Is Apple Planning an HD Version of the iPad 2?
According to the latest Apple rumors flying around the Internet, a new iPhone and iPad are due up this fall in some shape or form. I won’t care to speculate on the iPhone 5 rumors because I’ve given up guessing Apple’s phone strategy after the Verizon iPhone 4. But a new iPad, in my opinion, has greater industry implications. Will Apple release iPad 2 HD? And if it did, would you want one?
Even though I thought it was off the mark at the time, The Wall Street Journal nailed the story in October 2010. With that in mind, when I read its report that a fall 2011 refresh of iDevices is imminent, I decided to trust the story. But what exactly can we expect? What more could Apple possibly shove into an iPad?
Tech blog This Is My Next… is reporting that the next iPad isn’t going to be the iPad 3. According to its sources, it will be a complimentary device, sporting the moniker iPad 2 HD. Allegedly, the iPad 2 HD will sport a much higher-resolution screen — exactly double the existing iPad screen, in fact. That 2048 x 1536 would be equivalent to the iPhone 4 retina display, except in 10-inch form. A glorious screen it would be. But why wouldn’t Apple wait until next year to refresh the iPad? The theory is the iPad HD will be a ‘pro’ version of the iPad, and Apple plans to release ‘pro’ applications alongside the iPad 2 HD. Could you imagine a 128GB iPad 2 HD running Aperture or Final Cut? It’s an interesting theory, and whether This Is My Next…’s sources are right or wrong, it would seem Apple has plans to do something just like that in the near future, especially when you look at Garage Band for the iPad.
For the channel (and for me personally), I think a double-resolution screen on the iPad would be incredible for a few reasons, but mainly I’m thinking about video collaboration and virtual desktops. Right now, running a virtual desktop on an iPad at a 1024×768 screen pretty much feels like 1999. Bump me up to 1280×800 and it’ll feel like I’m in this century.
Ah, but there’s a snag, you see. Even the most powerful mobile CPUs right now hit their limit at doing 1080p HD video output, which is a 1920×1080 resolution. Powering a 10-inch screen with an above HD screen would be a tough task, not to mention Apple would suffer the ire from developers who would have to tweak a whole bucket of iPad apps to adjust to the new massive retina display. I’m not saying it’s impossible, and I won’t put anything past Apple, especially with its cash and component supplies, but it just seems a bit out there. The hottest mobile CPU right now, yet to be released, is Nvidia’s Kal-El quad-core mobile CPU.
For readers who held out on the iPad and iPad 2 because they wanted an Android tablet — how many of you held out because you wanted a better screen resolution? I imagine it’s only a small number. If the iPad 2 HD is really just about the screen, I’m not sure how big of a market there is for this specific device. But that doesn’t mean I won’t want one.
My prediction? We’ll get an announcement about the iPhone 5 and iPad 2 HD in the fall, but we won’t see them until January 2012.