iPad 2 Screen Expected to Feature Twice the Resolution

With the iPad 2 just weeks away, new rumors are coming out of the woodworks.  The latest set of rumors focus on the second generation iPad’s new graphics processor and all new high-resolution display.

Mac Rumors reports that the latest iOS 4.3 beta includes references to a new OpenCL-Capable GPU which is expected to make its debut in the iPad 2 later this month.  Imagination Technologies supplies the GPU for the current iPad and iPhone and the UK based company is expected to be the supplier of choice for the iPad 2.  The current iOS 4.3 beta makes reference to drivers for Imagination Technologies SGX543 GPU which belongs to the company’s next generation of high end graphics chips for mobile devices. The improved GPU will provide better graphics performance for high-end gaming and 3D applications.

One reason for the more advanced GPU is the need to drive the iPad 2’s higher resolution screen.  According to reports, the new iPad will feature a screen with a resolution of 2048×1536, twice the resolution of the current iPad. Rafeed Chaudhury did some digging and found a new version of the iBook wood tile graphic labeled Wood Tile@2x.png.  The 2X designation seems to point to a doubling of the current resolution.  The iBook app uses a wood tile graphic for the bookshelf which measured 768×400 pixels, the newly found version of the same file now measures 1536×800 pixels.  This doubling in the size of graphics in iBooks would seem to indicate that Apple intends to significantly increase the iPad’s display this next time around.

While 2048×1536 pixels is certainly a significant increase, it still falls short of the resolution found on the iPhone 4’s Retina Display.  The iPhone 4’s Retina Display features nearly 25% more pixels per inch compared to the improved iPad 2 screen resolution.

If Apple does double the iPad’s screen resolution, it will mean developers will need to rework their current applications to take advantage of the new higher resolution.  This change in resolution is something developers have gone through before. When the iPad was first introduced, it featured a resolution twice that of the iPhone 3GS.  Developers quickly retooled their apps and for those that didn’t, Apple offered a resolution doubling 2X feature.  We expect Apple will follow a similar process this time around and provide a pixel doubling feature so apps can play back in full screen mode on the new iPad 2.

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