updated 03:10 pm EST, Thu March 8, 2012
Sharp, Samsung, LG seen as suppliers
Apple is operating relatively loosely with how it defines the term "Retina Display" for the new iPad, argues NPD DisplaySearch. The research firm notes, for example, that the iPad's 264ppi pixel density is substantially less than the 326ppi on the iPhone 4. "But since 'retina display' is a marketing term with no specific definition, Apple is able to use it how it wants," NPD writes.
The group also suggests that while Apple refers to the display as using an IPS panel, some suppliers may be using FFS (fringe field switching) instead. "So, perhaps 'retina display' really means 'high performance display,'" it argues. As for the identity of suppliers, research is said to point to Sharp, Samsung, and LG Display. Sharp has allegedly been experimenting with IGZO panels, but may not have satisfied yield or quality expectations from itself or Apple. At least Samsung and LG are believed to be using a-Si TFT technology, and it's speculated that Sharp may have switched to it too while it works on IGZO problems. In any case, 264ppi may be the upper limit of a-Si TFT.
NPD's research further indicates that that the new iPad has "at least" twice as many LEDs as the iPad 2, which has 36. This likely implies higher power consumption, and may explain the tablet's larger, heavier shell if it has a bigger battery. It may also be necessary though because of the doubled pixel density, demanding a stronger backlight.