It’s being claimed that the iPad Air will slim down from the somewhat tubby iPad 4 through a revised backlighting system.
NPD DisplaySearch has informed CNet that Apple will use an all-new LED backlight apparatus that will make the device considerably thinner.
Analyst Paul Semenza revealed that “it’s likely that part of the thinner/lighter design will be reducing the size of the LED backlight, partly by making the display more efficient and partly by using more efficient LEDs.”
He’s also expecting “a shift to a film-based touch sensor,” which will shave yet more weight and thickness from the final iPad 5 unit.
It’s not yet known whether Apple will switch to a new display technology for this coming generation of tablets. It’s long been rumoured that Apple was looking into Sharp’s IGZO technology, going back before the launch of the iPad 3.
iPad 5 and IGZO
IGZO allows for extremely pixel-dense displays that are nonetheless relatively easy on battery life. This would obviously have a knock-on positive effect on unit size and weight.
However, NPD DisplaySearch is uncertain whether Apple will finally adopt the technology for the iPad 5.
So how thin and light will the iPad 5 be, exactly? Those expecting an iPad mini-style reduction in thickness and weight may be in for a disappointment – despite reports of a similar fascia design. It’s more likely to represent a return the size of the iPad 2, according to the report.
Both the iPad 3 and the iPad 4 added 6mm around the waist and around 50 grams in weight over the second generation Apple tablet, thanks to the introduction of Retina display technology. A return to that noticeably more svelte form factor would be welcome.