The Real Reason Why This Year's iPad Is Bigger and Fatter

Illustration for article titled The Real Reason Why This Year's iPad Is Bigger and Fatter

This year's iPad has a very pretty retina display, but it came at a cost: a massive battery that in turn makes for a thicker tablet. Apparently, though, the original plan was to use a newer display technology that would have made the screen thinner and the battery lighter. So what happened?


Well, time. According to Raymond Soneira, CEO of DisplayMate Technologies, Sharp's IGZO display tech was what Apple really wanted to use for the 2012 iPad. The IGZO display tech uses smaller transistors and allows more light to pass through the display. That in turn allows the screens to have fewer LEDs, and fewer LEDs to power would mean a battery that isn't huge and thick and heavy.

Sadly, the IGZO panels weren't ready in time for Apple's iPad launch, so Apple went with the older, heavier option. That's probably why the first round of iPad displays were all made by Samsung, and Sharp came in soon thereafter. If all this is true—and it all seems fairly plausible—then we can probably look forward to a thinner, lighter iPad 4/2013/NEW THIS IS THE NEW iPAD next year. [CNET via 9to5mac]


I think the SoC was plan B as well. If you look at it, it has off-package RAM that takes more power, it uses a flip chip implementation that's also more inefficient, and we now know that some iPad 2's are being moved to 32nm instead of the 45nm process the new one uses. I think there wasn't enough production capability on 32nm for the newer design (true A6) to work so they saved it for later.