Apple again rumored to switch to IGZO displays for 'iPad 3'

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Industry sources claim Apple will move away from in-plane switching display technology in favor of IGZO flat panels for its mobile products, starting with its third-generation iPad early next year.

Taiwan's DigiTimes reported on Friday that Sharp will provide the new IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) panels "in order to upgrade the display resolution of the new tablets to full HD level."

Sources also said that Sharp had switched some of its large-size panel capacity over to production of smaller smartphone and tablet panels. The tipsters alleged that the majority of Taiwan-based flat panel makers are able to produce IGZO panels, though yield rates are still an issue for many of them.

However, it should be noted the publication has a hit-and-miss track record as of late. The site further lost credibility this week when it claimed that the next-generation iPad would be unveiled at the Macworld|iWorld 2012 conference in January. The Loop's Jim Dalrymple quickly dismissed the rumor as being "completely false."

Still, Friday's report may serve to corroborate other recent claims that Apple will make the switch to the new technology. In November, Jeffries analyst Peter Misek first claimed that Apple would partner with Sharp on the new IGZO displays. The technology could offer resolution of up to 330 dots-per-inch without requiring dual-bar LED backlighting.

"In our view, this should lead to several design advantages, namely the device can be thinner, battery life should be longer, and the overall experience for users should be meaningfully improved," he told investors.

On the heels of Misek's report, The Wall Street Journal claimed Apple had invested a substantial amount in Sharp's manufacturing facilities for LCD panels bound for the next-generation iPad and iPhone.

Numerous reports have claimed Apple will release a high-resolution third-generation iPad with pixel density approaching that of the Retina Display found in the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. The device is also expected to feature Apple's next-generation processor, presumably called the A6. Predictions vary as to when exactly the next iPad will arrive, but the general consensus is that Apple will release the device in early 2012.