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Old Jan 29, 2013, 03:52 PM   #1
leukotriene
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Why I believe Apple may upgrade the 9.7" iPad to 326ppi (2530 x 1897px)

Why It Would Make Sense if Apple Increased the 9.7" iPad to 326 ppi

If Apple were to raise the resolution of the 9.7" iPad to 2530 x 1897, this would yield a 326ppi display.

I know you're probably asking why Apple would do this. I believe it would independently solve three problems (I will address the developers-don't-like-extra-resolutions problem below):
  1. Simultaneous-view app multitasking, a common complaint about the iPad. The higher resolution would allow for an app to be run in a "skinny" mode simultaneously next to a second standard-sized iPad app. This would be similar (but probably implemented differently) to Windows 8 "snapping" where an app can be snapped to the side. For example, an iPad app developer would develop a "skinny" companion app (to accompany their normal-sized iPad app) which could be docked to the left of a "standard" sized iPad app. You could have a skinny-view Tweetbot running to the left of normal-view Safari, for example. Alternatively, the extra real estate could be used for a different multitasking system that Apple could uniquely design. I'm not 100% sold that Microsoft's "app snapping" UI is the absolute best form of multitasking, but I think most of us agree that the iPad would benefit from the ability to view two apps simultaneously when needed. iOS 7 would be a great opportunity enhance high-productivity computing.

  2. Product differentiation from the iPad mini. When the iPad mini becomes retina at 2048x1536, it will be the same resolution as the iPad 4, at an even higher pixel density. Let that sink in for a moment: the iPad mini will have a superior display in terms of pixel density, yet will be priced lower. This could create a perception problem for the full-sized iPad.

    However, raising the 9.7" iPad to 326ppi will eliminate the argument that the retina iPad mini has a better screen, and will also introduce a "pro" feature you can't get on the iPad mini: simultaneous-view app multitasking. Fast-forward to a year from now when both the full-sized iPad and the iPad mini come with retina screens. I imagine that very few customers would opt for the full-sized iPad if it provided no easily-recognizable benefits over the iPad mini.

    I don't share the view that Apple will eventually eliminate the 9.7" iPad in favor of the iPad mini. I believe the 9.7" iPad will instead be upgraded to function more as a computer replacement (by having several apps running simultaneously in view), justifying it's higher price, higher computing power, and larger size.

  3. Economies of scale and maintaining iPad gross margins. By raising the 9.7" iPad to 326ppi, the manufacturing costs would be lowered since the displays can be cut from the same sheet used for retina iPhones (and a future iPad mini). This enhances economies of scale thus lowering the cost of manufacturing. On the flip side, Apple undoubtedly foresees a future drop in the margins of their iPad business, as their product sales mix shifts to lower-priced and lower-margin iPad minis. This margin decline will only be exacerbated when the lower-priced yet higher-cost (and more desired) retina iPad mini is released. By offering an iPad "pro" at 326ppi, Apple could stanch the margin declines while retaining robust sales of a 9.7" iPad at the same time. It's a win-win from a revenue, profit, and margin point-of-view.

Apple's release of the 128GB iPad today is proof that Apple wants to make their 9.7" iPad more realistic as a PC replacement. It's probably also a strategy to raise the average margin per iPad sold. Remember that declining margins are one of the concerns the market has about AAPL (whether those concerns actually enough to drive AAPL down as much as it has is a can of worms I won't get into).

I know that Apple also must feel it is time for iOS to grow into an OS that can start to functionally replace Mac OS X. That begins with simultaneous app multitasking, which could allow for drag-and-drop between apps, quicker copy-pasting between apps, and being able to read a webpage while writing in Pages. I also believe that the iOS engineers' interest must be piqued by the app snapping feature and the "contracts" API in Windows 8, both of which are tremendously clever. Moreover, PC sales are declining, and even the demand for Macs are slowing down, so there needs to be an iPad that is capable of carrying the torch.

The best argument against Apple increasing the resolution to 326ppi is that it would add complexity for developers making iPad apps, since additional app resolutions would need to be developed. I understand this argument very well, but I do not believe this obstacle alone is enough to discourage Apple from pursuing the three benefits I listed above (a more capable iOS multitasking system, differentiation from iPad mini, and retaining average iPad margins). They've shown with iPhone 5 that 960 x 640 is not a sacred cow. If it's in Apple's best interest, then they will change an iOS device's resolution when they need to. I don't think it is safe to assume that the iOS's UI for the iPad is "done", considering the iPad is likely the future of Apple's computer business.

Last edited by leukotriene; Jan 29, 2013 at 04:02 PM.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:02 PM   #2
johnhw
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Unlikely. Totally new resolution, more pain in the arse for developers. Besides, this fragmentation will make the full size iPad worse than the mini. Having a 326ppi screen will always be more expensive than the lower ppi the iPad 3/4 has.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:05 PM   #3
Marjamrob1
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Originally Posted by johnhw View Post
Unlikely. Totally new resolution, more pain in the arse for developers. Besides, this fragmentation will make the full size iPad worse than the mini. Having a 326ppi screen will always be more expensive than the lower ppi the iPad 3/4 has.
I don't think worse necessarily, and not necessarily, only if Apple wants a little bit more profit... They still make great margins on their devices.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:06 PM   #4
leukotriene
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Originally Posted by johnhw View Post
Unlikely. Totally new resolution, more pain in the arse for developers. Besides, this fragmentation will make the full size iPad worse than the mini. Having a 326ppi screen will always be more expensive than the lower ppi the iPad 3/4 has.
I understand that argument, but I believe that under the right circumstances, Apple will introduce a new resolution if it is strategic to do so.

And you'd be surprised what economies of scale can achieve. It is true that all things equal, a 264 ppi screen is less expensive than a 326 ppi screen. But when you take into account the massive volumes Apple deals with, the cost of maintaining a separate display manufacturing process just for the iPad at 264ppi may actually result in higher opportunity costs. Apple's biggest concern right now is making enough iPads and iPhones to meet demand, and uniting the display manufacturing process under a single pixel density helps that.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:10 PM   #5
Marjamrob1
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Originally Posted by leukotriene View Post
I understand that argument, but I believe that under the right circumstances, Apple will introduce a new resolution if it is strategic to do so.
Well, I think that Apple would make all of our iDevices out of paper, if they thought it would be strategic.
The bigger question being when will it be strategic.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:12 PM   #6
jonnyb098
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This thread is just a big bowl of WRONG!
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:15 PM   #7
Marjamrob1
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Originally Posted by jonnyb098 View Post
This thread is just a big bowl of WRONG!
I prefer my WRONG on a plate, but whatever!
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:16 PM   #8
leukotriene
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Originally Posted by jonnyb098 View Post
This thread is just a big bowl of WRONG!
Because you don't think Apple will want to burden app developers with another iPad resolution? Honestly just curious.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by leukotriene View Post
Because you don't think Apple will want to burden app developers with another iPad resolution? Honestly just curious.
Well, yes. They just changed the resolution 10 months ago. It makes zero sense to just change it again. Plus your statement about iOS 7 is assuming Apple is going to just blow it up and essentially start from scratch. It will be gradual. The second point about the mini getting retina is not really that big of a deal because the full iPad will always have the edge on screen size, graphics power and processing power to keep the mini cost down. The third point is somewhat plausible but I won't begin to state I'm an expert in manufacturing. Otherwise the logic doesn't ad up at all based on the past, present, and Apple's philosophy on doing things. Plus the full size iPad will ALWAYS be better for content creation like typing and editing photos and video with amazing speed. The mini is more of a consumption device which is what the original iPad was good for. So essentially the mini is replacing the philosophy of the original. While the full size is slowly replacing laptops. It's a slow process but it seems that's where it's heading. And I mean slow by today's standards. Really this stuff is almost moving too fast. In the past we used to drool over a 100MHz bump in processor speeds.

Last edited by jonnyb098; Jan 29, 2013 at 04:33 PM.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leukotriene View Post
Because you don't think Apple will want to burden app developers with another iPad resolution? Honestly just curious.
I think you've presented a fairly well thought out argument that will likely make sense in the not-to-distant future (especially as 4k content begins to emerge and drives resolutions going forward), but you're not likely to get much credit until there are rumors indicating that Apple might be looking at this. Frankly, most folks around here are fairly unimaginative and convinced that "Apple will never do this (until Apple does this)!" no matter the argument.

The simple fact is that resolution increases are "when" not an "if". Good on you for putting some thought that makes sense behind where they might go next.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:32 PM   #11
Abazigal
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I like the way the OP thinks. At least to serve as a point of differentiation between the ipad and ipad mini.

Resolution is a bit weird though, but at least, I find his arguments cogent and sound enough.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:36 PM   #12
Marjamrob1
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Originally Posted by Abazigal View Post
I like the way the OP thinks. At least to serve as a point of differentiation between the ipad and ipad mini.

Resolution is a bit weird though, but at least, I find his arguments cogent and sound enough.
Secondly, the iPad 4 has enough pixels for most people.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 04:48 PM   #13
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Great post!

I've noticed recently that a load of companies are moving to Android now for their apps while only a year ago most apps were iOS exclusive.
I feel if Apple makes another screen resolution, that'll just make Android even more attractive to developers, since they won't have to make their apps with 3 different resolutions (and that's ignoring the 3 different resolutions they have to deal with for the iPhone)
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 05:06 PM   #14
Marjamrob1
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Great post!

I've noticed recently that a load of companies are moving to Android now for their apps while only a year ago most apps were iOS exclusive.
I feel if Apple makes another screen resolution, that'll just make Android even more attractive to developers, since they won't have to make their apps with 3 different resolutions (and that's ignoring the 3 different resolutions they have to deal with for the iPhone)
That is ridiculous... There are tons more different Android resolutions and devices then Apple ones.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 05:31 PM   #15
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That is ridiculous... There are tons more different Android resolutions and devices then Apple ones.
Yes however android does not insist that developers optimise their apps for each diiferent resolution screen on offer like apple does. They are content with mediocre looking apps on all screen sizes
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 05:42 PM   #16
kitzuki
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iPad mini is not getting retina anytime soon. Maybe in 2014-15. Not this year but I'm am shocked to see how many people think its soon. Why would apple release something better at a lower price? Look at the 13 inch MacBook for 3 years its going to have a Ati or nvidia card was what people were saying. Why would apple under cut themselves retina mini is not happening this year
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 05:47 PM   #17
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iPad mini is not getting retina anytime soon. Maybe in 2014-15. Not this year but I'm am shocked to see how many people think its soon. Why would apple release something better at a lower price? Look at the 13 inch MacBook for 3 years its going to have a Ati or nvidia card was what people were saying. Why would apple under cut themselves retina mini is not happening this year
If what you say is true, what updates would you expect to be incorporated in the next 1 - 2 revisions that would justify or warrant an upgraded mini?
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 06:33 PM   #18
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That is ridiculous... There are tons more different Android resolutions and devices then Apple ones.
Im pretty sure Android can scale the resolutions and app objects and whatnot.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 07:14 PM   #19
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The biggest problem with this is that it basically craps on the customer. A lot people don't own a mini because it's cheaper...they own a mini because they prefer the form factor, yet they get ALL the same apps and features of the big iPad. At least, I know that's why I have a mini.

Doing this would be like pulling the rug out from your customers: "Oh, you found the perfect form factor to run all your apps the same as your full size iPad?" "Too bad...NO MORE."

I see no reason for the bigger iPad to have any more features aside from its size. Why should the larger one be necessarily more powerful or capable?
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 07:23 PM   #20
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nope, never gonna happen.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:06 PM   #21
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No

1) I don't think we getting there quite yet. Even if we were, there are other ways to run side-by-side such as running apps at original iPad resolution.
2) The products are already differentiated by capacity (128GB on iPad), a larger screen, and physical characteristics like weight and size.
3) Economies of scale can have diminishing returns. Apple already orders so much I wonder what little more they could squeeze out. There are also risks, using the same sheets as retina iPhones could be bad. Retina iPhone demand exceeded screen supply as it is; imagine if iPads used the same sheets.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:08 PM   #22
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I see no reason for the bigger iPad to have any more features aside from its size. Why should the larger one be necessarily more powerful or capable?
It already is.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:30 PM   #23
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If what you say is true, what updates would you expect to be incorporated in the next 1 - 2 revisions that would justify or warrant an upgraded mini?
Processor? A5x A6 A6x ect
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:42 PM   #24
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Higher resolution someday most likely... But the idea that a higher resolution screen is necessary for any of your software suggestions is a little off. Unless you see value in reducing the size of onscreen elements, a slightly higher resolution than the retina would not be a factor in implementing those features.

Remember you don't actually gain real estate, just density. You can't just make everything smaller.
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Old Jan 29, 2013, 08:55 PM   #25
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Remember you don't actually gain real estate, just density. You can't just make everything smaller.
Look at the iPad mini: as Apple used the same resolution but a higher pixel density than the original iPad, density of information is the same relatively to the pixel metric and real estate the same: that's how the mini was sold.
See this new resolution iPad as an enlarged mini, with then more screen real estate (with software updated of course).



btw, to make nicer numbers, 9.8" at 2560x1920 could be fine.

Last edited by chleuasme; Jan 29, 2013 at 09:09 PM.
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