Apple has apparently started testing display panels made by Samsung and LG for its next generation iPad 3 according to The Korea Times. The article claims that both companies are close to signing a deal with Apple.  The screens are thought to have a huge resolution increase over the current iPad 2 display which is 1024 x 768. The new panels are believed to be “Retina” displays at a resolution of 2048 x 1536; with the same 4:3 aspect ratio.

Apple’s upcoming iPad 3 will feature an improved display to support quad extended graphics (QXGA), a display resolution of 2048×1536 pixels with a 4:3 aspect ratio to provide full high definition (HD) viewing experience,’’ said a source close to the talks.

The display panels are said to be going through various tests at laboratories in China and should be complete in the third quarter of this year.

Now when you put this rumor alongside the recent story of a second iPad release this year; with a retina display, it all starts to make a little sense. If the panels pass all of Apples tests in the third quarter, we may well see the rumored release in October. Of course you never know anything for sure until it is officially announced. I still think it is a bit of a long shot and really don't think it's going to happen this year!

[The Korea Times]