After vanquishing the first round of rumorsthat the iPad 3 would launch with a Retina-quality 2560×1600 300 PPI display, the next wave of rumors from unnamed sources and people-familiar-with-the-matter has has started to roll in — and this time it involves the iPad 3 and a high-res Samsung Galaxy Tab and some scheduled release dates.
The iPad 3 is coming in February, according to a Citi analyst, and it will have a 2,048×1,536 264 PPI screen — twice the resolution (but four times the pixels) of the iPad 2. More significantly, a trusted source has told BGR that Samsung is also readying a tablet for February; a monstrous 11.6-inch 2560×1600 tablet, probably featuring a cousin of the Samsung PenTile display that we covered back in May. The same source also said that the Galaxy Tab 11.6 would not “feel that much bigger,” and feature a 2GHz SoC — probably Samsung’s recently-announced Cortex-A15 Exynos 5250.
As to the feasibility of these rumors… Well, let’s try our best to understand the technical limitations first. To push that many pixels, the iPad 3 would probably need a new GPU, and thus a new SoC — but the A6 isn’t likely to arrive until mid-2012. Likewise, the Exynos that will power the Galaxy Tab 11.6 isn’t scheduled to arrive until mid-to-late 2012. So far, not so good.
Then we have the displays: LG and Samsung, who provide displays for the iPad 3, have stated that 2048×1536 is the highest res that they cancurrently squeeze into 10.1 inches, and even then the yields are low. It’s possible that Samsung has found a way to increase yields at the larger 11.6-inch size, but the timeline — with just two or three months to the rumored launch — seems impossibly tight. Finally, Sharp might have some secret sauce up its sleeve, but again we probably would’ve heard about it by now.
At this point, then, it seems very unlikely that we’ll see Retina- or approaching-Retina-quality tablets before the middle of next year. If Apple does launch a tablet in February, it is far more likely that we’ll see some kind of iPad 2S, much in the same way that Apple put off launching the iPhone 5. Samsung, however, with its crazy efforts to actually win some of the tablet market share, is obviously a much wilder cannon than Apple. Preempting the boys in Cupertino with a monster fondleslab could be exactly what the Koreans have in mind.