Supply chain reports released on Friday indicate that Apple (s aapl) will opt for indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) instead of in-plane switching (IPS) display panels for its upcoming iPad 3. The change would provide benefits in terms of energy consumption, cost reduction and improved resolution.
The report, which comes via DigiTimes, suggests that Apple will source the IGZO panels from Sharp and that they will allow Cupertino to release an iPad 3 that has “full HD” displays without added bulk, something some reports have suggested wasn’t possible with IPS LCD technology.
DigiTimes doesn’t specify the resolution of the displays, and its reputation is somewhat tarnished by claims on Thursday that new iPads could be unveiled at Macworld/iWorld in January. But IGZO displays actually make a lot of sense for Apple, and this isn’t the first time we have heard the company might use them.
Back in November, MacRumors noted that Jefferies analyst Peter Misek claimed that Apple would use the IGZO panels in the iPad 3 in order to achieve 330 ppi resolution (which would exceed the 326 ppi of the iPhone 4 and make for a true Retina Display) while avoiding the use of IPS and dual-bar LED lighting. That would allow the iPad 3 to be as thin or thinner than its predecessor and also offset battery costs related to improved screen resolution, Misek said.
DigiTimes may be hit-and-miss with its supply chain rumblings, but this report makes a lot of sense in terms of Apple’s likely goals with next-generation iPad technology. As long as the IGZO technology looks good, battery cost reductions and a decreased physical footprint definitely seem like things Apple would want to pursue. A thicker iPad 3 with worse battery life than the iPad 2 definitely doesn’t seem like an ideal successor to Apple’s tablet legacy, in any case.