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Smaller iPad 3 (bigger iPod Touch?) to get Retina display, says analyst

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The second-generation iPad hasn’t yet been announced. But already, rumored details of an “iPad 3” have begun circulating. The speculation continues today, with Apple Insider reporting that the iPad 3 will be smaller than the current 9.7-inch iPad — and could even be considered a “larger iPod touch.” The new device, says  a “connected industry expert,” will also sport a high-resolution “Retina” display, similar to the screen of the iPhone 4.

Apple Insider’s informant is none other than Concord Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who correctly predicted last May that the iPhone 4 would sport the 960×640 resolution Retina display and come loaded with twice the RAM of the iPad.

According to Kuo’s most recent prediction, the iPad 3 will have a screen with double the resolution — 2048×1536 — of the current iPad.

It was originally rumored that the iPad 2 would get the Retina display upgrade. But subsequent reports indicated that the yet-to-be-confirmed second-generation device will come with a display that is thinner than the original iPad, but which has the same 1024×768 resolution.

This, Kuo told Apple Insider last month, is “because of limited manufacturing yield rates,” which make it impossible for screen producers to meet Apple’s demands in time for the iPad 2’s release.

All that said, the iPad 3 might not actually be an “iPad” at all. Instead, rumors indicate that the device may be placed into the iPod line.

Whatever it’s called, the device’s arrival appears imminent. Kuo has confirmed that a device, sized between the current iPad and the 3.5-inch iPhone and running Apple’s iOS operating system, is in the works, with a release date in the second half of 2011. Czech site SuperApple reported Friday that a similar-sounding device, with a screen around six inches, is on its way.

As always, stay posted, because these types of rumors — even from accurate sources like Kuo — are subject to change at any moment. In the mean time, check out everything we know about the iPad 2, so far.