Found deep inside the iOS 5.0 SDK are graphics for an iPad capable of displaying a 2048 x 1536 resolution on its display. That amount of pixels also happens to be exactly double the resolution (four times the pixels) of the current iPad (1024 x 768), making said graphics compatible with a future iPad that features an Apple “Retina Display.” These graphics include a “2X” marker within the file name and have been found in Apple iPad file systems before.
Earlier this year, iPad 2X graphics were found in the iBooks application and were immediately assumed to be for the iPad 2, which does not include a Retina display – as exclusively confirmed by 9to5Mac months before the device’s announcement. Those very iPad 2X graphics found in the iBooks application were in fact created months before their public discovery and the graphics were soon dismissed as an Apple graphic designer thinking into the future.
Today, we have iPad 2X graphics found in the Twitter frameworks portion of the iOS 5 SDK. These graphics were quickly dismissed by some as another Apple graphic designer thinking ahead due to rumors, but we think the opposite. See, iOS 5.0 is the first SDK to even support the 3rd generation iPad, as previously revealed, so it would make sense that some iPad 3 strings would be present.
Second, iOS 5 will be the base operating system that the next-generation iPad will support, so it makes sense that we would find iPad 3 graphics in the iOS 5 SDK, not the iOS 4 SDK – in which iPad 2X graphics were previously found. Additionally, the Twitter framework is something only present in 5.0, so next-gen graphics for a planned iPad 3 being found in this portion of the SDK would be no surprise.
As previously mentioned, some are making the case that Apple designers are making iPad Retina graphics with no direction from Apple’s elite managers. Nearly two months prior to the white iPhone 4’s release, iTunes 10.2 housed graphics representing this phone. Some may say that is because the white iPhone 4 was supposed to launch months earlier alongside the black version, but these graphics happened to also display the yet to be revealed – at the time – redesigned proximity sensor.
Due the circumstances in which these new iPad 2X graphics were found, we feel that these icons are not just a coincidence or a designer thinking ahead, but rather a strong indication that the next iPad will feature a 2048 x 1536 Retina Display.
Update: The iOS 5 iPad Newsstand application shows 2X images as well. This same image was uncovered in January, but in iBooks:
iPad Air 2