3/16/12

MacMost Now 684: A Close Look At the New iPad’s Retina Display

The new iPad has a retina display that doubles the numbers of horizontal and vertical pixels, giving you four times the total number of pixels on the screen. The result is a much better display for text, graphics and photos. Learn more about the retina display and see comparisons between the iPad 2 and the new iPad.

Video Transcript (Click to Expand)
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let's take a look at the retina display on the new Ipad. So I just got back from The Apple Store, got my new Ipad, and the screen is fantastic. Got a new retina display. So, let me take some time and tell you what a retina display actually is and show you the difference. So the original Ipad and the Ipad 2 have a screen that is 768 pixels across and 1024 pixels vertically. The new Ipad doubles that. It has 1536 across and 2048 vertically. So if you take a close up look at the screen, and put an imaginary grid on it, it divides all the pixels on it. We can see here what the pixels may look like in the corner of the screen of an original Ipad or Ipad 2. Now, doubling that vertically and horizontally, gets us 4 pixels for every 1 pixel that was previously there. So you can see, here is an imaginary grid over the New Ipad's retina display. So looking at some examples. For instance, let's look at something simple like text. So here is text on the grid of an original Ipad or Ipad 2, and you can see we are looking at it really closely now. If you look at it from a normal distance, it looks like a letter. You don't really think about the pixels. But this is what it looks like if you look at it really closely. Now let's compare that to the new Ipad. We can see that the pixels are much finer. Which means that the letters look a lot better. Now you might say, "What's the big deal?" Well the big deal isn't that you notice the pixels or you don't, it's that your eye perceives it as a finer line. So it looks a lot more like reading words on a printed paper than reading pixels on a computer screen. This means that it will be easier for the eyes to read, easier for you to glance through. Less strain on your eyes, and it will just have this much better look to it. Now let's look at images. Now, if you are taking a look at an image on an original screen, and you look at it closely, you can see the pixels like this. Now if we go to look at it on a New Ipad, you can see that since there are 4 pixels for every 1 on the previous versions, there is a lot more finer details in the image. Now we are looking very closely here. You wouldn't normally notice this. So that is a simulated image to show you the difference, but here is an actual image. Here is an actual picture I took with my 12-mega pixel digital camera of the screen of the Ipad 2. And you can see the pixels. I am looking really closely into this right here. Now take the same camera, same distance, same zoom level. Exact same photo on the New Ipad with the retina display, and you can see that the pixels are much finer and harder to see. But what about Icons? After all, a lot of times you are not looking at photos or reading text. You are looking at icons on your homescreen or different buttons of different applications that you are using. Well if you take a look at some of the common icons here, you can see the difference between the original display and the retina display. And you can see they just look a lot finer, a lot sharper, a lot clearer on the new display. Now the good news is a lot of the new improvements from the new retina display are automatic for applications. If an App hasn't been updated for the new retina display, it will still show text a lot sharper. It may actually show images sharper if the developer initially included nice images with the original. So a lot of your old Apps are going to look better on the new Ipad even if they have not been updated. This is particularly true if you look at content in Safari. Text is going to look sharper even though the web developer or the website has done anything to change it. It's just going to look a lot nicer. And images may even look nicer if a high resolution image has been shrunk down which is pretty common say if you're looking at a photo gallery or something. If you are looking at it on the new retina display will actually show more detail in that image. Detail you couldn't see before using a regular display on your older Ipad or even on your computer. Now some developers have come out with, and more will be coming out with in the future, new versions of their Apps for the Ipad, that will still work on the old Ipads, but will actually display nicer images on the New Ipads. So expect to find updates from some of your favorite Apps coming soon. That will look just stunning on the New Ipad's screen. One thing that is interesting to note is that the resolution is close to paper. A lot of paper in magazines and such, are printed at roughly 300 dots per inch. And this screen is about 264 dots per inch. So the experience of reading a magazine, or looking at photos, or reading text is going to be a lot closer to paper on this screen than on a typical computer screen or the older Ipad. Also viewing your photos is going to be a lot better. Typically you take photos at several mega pixels. Say 3-mega pixels, 5-mega pixels, 8-mega pixels, depending on your camera. But then you look at them on an Ipad screen or a computer screen in a resolution that is equivalent to 1 to 2 mega pixels. Well now you are going to be looking at them on what is equivalent to 3 mega pixels. Means they are going to look a lot closer to actually holding a photo in front of you. The same is going to be true when looking at high def video. A matter of fact, filming video with the new Ipad 3 is going to film it in 1080p. Your screen can actually display 1080p, actually even a little higher than it. So it is a case where you can actually see what you are shooting at the resolution. That is not even true for expensive handheld cameras. You are seeing on a much smaller LCD screen. You only see the true high def when you view it later. So I hope you have found this look at the new retina display on the New Ipad useful. Until next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

3 Responses to “MacMost Now 684: A Close Look At the New iPad’s Retina Display”

  1. Antrim says:

    Thanks. It was great to see the actual side by side comparisons.

  2. Jim Bethel says:

    Hi Gary,
    I looked at the new iPad and the iPad 2 at my local Apple store yesterday and frankly could see little difference in the display of the stock photos in iPhoto and text in IBooks unless I zoomed in to a very close up display. I wonder if the difference in resolution between the models will be all that noticeable in everyday use.

  3. Wayne Lang says:

    I bought a new iPad after having a 1 and a 2 and I am amazed at the clarity of the text in the books I read. I am reading “Game of Thrones: the Story Continues” at the moment. It is a seriously long event. I like to read of a night time before going to sleep. I am sure that my eyes are not as tired now with the new iPad as they were with my other iPads.

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