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18Jan/110

iPad 2 rumored to have high-res screen, two cameras

The rumors (and for that matter, a probably-fake video) have been flying hot and heavy about the iPad 2 lately. Since a lot of people are reading on the iPad, and even more might read on the iPad 2, it seems to be worth taking at least some notice of them. TechCrunch’s Devin Coldewey has a pretty good round-up of rumors, with guesstimates on their likelihood of being true.

Coldewey goes through them one by one, looks at the arguments for and against each one, and finally writes:

The final tally seems to give an iPad with two cameras, a vastly improved screen and graphics processor, a thinner form factor at the same aspect ratio, better speakers, and possibly an SD card slot. My own guess would be that the original iPad will stick around at 9, and the new iPad (iPad Pro?) will start at 9.

Furthermore, an Engadget post showing photos of the iPad 2 case suggests that not only will it have an SD card slot, it might also have a mini-display port on top. It remains to be seen what kind of data access the iPad would have to an SD card, of course—viewing pictures just taken on a digital camera is obvious, but it could also potentially be useful for loading in e-books without having to go through the whole sync process.

The screen resolution everyone seems to be in love with is 2048×1536—double the height and width and four times the pixels of the current 1024×768 resolution, which seems unbelievably high for the form factor (not to mention costly). On the other hand, it would be just like what Apple did with the “retina display” on the 4th generation iPhone/iPod Touch screen. It would mean that, as with pre-4th-gen iPhone apps, 1st-gen iPad apps would easily scale up with pixel doubling.

This would also mean that 720P videos could be shown at their full native resolution, which the current iPad does not support. Indeed, with the sort of graphics capability needed to drive such a huge screen, it might well even play 1020P video well. Of course, even 1020P content would have to be windowed or else blown up to fill the screen.

More importantly, that projected 264 pixels per inch resolution could make e-books look amazing. Perhaps not quite as good inch-for-inch as the iPhone 4’s 326 pixels per inch, but still a lot better than a computer monitor and almost as good as a laser printer could do. Of course, it will also tend to drive the price up, unless Jobs is going to pull another one of those surprises he’s so famous for. (The original iPad was rumored to cost about twice what it finally ended up costing, after all.)

It’s going to be interesting to find out how true these rumors turn out to be.


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