iPad 2 display to get double resolution

Recently discovered user interface graphics included with the next build of Apple's iBooks App have led to a flurry of rumours surrounding the impending iPad 2's screen resolution.

Version 1.1 of Apple's ebook reader offering iBooks reportedly contains some unusually large image files firing rumours that the next generation of the Cupertino company's game-changing iPad, which is confidently predicted to be heading for a February launch in some corners of the Internet, will feature a screen resolution of 2048x1536.

That figure represents a doubling of the device's current screen real estate but doesn't quite hit the quadrupling of on-screen pixels required to match the iPhone 4's impressive Retina Display.

Although some might find that shortfall disappointing, there is some method in Apple's apparent meanness. The iPhone's Retina display was developed to comfortably surpass the human eye's ability to detect individual pixels at a typical viewing distance, in this case at around 11 or 12 inches.

As most iPad user will typically hold the device further from the eyes, perhaps 15 or even 18 inches depending in no little part on the length of your arms, there's no need to bump the resolution to quite such a high pixels-per-inch density to achieve the same perceived clarity.

In effect, quadrupling the iPad's current resolution would be practically redundant as only the most shorted sighted of users would be able to hold the device close enough to take full advantage.

Not wishing to pour cold water on the speculation, however, there is also a distinct possibility that all of this rumour-mongering is just wishful thinking.

With Apple developers increasingly coding Apps for multiple devices, including the range of grown-up Macs, since the announcement of the Mac App Store, the possibility that the graphics in question are destined for an OSX release of iBooks have not been taken into consideration.

Some of the graphics elements which have set the rumour mill into action have been created with iPad intentions, with file names including the string 'ipadx2', where as other simple have the 'x2' part added.

As is always the case with Apple and its legendary secrecy, even the slightest hint at a change in specification prompted by a piece of code buried deep in an unfinished App will set tongues wagging.

Juicy Apple rumours create more column inches than any official announcement ever could but the simple truth of the matter is that, until Steve Jobs tells us exactly how it is, everything else is just guesswork.

It's becoming increasingly apparent, in part because US retail giant Best Buy 'accidentally' posted dummy SKUs for three previously unknown iPad models recently, that the iPad 2 is indeed imminent, but until Steve takes to the stage we'll all just have to wait and see.

We will, of course, be getting caught up in the increasingly frantic waves of rumours... but they're just so hard to resist.