Remember back in August when a story from The Wall Street Journal (a reputable source if ever there was one - it's owned by Rupert Murdoch after all) suggested that orders were in from Apple for 2048 x 1536 panels for the iPad 3?
That report claimed that one manufacturer signed up "for about 1.5 million iPad 3s in the fourth quarter" - hinting at an early 2012 release. Well now, further weight has been added to that claim as Digitimes is reporting that Sharp and LG Display already began shipping the double resolution 9.7-inch panels at the end of 2011.
There was apparently 1 million shipped in Q4 2011 and there is set to be 6 - 7 million of the QXGA panels shipped in the first quarter of 2012, rising to 10 million in Q2 2012. In comparison, there were 10 million shipments of 1024 x 768 displays for the iPad 2 in Q4 2011 and there will be 7 - 8 million delivered in Q1 2012.
Shipped in this sense means to manufacturing plants, where the next-gen tablet is purportedly being put together.
Back in October Susquehanna Financial analyst Jeff Fidacaro also stated that the iPad 3 has gone into production. "Since our last month supply chain checks we are now seeing 600,000 to one million iPad 3 builds showing up on the plan for the fourth quarter of calendar 2011," Fidacaro told AllThingsD. "Our previous estimate did not include any iPad 3s."
The Digitimes report actually states "Apple has selected Sharp, LG Display and Sharp as the suppliers of 9.7-inch QXGA panels for use in a new version of the iPad", which is presumably a misprint, unless Sharp is double keen.
There are suggestions that the second Sharp should have, in fact, read "Samsung", however Sammy probably isn't a display partner given the recent spat between the two giants, even though we told you how, back in May, Samsung unveiled the first ever 10.1-inch, 2560 x 1600 resolution LCD, with a whopping 300dpi.
LG has been the dominant panel maker for Apple's mobile devices in the past and Sharp is also rumoured to be involved in Apple's next TV venture.
The Apple rumour mill is a mysterious place full of hope, wonder and, quite often, a healthy sprinkling of nonsense. We're hoping the super high-res display murmurs ring true though...