When Apple announced the new iPad one of the upgrades sounded nice but not that progressive. That was due to the Retina Display first appearing last year on the iPhone, and it's nice on the little screen but not earth-shaking. Having spent a few hours with the Retina Display on the new iPad, I believe it is nothing short of a major technological breakthrough for the personal computing field.
I won't review the new iPad here, there is no shortage of those on the web. There are even quite a few lists that aggregate all of those reviews so just Google for one and you'll find all you need.
I can't show you the Retina Display in action as you can only see it in person. Remember the first HD TV ads that appeared on your old standard definition TV that tried to show you how great HD was? It's like that, to appreciate how good the Retina Display is you have to be looking at one.
Why do I think it is a big breakthrough for computing? It changes the way you look at computer screens. There is no eyestrain when working on the iPad, and the color saturation is outstanding. Looking at the Retina Display for a while and then at any other screen you are brutally aware how bad the others really are in comparison.
The Retina Display in the new iPad has raised the bar for computer displays. In fact it's raised the bar so high that it has smashed the others to smithereens. As more people get exposed to this display nothing else is going to be good enough, not just on tablets but laptops or desktops, either.
Since I have to rely on describing what looking at the Retina Display is like, this is the best I can do. Looking at the iPad home screen with the collection of app icons is like looking not at a screen but a tangible object. The icons look like real objects that can be lifted off the screen and held in the hand. They seem like not mere images but solid objects.
This realism carries into every aspect of the display. Words on a page look like they have been carefully painted on a brilliant white page. Remember the first time you saw a page printed with a laser printer? It's like suddenly moving from a dot-matrix printer to a crisp laser printer. It's as if the words have been burned precisely onto the screen.
This realism is something that is very easy to get used to. After just a few minutes on the iPad, looking at other screens is almost painful. These are the same screens that until the iPad I would swear were really good. I think the longer I use the iPad with the gorgeous Retina Display, the worse it's going to be using other displays. You can actually see how fuzzy they are after looking at one that is not.
Apple has just ushered in the era of the super high-resolution computer display. This is likely going to become the expected resolution, and OEMs are going to have to move to drop the standard stuff and go super high-def. There's not going to be a good reason for consumers to settle for less.
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