Purported Next-Gen iPad Display Caught And Examined; 2048×1536 Resolution Confirmed

MacRumors has done something very bad – they went and got themselves an iPad 3 display module. Actually, it’s not so bad when you can apparently just order one online. Normally this part even being online and available ahead of launch would suggest it was a scam, but what matters isn’t the name of the part (could easily be a scam) but the part itself.

They took a microscope to it, see — and it appears to have exactly four times the pixels of an ordinary iPad screen. It’s really just the latest in a long line of “confirmations,” but it’s nice nevertheless to see the thing itself.

The display module is just that: the LCD component, divorced from any display driver, processor, or backlight (so rumors of an improved backlight are still unconfirmed, though very likely). But the pixels of an LCD are visible under light from the right angle, and under magnification it’s clear that for every pixel on the normal iPad display, there are four on this new one. You can see it quite clearly in the image above (on which, if MacRumors doesn’t mind, I bumped the contrast to make the pixels more clear).

The implications of high-res screens, on iPad and (as rumored) on the MacBook Pro, I discussed already in some detail. It’s clear that this will be a major selling point going forward, and I look forward to some of the slip-ups in the Mountain Lion developer preview that hint at how Apple will be adapting its OS to this resolution bonanza.

Some say, I want to add, that a better display alone is no reason to upgrade your iPad. In fact, we said that. But I disagree. I’ve written about the resolution improvement as an important component of a larger change in how digital content is created and consumed. Apple is pushing the hardware side of that and, to some extent, the software, though they are pairing both with restrictions that the content community will eventually reject. I’m already sold on the iPad 3, but for reasons that may not be relevant to other users. To each their own — but like when the original Retina screen came out, I suspect that when you see it, you’ll want it.