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Is this the iPad 3's Retina Display?

A purported photo of the iPad 3's display has cropped up, with a microscopic inspection showing it to have more pixels than the current model.

The purported screen of an iPad 3 unit, nabbed by MacRumors.
The purported screen of an iPad 3 unit, nabbed by MacRumors. MacRumors

Pictures of purported parts of upcoming iPads, iPhones, iPods, and iAnythings are the norm, but perhaps not quite as interesting as this latest one.

MacRumors today posts what it says is the screen that will be in the next iPad. That display is not attached to an actual iPad 3 unit, but instead sits atop a table with a ruler on top to show its scale, which the outlet says is the same 9.7 inches as the one on the iPad 1 and 2.

The big difference of course, is actually a small one--the pixels. Putting the display under a microscope, the pixels are more densely-packed, resulting in a 2048x1536 resolution, twice that on the previous two iPads.

MacRumors notes that the display is not actually attached to a device, barring any testing from being done to confirm the resolution. The 2048x1536 number, it says, was estimated from measuring the number of pixels by what fit in the space of one 4x4 square.

This is not the first latest "leaked" photo of a display for the iPad 3. One that was posted earlier this month by third-party parts company iLab Factory showed a definitively less exciting back-side circuit board and metal backing.

Speculation about Apple doubling the number of pixels in each direction of the screen has been long-running, with rumors of such a feature swirling even ahead of Apple's second-generation iPad model. Since then, manufacturers have been racing to build the same kind of pixel density found in Apple's late model iPhones and iPod Touches, but in larger panels.

Apple is expected to introduce the iPad 3 in the first week of March, around the same time the company took the wraps off the iPad 2 last year. Multiple reports have pegged that as the date, with other features hinted to include a quad-core processor and 4G LTE networking. For more, see CNET's iPad 3 rumor roundup.