updated 10:26 am EDT, Thu May 17, 2012
2012 launch expected with 6 million units
Two companies, LG and AU Optronics, have been certified to supply LCD panels for Apple's rumored 7/7.85-inch iPad, says the Taiwanese publication Liberty Times. The firms are claimed to be aiming toward a product launch sometime in the second half of 2012, and an initial run of 6 million iPads. Liberty adds that TPK is expected to produce 4 million backlight modules, while Chimei Innolux will build 2 million; Nissha Printing will allegedly produce the touch film sensor.
On Tuesday DigiTimes suggested that Nitto would supply thin-film materials while Nissha and TPK would produce touchscreens. Thin-film touch could potentially make a 7-inch iPad both thinner and cheaper than is possible with the technology used on current iPads.
Despite Apple co-founder Steve Jobs' protests that a 7-inch tablet is too small, the company is now thought to be working on one in response to competition from 7-inch devices like the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet, both of which sell for $199 versus the 9.7-inch iPad's minimum $499. Still up in the air is what resolution a smaller iPad might use; while one report has had it using the same 2048x1536 as the third-gen iPad, others have called for 1024x768, as on the iPad 2. A smaller screen would, however, make 1024x768 appear somewhat sharper.