High-res Sharp panel spotted, is it for iPad 3?

iPad 3 parts are supposedly cropping up all over China. Following yesterday’s spy shots of a purported iPad 3 enclosure (here and here), Japanese blog Macotakara today published the above photo allegedly depicting a high-resolution panel manufactured by Sharp. According to the blog, the part was obtained by parts reseller Eye Lab Factory, which means take this with a few pinches of salt. It looks like 9.7-inch panel, and Macotakara said its flat cable corresponds to a similar cable connecting the iPad 2′s LCD panel to the motherboard.

The display is said to be a XQGA variety equaling 2,048-by-1,536-pixel resolution. Macotakara claimed last month that Foxconn and Pegatron Technology began assembly of next-generation iPads for an early March launch (and iLounge concurs). Unnamed sources also told Macotakara that Sharp would supply 2048-by-1536 resolution panels for iPad 3, which is a notion in line with earlier reports by DigiTimes and the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, another source revealed new iPad 3 replacement parts….

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Purported iPad 3 shells floating around China, here’s a very high-resolution image of the inside, and photos of the outside

Full-sized, below.

Since a purported iPad 3 back-shell image leaked earlier today, we have dug into the story to uncover where it originally came from and some of the intricate details behind the part. For one, there are not only a few of these back-shells floated to repair shops, but there are sizable amounts of these parts built-in China. This gives credence to reports about the iPad 3 is in production, and it likely means things are moving full steam ahead of the rumored-March launch.

Next, the original image comes from a Chinese supplier who provides parts to iPad repair shops across the globe.

Perhaps the best news of the night is that we have a very high-resolution version of the image. Click the image below to view the full super high-res version. The iPad 3 rumors include the device to have a Retina Display, faster processor, improved graphics, and better cameras. As hinted by these back-shells and earlier rumors, the iPad 3 will likely sport a design that closely mirrors the iPad 2 design.

Update: Our friends at Apple.pro also obtained photos of the iPad 3 back shell, and they have a photo of the outer back portion. It appears that the camera lens is larger than the iPad 2 camera lens, and they confirmed the iPad 3 would feature magnets to support the Smart Cover. You can catch that photo after the break as well.

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Supposed iPad 3 case compared to iPad 2, suggests bigger battery and different screen and camera

(Updated with higher res image. Click to enlarge)

Repair Labs (via MacRumors) said it got ahold of an iPad 3 case that has numerous differences from an iPad 2—listed below:

A. You can see here that the mounts for the logic board are very different, which means the logic board shape will be different allowing for . . . .

B. More battery. The width of where the logic board sits on the iPad 2 appears much larger than that of the iPad 3. We have long heard that the iPad 3 was going to provide longer battery life, and this back housing seems to support that. [Ed: Actually, this could be to compensate for the additional power draw of the screen and possibly a faster processor]

C. The camera is different. It is hard to make a judgment just by looking at the casing, but what we can expect is a different camera on the iPad 3 than what we had on the 2.

D. LCD will be different than what we have had before. Whether or not it will be the super screen we have seen reported will have to wait. But the different mounting does mean that the LCD has been redesigned at the very least.

The report said the iPad 3 case was not noticeably thicker than the iPad 2, countering previous rumors that the new iPad would be thicker.

It is hard to vouch for the authenticity of the case above, but the changes mentioned do seem to mesh with what’s floated around.

 

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Rumor: iPad 3 launching in March, ‘strange’ Apple event due February (UPDATED)

Japanese blog Macotakara has a satisfying accuracy score in the Apple rumor business, and it was widely quoted earlier this month on a claim that Apple’s contract manufacturers Foxconn Electronics and Pegatron Technology issued orders to begin assembly of next-generation iPads for an early-March launch. Today, Macotakara reported that Apple would announce the iPad 3 in a media event due in March— ahead of the launch.

Previously, the blog claimed that a special Apple event to announce a new iPad was due in February and that the device was meant to go on sale the following month. Weirdly enough, Macotakara also said it heard from sources from Apple’s supply chain that the company will indeed hold an event this month, which was described as “strange.”

According to MacRumors’ Arnold Kim who contacted the author of the Macotakara report, “The February event would not be a product event.”

UPDATE: The Loop’s Jim Dalrymple disputed the story, saying Apple will not hold an event in February (he’s been right on these things before):

This is not going to happen, according to my sources. Apple will not hold an event in February, unusual or otherwise. That’s it.

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Debug tool shows quad-core A6 and LTE capabilities on iPad 3

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Following reports earlier this month from Bloomberg that iPad 3 production kicked off in anticipation of a March launch, BGR today claimed a source is in possession of an iPad 3 prototype that has provided more information on the device.

A source claiming to be in possession of an iPad 3 prototype provided BGR with images containing details about Apple’s highly anticipated third-generation tablet. From the data in the photos, which contain the output from an iPad 3 using a development and debug tool called iBoot, we can infer plenty of information about the upcoming iPad 3.

BGR claimed the debug reports from the iPad 3 prototype in question have model numbers J1 and J2 (iPad3,1 and iPad3,2), with one being the only Wi-Fi model and the other an LTE/CDMA/GSM combo “for all carriers.” This echoes 9to5Mac‘s findings from last year.

The reports also provided confirmation of an A6 processor (model number S5L8945X) that most have expected Apple to include in the device.  We first broke news of a Quad-core chip in the iPad 3 via code snippets in iOS 5.1B software.

According to the BGR report, the processor will be a quad-core variant, “making the upcoming iPad 3 the fastest iOS device ever.”

We’ve seen previous mentions of the Samsung S5L8945X in iOS 5 dumps from the iPhone 4S:

So, while nothing in the report is new, the means by which these were found, reportedly from a prototype iPad 3, seem to confirm previous findings.
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Bloomberg: iPad 3 production starts for March launch, packs Retina Display, LTE, quad-core chip

Bloomberg reported that the iPad 3 entered production and is tracking a March launch. The report also claimed the new iPad will feature a higher-resolution display, Retina probably, and a quad-core processor. It will also connect to LTE networks.

The company’s manufacturing partners in Asia started ramping up production of the iPad 3 this month and plan to reach full volumes by February, said one of the people, who asked not to be named because the details aren’t public. The tablet will use a quad-core chip, an enhancement that lets users jump more quickly between applications, two of the people said.

 The iPad 3 was previously reported to sport a similar design to the iPad 2. We also previously discovered references to quad-core iOS devices in the latest iOS betas.

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Rumor: LG and Samsung to supply iPad 3 displays as Sharp fails to meet Apple’s approval process

Following reports this morning from Macotakara that claimed Sharp would be supplying display panels for a next-generation iPad, a conflicting report from Korean publication Electronic Times Internet News (via PatentlyApple) claimed Sharp “failed to pass Apple’s approval process for mass production.” The report also claimed Samsung and LG already kicked production for iPad 3 panels into full capacity as of the beginning of this year:

It has been confirmed that Samsung Electronics and LG Display will supply LCD panels for Apple’s iPad 3, which is scheduled to be unveiled as early as in Q1 this year. Sharp was originally known to be developing display panels, but reportedly failed in initial supply.

According to the report, Apple is planning on placing orders for 65 million LCD panels for iPad 3 during 2012. It also claimed Samsung and LG would be supplying 5 million displays in the first quarter to meet demand for the device’s launch. Although there is obviously no way to verify this, and the publication does not exactly have a track record for breaking Apple news, the report does mention the same XQGA (2048×1536) display as Macotakara’s. The report cited only an “industry source.”
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Pegatron and Foxconn reportedly begin assembly of iPad 3 with Sharp display, launching in early-March

According to the Japanese blog Macotakara (which can be accurate with Apple rumor reporting), Apple’s contract manufacturers Foxconn Electronics (also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry) and Pegatron Technology have issued orders to begin assembly of next-generation iPads for an early-March launch.

The report is based on unnamed Chinese sources, and it noted the iPad 3 will look virtually identical to iPad 2 while featuring the same hardware button configuration, shape of the dock connector and  position of the two cameras. Even the Smart Cover will work with iPad 3; although, tipsters mentioned magnets will be placed in a “different position.”  Some form fitting cases may not work, however, as the device is slightly thicker, probably to accommodate added parts.

Such a description validates yesterday’s iLounge story based on editor Jeremy Horwitz’s alleged hands-on experience with an iPad 3 prototype that he said is focused on internal changes rather than chassis redesign. Macotakara also noted that Sharp would provide panels for the device that sport a 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution. This is in line with earlier reports by DigiTimes and the Wall Street Journal.

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iLounge editor claims to have held the next iPad, reports changes are mostly internal


The above image is used for illustrative purpose and does not represent iPad 3 case mockup.

iLounge editor Jeremy Horwitz, who at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show scooped an iPad 2-mockup case that eventually proved legit, is back with another exclusive. According to his article, yesterday he was shown what purports to be a next-generation iPad at the CES 2012 show in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Even though he did not snap a photograph of it (the above image represents just a pair of iPad 2s), he published some interesting observations that largely support what iLounge heard in November. For starters, iPad 3 might in fact be a bit thicker than the current-generation tablet to make room for new parts:

The new iPad’s body is so slightly thicker than the iPad 2 that the change is unnoticeable on first inspection; a roughly 1mm increase will barely be perceptible to users. We’ve heard that the only accessories that might have issues are cases, and then, only cases that were precisely contoured to fit the iPad 2’s back. [...] Switch, button, speaker, and other elements located on the side edges are all the same, as are the headphone and Dock Connector ports. In other words, last year’s accessories should generally work properly with the new model, which is great.

The editor got the impression that what he saw “seemed to be more than half a year old” rather than just manufactured. It is conceivable Horwitz was holding in his hands a pre-production prototype. Looking at the back, Horwitz noticed visual changes that suggest an enhanced camera system…

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Report: Apple to launch ‘full HD’ iPad 3 in March, followed by iPad 4 in October

A new report today claimed Apple is gearing up to release a next-generation “iPad 3″ with a “full HD display” in March, followed by an “iPad 4″ in October. The report came from Asian supply chain watcher DigiTimes who cited Taiwanese industry sources again.  Digitimes’ record has been more than a little shaky, especially of late, so approach with caution…

According to the report, iPad 3 will sport a QXGA display (1,536 x 2,048 pixel) and improved battery life, but otherwise hardware specifications will remain largely unchanged. The launch of iPad 3 in March will apparently see the current generation iPad 2 receive a price cut to $399:

The iPad 3 will come with a QXGA (1,536×2,048 pixels) display and longer battery life although its other hardware specifications may not be so amazing as expected, said the sources. But Apple will take the advantage of the iPad 3 launch to slash the price of its iPad 2 to US$399, the sources claimed.

DigiTimes claimed that Apple will drop another 9.7-inch iPad dubbed “iPad 4″ by October. The device is expected to have “killer applications,” all-around upgraded hardware specifications, and “integrated applications so as to compete with an array of Android-, Wintel- or WoA (Windows on ARM)-based tablet PCs.” Previously the publication claimed Apple had a 7.85-inch iPad in the works for a late 2012 launch, which their sources later claimed would no longer be happening… Read more

iPad 3 home buttons begin floating around China, feature more design tweaks

The above image is a comparison of an iPad 2 home button and an iPad 3 home button. At the surface, not much as changed, but the prospects of some minor structural tweaks do hint at something greater. The iPad 3 home button, which has been handled in both black and white flavors, looks almost identical to the iPad 2 home button. However, the gray glyph representing the frame of a home screen application icon is slightly thicker. This, obviously, is not all the interesting…but we do learn a few things:

- The iPad 3 will likely come in both black and white-just like the iPad 2-if these iPad 3 home buttons pan out to be the ones used in the final.

- The buttons floating around right now-in large quantities-signal that the iPad 3 is either in production or close to the production stage

- The iPad 3 will not lose the home button (iOS devices have been rumored to soon be losing the home button).

Perhaps the most interesting part about the iPad 3 home button is that its internal structuring is smaller than the iPad 2′s connector (easy to tell in the comparison image above). Apple tweaking the home button structural design and making its size smaller may indicate that Apple is trying to make room for something else. The iPad 3 is already rumored to be nearly 1 mm thicker to accommodate a more pixel-dense Retina Display. Perhaps this slightly smaller home button is one method Apple is using to keep the extra thickness required to a minimum.

Power and volume rockers with a similar design to their iPad 2 counterparts are also floating around, perhaps hinting a minimal design changes. Stay tuned for more.

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Report claims Asian suppliers scramble to meet special iPad 3 launch date: Jobs’ Feb. 24 birthday anniversary

Apply a healthy dose of skepticism to this report rather than take it at face value. According to Focus Taiwan, that also cited a local report in the Chinese Economic Times newspaper, Apple is shooting to launch iPad 3 on Steve Jobs’ birthday anniversary Feb. 24.

The newspaper based their report on sources close to Taiwanese makers in Apple’s supply chain:

After the iPhone 4S successfully took the tech market by storm, the iPad3 is widely expected to be Apple’s first hit product to be released next year. Industry sources said the first shipment of the iPad3 could exceed 4 million units. Because it is a new gadget, it is taking time for makers in the supply chain to raise their yield rates. The sources said all OEM and ODM makers have exercised great caution in ensuring the smooth operations of their production lines.

The original iPad was introduced Jan. 27, 2010 by Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs. In order to meet the deadline, the report noted, Asian component makers and contract manufacturers are demanding that employees work during the Lunar New Year holiday. This February 24 “launch” date should be referring to an availbility versus an introduction date as Feb. 24 is a Friday and Apple typically releases their major products like iPhones and iPads on Fridays.

Specifically…

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