The much anticipated iPad 2 hasn't even hit Apple (AAPL) Stores, while a new rumor about an iPad 3 arriving in time for the holidays began swirling around the blogosphere recently. Two iPads in the same year? What's going on? Does this rumor carry much weight?
"This is a serious problem," says tech analyst Rob Enderle. "If people believe the rumor, they will not buy on the [iPad 2] refresh, and Apple's stock price will tumble dramatically. This rumor could be an attempt to pump the stock and needs to be taken with a grain of salt."
The rumor was started by John Gruber of Daring Fireball last week when he predicted Apple will release a third-generation iPad just six months or so after the iPad 2 release. The backdrop behind the rumor is that Apple really needs to build a better iPad display (High Def) in order to maintain its lead in the suddenly red-hot tablet market.
For technical reasons, the odds of that happening for the iPad 2 aren't too good. Apple needs to double the resolution on its current display for apps to work well, not just make an incremental improvement. The problem remains that there isn't enough manufacturing capacity to make millions of these supped-up displays, at least not by this spring.
"Right now, the iPad's pixel density is terrible, only 129 pixels per inch," Kyle Wiens of iFixit, a Web site that provides free repair manuals and advice forums, told CIO.com. "I can see Apple doing some deals [with manufacturers] in the last six months, spending billions of dollars to get those factories online, and producing those displays 18 months from now."
Wiens had figured an iPad 3 would come out next year boasting the higher resolution screen. If Apple can get the manufacturers in line and deliver an iPad with the high resolution in the fall of this year, that would make a lot of sense, too, he says. "I really like Gruber's idea," Wiens says. "I can see an iPad 2 coming out, and then an iPad 2 HD later this year."
The rumor of an iPad 2 HD (or iPad 3) gained more momentum over the weekend after the Korea Economic Daily cited sources saying that Apple is expected to purchase components used for its handheld devices from Samsung Electronics worth about $7.8 billion this year. Samsung will supply Apple with liquid crystal displays, mobile application processors and NAND flash memory chips used in iPhones and iPads, according to sources.