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iPad 3 retina display in production

The next iPad could feature a high-resolution display, and it's already in production. Read on for the skinny.

The iPad 3 will pack a high-resolution screen that's already in production, ready to hit the shelves in early 2012. That's according to an analyst from DisplaySearch, who also reckons Apple could be planning on making a 7.85-inch iPad for the future.

Richard Shim told CNET News that panel production for a 2,048x1,536-pixel resolution iPad screen is already underway, with Samsung, Sharp and LG all on board to manufacture the panels.

Apparently Apple needs to reach out to three different manufacturers because producing the 10-inch screens is a difficult process.

The next iPad's display will reportedly not use the AMOLED tech seen in lots of Samsung gadgets, but will be an IPS (in-plane switching) display, the same kind used in the iMac, iPhone 4S and the existing iPad.

Shim also reckons that a 7.85-inch iPad could be on the cards for later in 2012.

We've heard whispers of a retina display before, and recently reported on word that the iPad 3 could be slighty thicker than its predecessor, due to the higher resolution display.

An improved display was something we were really hoping to see from the iPad 2, but instead we had to settle for a tablet that was slightly slimmer and lighter, with two new cameras.

The iPad 2 hasn't struggled with competition in the same way the iPhone 4S has, with relatively few impressive Android tablets surfacing since Apple's second slate was unveiled.

We think it's high time the iPad got a resolution upgrade though, because if we don't see a bump in hardware, powerful tablets such as the upcoming Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime might just manage to nick some of Apple's thunder.

What would you like to see from the next iPad? Let us know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.