The iPad is not exactly bereft of pixels; at 2048 by 1536 pixels, with 264 pixels per inch, it’s possessed of a clear, sharp, beautiful screen that makes anything on it look good. But Apple, according to rumor, may not be satisfied with that.
4K For All
How dissatisfied? Try “testing 4K screens for next year” dissatisfied. According to rumors from Apple Insider, Apple is testing a 2K and a 4K iPad to see how the screens work and what upgrades are feasible within a fairly short timeframe. In fact, there are claims that Foxconn has already prototyped the device and that Apple is considering launching it.
Something we give less credence to, however, is the idea that these dense, pixel-rich screens will be coming in a 13-inch iPad. That seems unlikely, for a fairly simple reason: Bigger tablets aren’t really selling.
The sweet spot for tablets seems to be about seven inches. When Apple introduced the iPad Mini, it became explosively popular, so much so that retailers had trouble keeping it in stock and the refreshed version has barely been available due to high screen production problems and even higher demand. It’s true that a bigger iPad may have specialist uses and there are always people who want to have something provided it’s bigger than the old one, but it seems unlikely Apple will go against the grain on this one. Similarly, the idea that this will pop up in April is a bit much.
That said, it does seem likely that Apple will be continuing the pixel arms race as tablets get higher and higher resolution in smaller and smaller spaces. So while you might not see an iPad bigger than a foot next year, one thing you can count on is that your iPad will have a lot more pixels crammed into the screen.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.