Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad built its reputation and shook up the computer industry in general through its thin and lightweight design with its multi-touch screen. With each subsequent model, the tablet computer further added to its hefty reputation, and now that rumors Apple is preparing the latest iPad release have begun circulating, analysts are predicting the device to be thinner and lighter than ever.
AppleInsider reported Thursday that Apple will likely employ a modified LED backlight apparatus to make its next generation 9.7-inch tablet as thin and as light as possible. NPD DisplaySearch told CNET that the iPad 5 would shed grams and millimeters thanks to the redesigned LED backlight apparatus, and that update will make the display much more efficient. NPD analyst Paul Semenza said that other modifications will help Apple’s iPad shed thickness as well. “The other significant change that we feel is likely is a shift to a film-based touch sensor,” he said.
However, it is still a mystery whether Apple will change the display technology. “It is not yet clear if there will be a big change to the display — such as using IGZO [indium gallium zinc oxide],” Semenza added. Rumors that the company would switch to that LCD technology have persisted since 2011; IGZO, developed by Sharp (SHCAY.PK), was expected to be used in the third generation Retina iPad, but it wasn’t. In fact, rather than decreasing in size, the third- and fourth-generation iPads were thicker than the previous iterations primarily because of the new Retina technology.
The last update to the rumor mill that Semeza had for CNET was the launch timeline. He said that a third-quarter debut is most likely for the upcoming iPad. But the predictions for the device’s release have varied widely, ranging from an October launch date to estimates that the new iPad will be unveiled this month.
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