iPad 3’s hi-res Retina display a ‘quantum leap in pixel density,’ challenges Apple’s iPad display makers

“The 10-inch-class screen on Apple’s upcoming iPad 3 will be one of its most remarkable features. But getting to the higher resolutions is a big step, according to a source who spoke to CNET,” Brooke Crothers reports for CNET. “Apple is aiming high, as usual. The goal is to have a Retina Display-like resolution on the iPad 3, according to the source who is in contact with Asia-based suppliers who, in turn, are familiar with Apple’s plans.”

Apple’s iPhone 4S Retina display offers “a 960×640, 3.5-inch display that packs in 326 pixels per inch (PPI). At about 12 inches from the eye, this is the most amount of detail the human retina can see, according to Apple,” Crothers reports. That’s dense. In fact, so dense that you won’t see that level of density on an iPad 3 with a Retina Display–if it’s in fact called that. Nor is it even necessary because typically the iPad’s screen isn’t held that close to the face.”

Crothers reports, “The closest that iPad display manufacturers like LG Display and Samsung can get is 2048×1536 resolution display, according to the source. That’s a PPI of 264, twice the 132 PPI on the iPad 2. But whether manufacturers can make them in volumes that Apple demands is the question… ‘It’s not a question of making just one. That, of course, can be done. The challenge is making lots of them,’ the source said. ‘This is a quantum leap in pixel density. This hasn’t been done before.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: They’ll figure it out. And, as with the iPhone 4/4S Retina displays today, no wannabes will be able to match the display quality of iPad 3.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Edward Weber” for the heads up.]


  1. Pardon my ignorance on this. If the pixels are denser, does that mean the virtual viewing area is increased? In other words does it ultimately result in more information fitting in the viewing area of the screen?

    1. Yes and No. There is no question that you can pack more text on the screen, but the text becomes very small and maybe unreadable depending on the age of your eyes. Apple on the iPhone 4 when they went to a retina display increased the number of pixels to 960×640 from 480×320, but the layout for programmers remained 480×320. The result was sharper graphics and text, but at the same physical size.

  2. Crothers says they (LG and Samsung) have only been able to make a (purported) iPad3 display at 264ppi with the implication that no-one can yet make a 326ppi display. This seems at best misleading. After all 326ppi displays are already being made for the iPhone 4, 4S and Touch. So clearly it is not the resolution that is a problem and this ‘quantum leap in pixel density’ has already been done well over a year ago.

    What might be a problem is getting larger 326ppi displays since the likelyhood of manufacturing defects on larger displays will of course be higher.

    Note: Some readers maybe unware that display makers do not make directly 3.5″ displays they make much larger sections of glass which are cut down to size. So a section of glass that would be a failed 10″ screen could still make several good 3.5″ screens.

    So I would say that technically an iPad3 display at 324ppi could be made, whether LG and Samsung are yet able to get enough fault free displays of 324ppi at 10″ is a different matter.

    As it happens, I don’t believe Apple would want a 324ppi resolution on the iPad3 as this would be 2.5 times the resolution of the iPad2 and thus a more difficult resolution to multiply to. A resolution of 2048×1536 (double the iPad2) which is consistent with the multiple introduced on the iPhone4 only needs a ppi of 264 which is what the article says they can do anyway so there is no problem after all.

  3. If the iPad 3 doesn’t have higher resolution than the iPad 2, I’ll be *very* disappointed. It’s in fact the reason I didn’t buy the “2”, which has the same 1024×768 sub-HD resolution as my older plasma. If Apple is selling 720p videos, I expect the iPad to have at least that level of resolution.

    1. You can’t judge display quality by resolution alone. I’m sure Apple will up the resolution for the iPad 3, because it now sells 1080p movies and the iPhone 4S records in 1080p. However, it may not be at the level Apple wants for a variety of reasons, the most likely determining factors are production capabilities and the resulting costs of producing those screens. If the cost increases substantially, then don’t expect a Retina-like display.

  4. I sure hope all this stink about display manufacturers not being able to produce dense-pixel displays isn’t just being made up by some ambitious bloggers. If it’s a matter of initial low yields, that’s probably a normal thing. It takes time to sort out early production problems. The speed that these displays can be built could also be a factor. Apple could run into a problem of not being able to produce enough panels in a given period of time. Production will be starting in November, so there’s still time to fine-tune the process.

    I wonder who is giving out this sort of information to the media and why should anyone be concerning themselves about internal production. The iPad 2 is selling well and if Apple decides to move that product cycle back a month, so what. Average consumers shouldn’t be anticipating an exact time product upgrade.

  5. This is NOT going to happen for iPad 3. Why? Because these rumor mongers are just theorizing…

    > But whether manufacturers can make them in volumes that Apple demands is the question…

    If iPad 3 was going to use such a display, they would be producing and stockpiling the parts in iPad volume, right NOW. They would have already figured out how to produce them in iPad volume; it would not be a “challenge.” There would be leaks about (and blurry images of) the actual part, not speculation.

    And finally, such a part, which squeezes 85% of the pixels of a 27-inch iMac into a 10-inch screen, would be far too expensive (at this point) for use in an iPad.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.