New iPad Retina Display is a game-changer

New iPad Retina Display is a game-changer

Summary: The Retina Display in the new iPad is so good that millions are soon not going to be satisfied with anything less. This will ripple through the personal computing space like wildfire.

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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.

Read: The iPad success story — giving us what we want again

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.

Related: Apple’s next-gen iPad: New battlefields emerge | Microsoft’s business pitch for Windows 8 depends on tablets | Apple’s New iPad In The Enterprise: Laptop Replacement Gets Closer | The new iPad’s great but what’s wrong with a good, inexpensive Android tablet? | CNET: New iPad hands on | CNET: All CNET iPad coverage (roundup) | iPad HD will surpass laptops on key features

Topics: iPad, CXO, Hardware, Mobility, Printers

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120 comments
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  • Great.

    Ah, great to see a good screen on a tablet finally (though I'm not a fan of the iPad or tablets in general). But I just hope not everyone starts putting in such high resolutions in their phones/tablets as that would need a serious increase in power under the hood to keep everything running smoothly.
    But oh well, this is gonna be happening on the higher end anyway, which not everyone will be able to afford, so I guess it's fine for me who certainly can't afford an iPad :p
    addicted2088
    • Same old

      What James is saying that the heavier, thicker iPad with the same battery life and a 4:3 screen and the same modded Unix OS now has higher resolution so their antiquated UI is clearer.

      Yep, a game changer ;-)
      tonymcs@...
      • haha

        I totally agree!

        I much prefer the benefits of Super Amoled over higher resolution.
        slickjim
      • It's not heavier or thicker!

        This is an Apple product. It is less THIN and it is gravity-metrically ENHANCED...
        z2217
      • A new OS is always possible.

        It depends on you. Get writing!
        peter_erskine@...
      • How old is iOS anyway? A few years now? WOW SO OLD...NOT!

        I mean seriously. Now if you mean W8 is new and exciting well i guess saying its NEW is better than saying "It has a great personality" but we all know what you mean by that:P Not a looker.

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • Jealous much?

        Thank heavens they kept the 4x3 screen and the rock-solid Unix OS.
        jorjitop
  • Game Changer...

    I don't know if you can call it a game changer. Sure it looks great and amazing and all that stuff. But when you asked most [b] typical [/b] iPad users, do you think any of them were thinking "I really like this device but man if only the DPI on it were higher because I just don't enjoy it otherwise." I doubt it, in fact I think most [b] typical [/b] users don't care that much. Just my opinon though.
    hafenbrack
    • Agreed

      There's absolutely nothing game changing about resolution. How many people actually notice resolution differences if they're not side by side? Otherwise, the HDTV people would be in an uproar because computer monitors can wipe the floor with them.

      You're like the person that gushes over how awesome your super expensive audiophile headphones are when the normal person can't tell the difference.

      For the record, I've a lot of experience with the Retina display on my 4th generation iPod Touch. I honestly can't tell the difference between it, my iPad2, and my crappy android phone.
      Aerowind
      • Exactly

        I game on my PC because the DPI is way better (as well as the FPS & loading times, but those is irrelevant here), but many people are quite fine with consoles on 50" 1080p.
        DaveJMo
      • The Emporer's new clothes?

        sometime people believe they can see more to something then is actually there, especially when they pay for it.
        Could this be one of those times?
        William Farrel
      • Experience always, ALWAYS trumps logic or beliefs

        BTW, Aerowind, this is my first posted comment from my new iPad with the retina display.

        Believe every word James wrote in this blog. The new display is a game changer.

        You will most definitely change your opinion after experiencing some moments with it.

        Until then, it's like describing a sun set to a blind man.
        kenosha77a
      • Maybe but not convinced

        I put my retina display iPhone 4 alongside my SGS2 and the Samsung is better looking even if the retina is sharper.
        The iPad may look better now but as I am waiting to compare to the Prime HD, it will soon be just another display.
        Nice but not a "must buy iPad now" feature for me.
        rhonin
    • The whole point is that people might not care at all until they see the ..

      ... the difference in person.

      There is phenomenon about quantitative advancements turning into qualitative ones. Here is exactly such case.

      This new iPad is going to be forever in history as the first PC (post) device that had screen with no visible pixels at viewing distance.

      [b]Your children and grandchildren will have hard time understanding why image on their computer devices would ever be done of squares.[/b] There is nothing like that in the natural world, and will never be in the future.

      The future, which iPad brought.
      DDERSSS
      • LOL!

        [i]Your children and grandchildren will have hard time understanding why image on their computer devices would ever be done of squares.[/i]

        You're joking, right?
        William Farrel
      • Sounds about right...

        My children don't believe me when I tell him we had TV remotes that used to be attached to the TV with a wire.
        themarty
      • Given the death of IT and any intellectual pursuits in this country,

        the future happened a few years ago... thank "iGreed", a term that Apple has yet to monopolize...
        HypnoToad72
      • RE: Sounds about right...

        @themarty

        LOL!

        Your kids are wiser than you. I don't believe you either. I built my first GR2000 Heathkit color TV in 1974, but it used electronics & ultrasounds for the full capability remote control. However, I understood NTSC technology way before, and have never seen wired remotes. The primitive original remotes were simply a hammer striking a metal rod (kinda tuning fork) producing a 'clinck' sound with harmonics in the ultrasonic region, which could be detected, discriminated and acted upon by the TV receiver.

        Unless you were born in or before 1939, which I seriously doubt, Zenith (a subsidiary of LG Electronics company) invented the wireless remote around then, just google it!
        http://lmgtfy.com/?q=tv+remote+history+wiki
        [quote]Zenith Electronics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
        en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zenith_Electronics
        Jump to History?: The first Zenith TV set would appear in 1939, with its first ... as the wireless remote control, FM multiplex stereo, high-contrast and flat-face ...[/quote]

        It speaks volumes about your pro Apple beliefs and RDF.

        Nice try.

        [i]~~~~~~~~~
        If you're going to be a zealot, at least get your facts right.
        {Blogging 101}[/i]
        WinTard
      • Well, they were...

        @WinTard

        "If you're going to be a zealot, at least get your facts right."

        That's good advice. But for this post at least you seem to not be following your own advice. ;)

        Wireless remote control has been out there for a long time, but they were not standard or common until relatively recently. Growing up in the 80s, lots of products were using wired remotes.

        We were always fighting with our VCR "remote" wires getting tangled up or having to sit on the edge of the couch and lean forward because the cord wasnt long enough.
        SlithyTove
      • No remotes at all

        @themarty
        I also remember wired remotes. They did exist.

        Before that, we had to walk across the room, uphill both ways, in the snow, just to change the channel.
        Robert Hahn