On iPad 2 display resolution

The Apple rumor sites have been predicting the iPad will include a retina display, which would double the iPad’s screen resolution on both horizontal and vertical axis, to 2048 x 1536 pixels. John Gruber of Daring Fireball fame doesn’t think it’ll happen.

The rumor ties in with Apple equipping iPad with PowerVR’s SGX543 dual core graphics chipt (for 4x speedup in graphics processing), and Apple telling they’ve made a $3.9 billion strategic investment in component supply they’re refusing to detail.

I have two takes on this:

  1. Technically, the increase in resolution sounds extremely challenging, but possible. Apple could do it, but it’d be an amazing feat if they could pull this of without significantly increasing the device cost, or profitability.
  2. Increasing the resolution would gain Apple a level of product differentiation that’d be impossible to match for a long, long time. Most notably, all viable tablet competition will likely be Android based, which has a huge disadvantage in that Android doesn’t use GPU acceleration for it’s windowing. Hence it’s practically impossible for Android to drive such a high resolution screen, without significant compromises in battery life and overall system responsiveness.

Listening to Jobs and Cook talk about today’s Apple, they could probably surpass the challenges, and would consider the unmatchable resolution a strategic advantage, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they did actually pull this off.

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