The Go-to Manufacturer of the New iPad’s Insane Display

by Justin Fritz
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Submitted by Wall St. Daily as part of our contributors program

On Tuesday, I encouraged anyone in the market for a new iPad to go with the iPad 2, instead of Apple’s (Nasdaq: AAPL) latest creation.

And while several reviewers online agree, many others believe that the new iPad is worth the $100 premium over the previous model.

Regardless of which camp you fall into, one thing is certain: The new iPad’s retina display steals the show. With a resolution of 2048 X 1536, Apple designed the 9.7-inch screen to pack more pixels than a full HDTV.

And although Apple has upgraded the screen resolution in each successive iPad, you can bet that the 2013 model – and the one after that – will be even better.

This obsession with upgrading resolution is good news for one Apple supplier in particular…

Last Year’s Supply Crunch Sets the Stage

Back in May 2011, Samsung (SEO:005930) and LG (NYSE: LPL) showed off ultra-high resolution displays at SID Display Week 2011 in Los Angeles.

And since the pixel density of the panels was on par with the retina display in the iPhone 4, these new screens all but confirmed that the advanced technology would finally make it to the third iPad model.

Now, although I’m sure that Samsung’s ongoing legal scuffles with Apple make things a bit awkward, I originally had Samsung pegged to be the exclusive supplier when the time came.

You see, not only did Samsung have the shoe-in display, but during the initial iPad 2 rollout, LG had to cut back its first-quarter supply due to a hardware defect. So the company came out with 800,000 fewer units than Samsung, which likely played a big role in the iPad 2’s supply crunch at the time.

Looks like Apple’s pretty forgiving, though, as Samsung and LG are both manufacturing the new iPad’s screen. Sharp made the cut, too.

The problem is that developing a screen with this mega-sharp clarity is complex, and its pixel density requirements led to some novel engineering techniques.

As Apple says on its website…

“When you squeeze four times the pixels [than the iPad 2] into the same space, signals can get crossed, colors become distorted and images get fuzzy. To solve this we had to elevate the pixels onto a different plane and separate them from the signals.”

The result is that manufacturers are finding it hard to actually live up to the task.

Deja Vu for LG

Quoted in CNET, NPD DisplaySearch analyst, Richard Shim, says the new iPad screen is…

“… the first of its kind. And you have three manufacturers that are pretty good at making displays and they’re having difficulty supplying it.”

As a result, (surprise) only Samsung has delivered so far.

iSuppli Senior Manager, Vinita Jakhanwal, says:

“The display specifications on the new iPad are very demanding… Achieving this high resolution without compromising on the power consumption and brightness and maintaining Apple’s quality standards are supposedly proving to be a challenge for LG Display and Sharp.”

Not good, considering that demand for the new iPad is out of control. It’s sold out online and shipments are already delayed up to three weeks. Meaning we can expect the lines outside Apple locations tomorrow morning (when the device hits stores) to be longer than ever.

And with Samsung as the manufacturer keeping up, Apple could face another supply crunch. Strike two, LG.

Sure, LG and Sharp are reportedly on track now. And all three suppliers are bound to cash in on the new tablet’s popularity in the short term.

But now that Samsung has shown its supply chain superiority twice in a row – and its ability to meet Apple’s strict demands for quality – it might be the only supplier reliable enough to see any benefits in the long run.

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