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Apple delays 'retina display' iPad 3 to 2012

Screens still too costly

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Don't expect an iPad 3 with a "retina display" this year: Apple's screen supplier(s) - LG and Samsung - can't make enough 9.7in, 2048 x 1536 panels to ship the tablet before 2012, it has been claimed.

Making such a screen is no small technological achievement, and there's a price to be paid for being at the leading edge: low production yields and sky high prices.

Anyway, they're too out of line for Apple's bean counters, according to moles from within Taiwan's component industry who have told DigiTimes that Apple has cancelled production orders for the tablet itself.

The throats say Apple had previously specified production volumes of 1.5-2m units in Q3 - or, rather, the quarter's final month, when the product was expected to ship - rising to 5-6m units in Q4.

Not any longer, say the moles.

Incidentally, the alleged iPad 3 numbers are rather smaller than iPad sales in Q4 2010. Apple sold 7.3m iPads back then and will undoubtedly sell a whole lot more in Q4 2011. If only five-odd million of them were to be iPad 3s, Apple must be have been planning on selling the iPad 2 alongside it.

Indeed, DigiTimes source(s) say it has ordered 28-30m iPad 2s for H2 2011.

If the moles' mutterings are true, we won't now see the iPad 3 until 2012, presumably as a year-on successor to the iPad 2, though we can't rule out the latter living on as a cheaper alternative to the new, premium tablet. ®

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