Pushing Pixels: Will The iPad 2’s Screen Be Insanely High-Res?

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Of the myriad iPad 2 rumors making their way across the internet so far, there’s one in particular that’s both fascinating and unbelievable. And I say “unbelievable” not in the sense that it’s impossible to believe, but more in the sense that if it’s true, it’ll be unbelievable in a “that’s amazing” kind of way.

Several reports are now circulating suggesting that the next version of the iPad may have a screen with a 2048×1536 resolution. The current iPad’s screen resolution is 1024×768, by comparison. So this new screen would be double the pixels tall by double the pixels wide, for an overall multiple of four.

Why is this unbelievable?

Well for starters, the resolution of the computer screen in front of you is probably something like 1280×800 or 1280×720. It might be 1366×768—maybe even 1440×900. If you’ve got a true 1080p LCD monitor, it’d be 1920×1080. All of the resolutions I just mentioned are less than the screen resolution of the next iPad, if the rumors end up being true.

I have a 22-inch monitor in front of me with a 1920×1080 resolution. I can’t imagine shrinking it down to 10 inches and pushing the resolution up to 2048×1536. I’ve never heard of a 10-inch screen with that high of a resolution and the monitors that sports 2048×1536 resolutions tend to be at least twice that size, and are often sold for medical imaging with price tags in excess of $5000—like this one right here. Apple itself sells an iMac with a 2560×1440-resolution screen but the panel size is a whopping 27 inches.

So Apple is going to somehow stuff medical-grade resolution into a 10-inch screen and sell it in a new iPad that should theoretically cost the same or less than current iPads? This, I’ve got to see. Literally. I want to look at it with my eyeballs because it’d be gorgeous.

Before considering such a screen impossible, consider this instead. Apple stuffed a 3.5-inch 960×640 screen into the iPhone 4. Nothing like that had been done with a commercially-available product at the time. Even next-generation Android phones with 4.3-inch screens—like the Droid X, for instance—have resolutions of 854×480 or lower. So it wouldn’t be the first time Apple worked some pixel magic with a display.

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