With the new iPad’s “resolutionary” 2048-by-1536-pixel Retina display, which is arguably the flagship feature of the device, it might be somewhat surprising to hear that Apple originally planned on using lighter, thinner display tech. This is according to display expert and President of DisplayMate Technologies Raymond Soneira who told CNET, “There’s no question that the iPad 3 is Plan B.”

He claimed Apple would have used Sharp’s IGZO tech for a thinner display assembly, but instead was forced to go with older, amorphous silicon that required a larger battery. The move could have accounted for some of the increased weight to 1.46 pounds and depth of .037 inch. Soneira explained:

“The plan was to use this new technology called IGZO from Sharp — a lot higher electron mobility that allows them to make the transistors a lot smaller and the circuit elements a lot smaller… There’s no question that the iPad 3 is Plan B. They pushed amorphous silicon to a higher [pixels per inch] than anybody else. But the light throughput is not good. So it has roughly twice as many LEDs, and they had to get a 70 percent larger battery.”

DisplaySearch’s Richard Shim continued: “The idea was that IGZO would enable a brighter display and you could use less LEDs and you wouldn’t need as big a battery compared to amorphous silicon.”

It is unclear whether Soneira’s comments are just pure speculation or backed with solid sources, but we know Sharp was rumored several times to be suppliers of high-resolution displays for new iPad leading up to its launch. Teardowns later revealed Samsung as the sole supplier of initial third-generation iPad shipments as analysts’ claimed Sharp could not meet “Apple’s quality standards.”

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