Magical and resolutionary

Apple's iPad 2 probably won't be announced until April, but the rumour mill is in full spin. Honestly, we sometimes think if people put as much effort into finding Amelia Erhart or a cure for AIDS as they do details about future Apple products, the world would be a much better place. Still, you have to admit, there's been some pretty impressive detective work going on.

So, what do we know? Well, it seems pretty certain the iPad 2 will pack an Apple A5 processor, the natural descendant of last year's A4; and that the chip will have a dual-core, well, core, packing about four times the overall graphical power as the A4.

Big deal, you might think: shinier Angry Birds. But a fourfold increase in power is significant because of what it makes possible: a four-fold increase in the number of pixels. Apple's iPhone 4's 'retina display' had twice the resolution - twice as many horizontal and vertical lines, or four times the pixels overall - as the iPhone 3G and 3Gs. Most people felt the 1024x768 resolution of last year's iPad looked a bit low once the iPhone 4 came along. So speculation is mounting that Apple are going to do the logical thing and give the iPad a retina display of its own - a resolution of a whopping 2048 x 1536 pixels. That's enough for the highest of high-definition video.

Not convinced? Well, there's more. A developer has found an image in the files for the new version of iBooks, the iPad's e-reader software, that supports the resolution-doubling theory - it's twice as large as the equivalent image in the old version.

Nothing's certain, but we're calling it: we reckon the iPad 2 will have double the iPad 1's resolution. This would be a masterstroke by Apple, instantly making the iPad 2 far sexier than any of the Android tablets coming out this year, the best of which are set to pack screens of a mere 1280x800.

Want to imagine what it'll be like? Grab a friend's iPhone 4 and hold it up to your eye - you can barely see the pixels, right? The iPad 2 won't be quite as good as that, but very nearly. We're talking razor-sharp text and brilliantly crisp images and video. And all just a couple of months away... we're starting to salivate.

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