Will the iPad get the Retina Display?

Retina Display thumb

The iPhone 4 is looking to be a nice evolution in the smartphone line from Apple. The most impressive new feature on the new iPhone is the Retina Display, which pushes display technology quite a bit. The new display technology packs four times as many pixels into the same physical area on the display, resulting in a display that makes everything crystal clear. It is a big advance in the smartphone space, and one has to wonder if Apple will bring the Retina Display to the iPad?

The pixel density is so high (326 pixels/inch) that the resolution is pushed to the maximum. The human eye can’t really see this resolution according to Steve Jobs in his iPhone 4 keynote, and while this may be overkill it certainly is as crisp as can be. This is significant on the small (3.5 inch) screen of the iPhone 4. With a limited amount of space to work with, making everything pop out is good, especially for longer viewing sessions.

I can only imagine what such a wonderful screen might be like on the iPad. The 9.7 inch screen would simply dazzle with the Retina Display technology onboard. Reading web pages and especially e-books would be outstanding with the crisp text that Apple claims is better than printed text. Sounds like a perfect fit for an e-book reader, doesn’t it?

I suspect there are two factors that will determine if the iPad gets a Retina Display — cost and manufacturing issues. This display must be more expensive than the standard type of display, due to the higher resolution. This also may lead to difficulties in manufacturing. High resolution screens are not easy to make, with a higher failure rate than less resolute displays in the manufacturing process. This potential failure rate may be manageable for a 3.5 inch screen, but I can imagine it would be significantly higher for a large 9.7 inch screen.

Related content on GigaOM Pro (sub. req’d): Hot Topic: Apple’s iPad

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