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iPad 3 screen production ramping up strongly, report says

Apple is said to be gearing up on big orders for panels to put on its next-generation iPad, while scaling back on the ones it uses on its current model.


Production on the high-resolution displays that will adorn Apple's next-generation tablet is ramping up in the months ahead of the device's official unveiling, according to a new report.

Taiwanese news site DigiTimes claims that Sharp and LG Display are set to churn out 6 million to 7 million 9.7-inch QXGA panels in the next two and a half months, bumping that number up to 10 million produced during the second quarter.

Meanwhile, Apple is said to be scaling back on the volume of iPad 2 displays it's ordering to 7 million to 8 million panels in the first quarter of this year, down sharply from the 10 million it reportedly had on order in the last quarter of 2011.

All told, that means that more high-resolution displays will be in production in the second quarter than ones for the previous model, but Apple's not going cold turkey--suggesting that the iPad 2 may still be around for a while.

DigiTimes has repeatedly offered the suggestion that Apple will continue to offer the iPad 2 alongside the newer model, expanding its lineup to three models. The first- and second-generation iPads have differed from each other only in color, capacity, and cellular connectivity, while retaining core features across the line.

Of note, this latest report from DigiTimes contrasts with one that appeared last week on Korean industry site Electronic Times Internet News. That report claimed that Sharp was out of the running, with LG and Samsung set to produce the QXGA panels for the next iPad, which will feature 2,048 by 1,536 pixels in the same 9.7-inch screen. There's also no mention of Samsung, a company that Apple has sourced for multiple components in its products but has also targeted in a sweeping legal battle in courts around the world.

A third-generation iPad model is expected to arrive in March, bringing the aforementioned higher-resolution display and more powerful components. A high-profile report from Bloomberg last week suggested that Apple was also planning to make it the first of its devices to feature a 4G LTE mobile chipset, allowing users to hop on to high-speed cellular networks.