We're hard at work on our review on the new iPad but with a fair bit of display analysis under our belts I thought a quick post might be in order. One of the major features of the new iPad is its 2048 x 1536 Retina Display. Apple kept the dimensions of the display the same as the previous two iPad models, but doubled the horizontal and vertical resolution resulting in a 4x increase in pixels. As display size remained unchanged, pixel density went through the roof:

Pixel Density Comparison

Although the iPad 2 has a fairly high pixel density compared to most of Apple's Mac/display lineup, you're more likely to hold a tablet closer to your eyes which made the low resolution/pixel density problematic. The new iPad addresses this issue as you can see from the chart above. I can't focus closely enough to the panel to actually make out pixels on the new iPad, much less at a normal viewing distance. With the aid of a macro lens we can definitely identify individual pixels. The improvement over the iPad 2 display is striking:

To the left we have the original 1024 x 768 panel, and to the right we have the new Retina Display. At this distance you can still identify individual pixels, an ability that quickly vanishes at normal viewing distances. The Music app icon is an even better example of what you gain from the newer display as it has more high contrast edges that appear more aliased on the 1024 x 768 panel:

The old iPad's 1024 x 768 resolution was fairly bothersome when it came to reading text on web pages or books. Most Android tablets standardizing on 1280 x 800 offered an advantage in that respect, albeit not delivering significantly higher pixel density. The new iPad completely resolves this issue. Hover over the links below to see roughly the same paragraph of text from our retail Radeon HD 7870 review on the iPad 2, new iPad and ASUS Transformer Prime:

Apple iPad 2 Apple iPad (3rd gen) ASUS TF Prime
original original original

While it's still obvious that you're looking at a screen and not an e-ink display, the pixels perform a good disappearing act on the new iPad.

Going Into the Pixel: Retina Display Under a Microscope
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  • Griswold - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    I hear theres a bargain sale of ropes. Now all you need is a closet to hang yourself in.
  • Azsen - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    Should be macro lens.
  • Solandri - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    For being the first (and only) review I've found which took pictures where you can actually see the pixels and do a real comparison. All the other pictures I've seen have been a pixellated iPad 2 screen vs. a perfect (pixel-less) iPad 3 screen. Useless for comparison.
  • xytc - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    But it's not like Apple is making their own displays, they just bought them from Samsung and LG, and the same is with other components inside iPad and iPhone.
    Those that call themselves Apple fans are in fact fans of Samsung, LG and Foxconn because that's what Apple products are made from. hahahaha
  • Graag - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    And people who are fans of Frank Lloyd Wright are really fans of Bob Jones, his stone mason, since that's who actually made the houses.
  • snuuggles - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    Who's a fan of that hack? Falling water literally almost fell into the water.

    Modern architects=FAIL

    It's funny, it occurs to me that all the negative attributes people ascribe to Jobs fit perfectly on the starchitects such as Ghery and Koolhaas: arrogant a**holes that force thier artistic vision on a public so stupified by "new" they don't understand that "new" doesn't mean "better", or even "good."
  • mcnabney - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    Not a good comparison.

    A better example is that if we are talking about the latest airplanes, while the airline does have a lot of say in how the interior is designed, most of what the airplane does is designed by either Boeing or Airbus - and not Delta or United. So if you are impressed by the new technology, look at who designed the components themselves, not who gave designed the case to hold those components.

    The only part Apple really had any role in engineering was the A5X, and only because they bought the ARM-licensed company that designs those chips.
  • Graag - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    No, that's a horrible comparison.

    Apple *designed* the iPad, just like Boeing or Airbus designed their planes.

    The iPad is made of parts from hundreds of suppliers, just as airplanes are made from parts from 1000's of suppliers.

    What you are doing is saying that we should give no credit to Boeing because Rolls-Royce actually builds the planes' engines. Or Alcoa produced the aluminum alloy.

    Apple gets the credit because Apple designed the iPad and chose appropriate components from hundreds of suppliers. It's not at all like going to Boeing and choosing how many seats you want from the options Boeing offers. Not even close.
  • Spongebob31 - Monday, March 19, 2012 - link

    Following that logic, fans of Samsung, LG and Foxconn love Asian companies compared to American companies.  Because of the fact that Apple is an American company which gets its cheap labour from Asia that would mean that people like you are Asian?
    Or am I being racist?  Maybe you're married to an Asian?  Or maybe you're a hick who can't afford some of the premium products which Apple charges and so look to other companies to copy its designs and sell them at a cheaper rate albeit with less quality.  Or maybe you simply hate Apple for no other reason than envy/jealousy?
    I can take this train of thought about as far as you did and be just as genuine as you.  Hahahaha
  • gorash - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    Wait, so you are actually happy that Apple overprice their products so they can be called "premium"? Oh... fanboys.

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