While the media is awash with rumors regarding the next iPhone, Apple is silently working in the background to piece together its next version of iPad 2, the iPad 3.
DigiTimes reported that Apple has initiated the process of certifying key components which will wind their way into iPad 3. Many Taiwan-based component makers are in the fray.
Radiant Opto-Electricals has already landed a deal with Apple to manufacture LED backlight units.
A rumor that Apple will use AMOLED screens for its upcoming iPad 3 was trashed by industry sources who confided that the industry capacity to meet AMOLED screens demand is not in place. Even if Apple opts for AMOLED screens, the industry supply chain lacks the ability to meet the demand.
Industry sources told DigiTimes that there has been an increase in the demand for small-to-medium sized AMOLED screens which is causing a shortage and thus, production will not be able to catch with the iPad 3 release schedule.
Component makers anticipate that iPad 3 will be launched in 2012 which seems a possibility since reports of a delay in iPhone 5 launch have started filtering with new suggestions of release in July or August.
DigiTimes also reported that Samsung Mobile Display (SMD) announced that it start production of AMOLED panels two months before the schedule. Samsung currently fits its Samsung Galaxy II smartphones with AMOLED screens.
Also since a major chunk of the current AMOLED capacity is supplied by Samsung, Apple will not depend completely on a single supplier. Samsung and Apple are also embroiled in a lawsuit in which Apple sued Samsung for replicating its iPod, iPhone and iPad designs. However Samsung counter-sued and demanded that Apple should show its iPhone and iPad models under development to better defend against Apple's allegations.
Apple iPad 2 was launched in March and since then the slimmer, lighter and faster version of the iconic iPad has significantly altered the tablet landscape. The iPad 2 was touted to be a mere evolution rather than a revolution. It was considered to be a mere speed bump. The iPad 2 launch proved these prophecies true. It was launched with a faster A5 dual-core chip and two cameras. The major change was in the external form as Apple made the iPad 2 thinner by 33 percent and lighter by 15 percent. It weighs 1.3 pounds and is 0.34 inches thin.
Apart from these changes, it maintained its earlier form like the screen resolution, internal storage, iOS 4 and display size. However, the changes Apple made were enough to catapult it to the top position in the tablet domain beating the wannabe's like Motorola Xoom, HP TouchPad, RIM PlayBook and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
The launch of an iPad 3 is, in fact, considered to be more of a revolution. It would certainly bring a new cloud-integrated tablet in picture. Apple is slated to launch its cloud offering iCloud and iOS 5 at the WWDC on June 6. iCloud is surmised to be an active music locker service which will make streaming content a possibility. CNET earlier reported that Apple has been pursuing movie deals which could bode well for iPad 3 as it would enable users to stream movies to the tablet.
Also it is rumored that the iPad 3 could bring in NFC capability, a tablet with higher storage capacity, Thunderbolt I/O, a higher mega-pixel rear-facing camera and that it could possibly use fiber-in-matrix type material like carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) in the upcoming iPad 3, instead of aluminum.