First iPad 3 drama? Short supply of Retina Displays reported

A shortage of new iPads out of the gate wouldn't be unprecedented

Apple hasn't even announced the iPad 3 yet, but tablet watchers are already fretting that the company might not have enough of them to meet early demand due to a short of the high-resolution Retina Display screens expected on the devices.

A shortage of new iPads out of the gate wouldn't be unprecedented, as that has been the case with past releases, with expectant customers closely tracking shipment windows.

Apple has issued invitations for an event on March 7 that presumably will feature introduction of the iPad 3 (or whatever Apple calls its next tablet).

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As is often the case with iPad rumors, China's Digitimes (and its legion of sources within the Apple distribution chain) is the originator of this latest Apple scuttlebutt about a possible screen shortage despite the fact that Apple is using several suppliers. Digitimes writes: "Although Apple has chosen Sharp to replace Chimei Innolux (CMI) as one of its three suppliers for the high resolution (QXGA) panels - in addition to LG Display and Samsung Electronics, the whole supply chain has failed to substantially ramp up the supply of QXGA panels, the sources revealed."

The new iPad displays are expected to squeeze 2048 x 1536 pixels into a 9.7-inch space vs. 1024x 769 on current models. Digitimes says Apple might not have enough iPad 3s to meet demand until the second quarter.

Digitimes also says we should expect Apple to introduce 16GB and 32GB models of the iPad 3 (no mention of a 64GB edition), along with a cheaper 8GB iPad aimed at fending off a possible slew of new Windows 8 tablets. Rumors continue to circulate as well that Apple might roll out at some point this year an iPad with a smaller screen size, perhaps 7.85 inches.

It's been about a year since Apple showed off its market-leading iPad 2, and the new iteration, in addition to the Retina Display, is expected to boast a more powerful processor (maybe a quad-core A6), a better camera (8mp), bigger battery and possibly support for 4G LTE networks.

Designers, wishful thinkers and others have been filling time ahead of the announcement by floating their visions of what the tablet will or should look like as well.

Follow Bob on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alphadoggs

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