so-called "Retina Display." That's a panel that has a pixel density that's high enough that the human eye can't make out pixels on things like text and rounded corners. Last month, DigiTimes noted that Apple was pulling together components for the iPad 3, complete with a higher pixel density display. A week later, Thisismynext suggested Apple was working on an "HD" model that would sit alongside the existing iPad models as a machine for photo and video professionals.
So far, the only real dose of evidence that's been put forth has been framework code snippets from within the depths of Apple's latest iOS software pointing to double resolution being used in iOS 5's Twitter features.
Apple first introduced Retina Displays with the iPhone 4, later bringing them to the latest-generation iPod Touch. Ahead of the iPad 2, Apple was also rumored to be bringing such a panel to the device, a last-minute rumor that was later refuted ahead of the gadget's official unveiling.
What about the display technology though? Is it ready? In May, Samsung subsidiary Nouvoyance took the wraps off a 10.1-inch WXVGA display sporting a slightly larger 2,560x1,600 resolution. The company said it would be ready for production later this year. The Korea Times says the displays from Samsung and LG are still in the quality testing phase, which is wrapping up "in the third quarter."
Apple, is of course, currently in the middle of a sea of litigation with Samsung. Apple struck first with a lawsuit in April, alleging that Samsung was "copying" gadgets like the iPhone and iPad in making its own smartphones and tablets. Samsung then countersued Apple, not only in the U.S., but in a handful of other countries. The two have also filed complaints against one another with the U.S. International Trade Commission, and asked to see unreleased and unannounced versions of products from one another as part of the court proceedings.
As for LG, Apple reportedly shifted iPad 2 screen production to Samsung for a time after the discovery of light leaks, which were present on a number of iPad 2 units. That report, also from DigiTimes, claimed that LG actually pulled back production to get quality levels in line, later ramping it back up to continue making panels.
Apple is expected to announce how many iPads it sold in its fiscal third quarter when it releases earnings tomorrow. Forbes put together a collection of analyst estimates last week, with the average hovering at 7.93 million units sold by the company during that time.