updated 10:10 pm EDT, Mon August 15, 2011
iPad 3 rumor conveniently pushes plans to 2012
A rumor late Monday conveniently pushed back the iPad 3 out of a questionable 2011 release window. Apple was supposedly due to ship the tablet in limited numbers in 2011 but has cancelled all orders until 2012. Tips to Digitimes claimed that it was due to poor production yields of the 2048x1536 display, which makes it too expensive at Sharp and just isn't enough to meet goals at LG and Samsung.
The challenges of the iPad 3 display itself are reportedly unique. The four times denser pixel count reduces the amount of light transmitted from the display and requires a much larger backlight than what the iPad 2 offers. With Apple requiring its usual thinness and IPS display quality, Apple can't move faster on the screen, according to the rumors' sources.
While many have expected the 2048x1536 display, the supposed delay into 2012 is ultimately much more consistent with Apple's practices of having one update to an iOS device per year and an early spring iPad release schedule. Under the most recent rumor, Apple would have shipped no more than two million iPad 3s in the summer and six million in the summer, peaking at eight million for the whole year. This makes no sense given that Apple shipped 9.25 million iPad 2s just in the spring and is expected to demand much more in the second half of the year, which would relegate the third-generation model to a subset of production at best.
Many countering rumors have ruled out a 2011 iPad 3, not the least of which is talk that Apple is just starting test production on chips and would have no way of making a 2011 release.
The claim may have some grain of truth relating to iPad 2 production. Apple is believed to be shipping 28 million to 30 million of the current tablets for the second half of the year, figures that would be consistent with the usual holiday season spikes and the extra production used to tide demand while Apple switches production over to a new model at the start of the year.