Hidden graphical assets in iOS 8.1 beta 2 hint at 'Retina HD' iPads

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Continuing his analysis of Apple's most recent iOS 8.1 beta 2, developer Hamza Sood on Wednesday discovered frameworks containing graphical assets labeled "3x~ipad," suggesting the company is preparing to update its tablet lineup with high-resolution "Retina HD" displays.

As seen in the screenshot Sood posted to Twitter, graphics relating to the Clock app in iOS 8.1 beta 2 are offered in "3x~ipad," "2x~ipad" and "ipad" designations. According to Sood, the presence of the "3x" PNG files hints at super high-resolution iPad displays.

When Apple introduced the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at a special event in September, the company revealed new pixel-dense screens dubbed "Retina HD." Specifically, the new panels come in at 1,334-by-750 pixels at 326ppi for the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and 1,920-by-1080 pixels at 401ppi for the 5.5-inch Plus.

It is possible that a rumored next-generation iPad Air model could also move to the upgraded display technology, though potential pixel densities are at this point unknown. For reference, the current iPad Air packs in a 9.7-inch Retina display with a resolution of 2048-by-1536 pixels at 264ppi, while the smaller iPad mini with Retina display carries the same resolution, but squeezes the pixels into a 7.9-inch display good for 326ppi.

Earlier today, Apple sent out invitations for a media event set to take place on Oct. 16. The company is widely expected to announce a next-generation iPad Air that features a slimmed-down chassis, Touch ID fingerprint recognition, faster A8 processor and minor design tweaks. Pictures of a supposed "dummy unit" also hit the Web on Wednesday, offering what could be a first look at the upcoming iPad.