DisplayMate CEO says Apple settled for Plan B with new iPad

CNET is out with a new report this week, which highlights some interesting comments made by DisplayMate‘s CEO Raymond Soneira. The company is in the video diagnostics business, calibrating and testing displays for manufacturers.

Anyways, according to Soneira, the iPad that Apple unveiled earlier this year was actually Apple’s “Plan B” for the product. It seems that the company’s “Plan A,” a slimmer, lighter tablet, required technology that just wasn’t ready in time…

CNET reports:

“The plan was to use this new technology called IGZO from Sharp — a lot higher electron mobility that allows them to make the transistors a lot smaller and the circuit elements a lot smaller,” he [Soneira] said. In short, smaller transistors and circuit elements allow more light through and reduce the number of backlights needed, resulting in a thinner display assembly.

There was one problem, though. Sharp didn’t have its IGZO display tech ready in time. So, Apple had to fall back on more conventional amorphous silicon technology.

“There’s no question that the iPad 3 is Plan B. They pushed amorphous silicon to a higher [pixels per inch] than anybody else. but the light throughput is not good. So it has roughly twice as many LEDs, and they had to get a a 70 percent larger battery,” Soneira said, referring to today’s third-generation iPad.

While Soneira’s comments seem a bit out of left field, they actually line up nicely with a couple of reports we heard leading up to Apple’s iPad event earlier this year.

For instance, the company was rumored to be looking to use IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) display panels in its latest tablet. And Sharp, at one point, was expected to be a major display supplier for Apple’s new iPad.

The bottom line here, if true, is that Apple originally meant for the third-generation iPad to be just as slim and light as its predecessor. But it was forced to make a design compromise based on the available technology.