A couple image assets included in the latest version of iBooks seem to have the same naming convention as iPhone apps have when they must accommodate both old and new iPhone displays. In other words, the images imply that the iPad 2 will undergo a similar transformation: remaining the same size while
doubling quadrupling the resolution of its screen. (I always make that mistake)
If this true, you can sign me right up. Although the iPad’s IPS screen is bright and has a great viewing angle range, I’ve always found its resolution distracting. I thought I left 1024×768 behind back in the late 90s. And the new generation of tablets promises quite a significant jump: 1280×800 would show 720p content very well, and the new form factors are 16:9 or thereabouts.
The asset in question, resaved to JPEG for bandthrift:
The only trouble is that this resolution jump is perhaps even more difficult to make than the iPhone 4′s. Making high-density panels like that isn’t easy, or cheap, and if you combine these rare new displays with the expected improvements in form factor, you might be looking at a significant premium. I’d guess the new iPad would debut at $100 more than the old one, while the old one will remain available and sell for $100 less. That’s just my take.
Interestingly, these assets were previously noticed by MacStories in August, but I don’t remember much of a hullaballoo about it at the time. Maybe I just missed it, but at any rate these images shipping inside the newest iBooks suggest it wasn’t just a test version that accidentally leaked back then.
As for whether it’s a “retina” display, which is what people seem to be debating in the comments at the blogs, let’s all remember that “retina display” is Apple marketing, and the term has little technical relevance. I’m perfectly satisfied sticking to objective measures like pixel density, response time, and brightness.