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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  • KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    Overpriced compared to what? Alternative tablets can't compete with a $400 iPad 2, and what other company can release a mass market product with a 2048x1536 for $500? Even competing ultrabooks can't undercut a Macbook Air by very much.

    Now if you mean cheaper products using inferior components, then yes, there are absolutely other less expensive products out there. Given the fact that there isn't much of a difference when they are trying to directly compete on physical and internal specs, it is hard to call most of Apple's products overpriced.
  • gorash - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    We all know that Apple products in general are overpriced.

    Again with the myth that "Apple uses superior components". No, again they're just overpriced. Apple uses the exact same components as everybody else i.e. all made in China by slave labor.

    Specs wise, MBA is pretty poor compared compared to its price. You can get a laptop with same specs as MBA for $200 less.
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    'We all know that Apple products in general are overpriced.'

    This isn't a logical argument. You can't defend your unproven claim that something is overpriced by simply saying 'we all know they are overpriced'.

    Apple doesn't use the same materials or production methodology at all, that's why they lead all of the device reliability charts. They also don't even use the same components since their spec is massively, massively higher - in particular the GPU and the screen.

    As for the MBA - that is the worst example possible. You will not find a laptop with the same performance and specs, in the same physical package (size, weight, volume) with the same battery life for less. The closest (and only alternative) is the Asus UX31 which is similar in a lot of ways, including price, and doesn't come with the backlit keyboard or anywhere near the reliability history. The trackpad and screen are also vastly inferior. You have to understand that the difficulty and price you pay for devices like this is in their size. If you don't need a small, portable, light form factor, that's fine, get a cheaper laptop (you wont find any comparable performance laptop for $200 anyway, by the way), but don't ever dream that they are comparable, or just ignore the fact that the technology is crammed into such a small space, something a lot of people want.

    And besides, this isn't about laptops - even if Apple was overpriced in one area (such as Mac desktops, which is the example you should have given) - it doesn't prove that they are overpriced in all.
  • AnnihilatorX - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    Apple is overpriced because their profit margin is 40%, morally wrong to me, when other vendors get by below 20%.

    They can sell tablet at such *affordable* price (compared to other competitors' offerings) is only because of economies of scale---their customer base is so vast.

    Doesn't stop the fact that it's ovepriced as defined by profit margin, roots of all evil.
  • tim851 - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    If Apple cuts its profit margin and offers the MBA at 600$, what do you think would happen to the competition at that price point? All those cheap ass plastic Notebooks from manufacturers who can only dream of Apple's profit margin, but can't compete on price NOW.

    So if Apple uses it's unprecedented grip at the supply chain to totally drive out all competition - is that morally okay to you?
  • WaltFrench - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    Hope you don't sully your morals by buying anything from Intel.

    Or Microsoft.

    Or Adobe.

    Well, maybe now that their products aren't selling so well, Adobe would be OK. But watch out, once they figure out some HTML5 tools, they'll be back on your no-no list. Better snag that CS while they're in this window of low-profit-margin opportunity!

    By the way, how do you tolerate being in the same room with so many people of low moral standards?
  • gorash - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    Oh please... like the fact that Apple charges $100 per 2GB of RAM upgrade is not overpriced. Like the fact that a simple SD card reader dongle costs $30 is not overpriced. Like the fact that a simple leather cover costs $80 is not overpriced. It is so obvious that it needs to not be said any more.

    If you seriously think that there aren't any laptops that aren't as good as MBAs with the same or lower price then you need to have your fanboy blinders off. Again... $100 per extra 2GB... doesn't sound cheap at all.

    And it's also funny that ASUS, Toshiba and Sony all have lower laptop failure rates than Apple's.
  • doobydoo - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    You listed a whole bunch of items which aren't an iPad, and called them overpriced.

    I've already explained to you that just because one item is overpriced, doesn't mean every item is.

    The dongle for SD cards can be bought for $5 btw.

    You're going to need to evidence your claim that Toshiba, Sony and Asus have lower laptop failure rates. All the studies I've seen put Sony way down. Any studies which talk about 'failure rates' need to be put into context too, since people with $200, $300 laptops don't generally care as much about repairing them.

    Your phrase 'there aren't any laptops AS GOOD' as MBA is subjective, and therefore not logical. As I said, you cannot get an equally specc'd machine for less, and the spec includes the components, size, weight, battery life, screen, mousepad and backlit keyboard. All you have to do to prove me wrong is provide an example of one. You still haven't.
  • gorash - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    That's why I said "Apple products" and not "iPads".

    Dongle can be bought for $5 - the one not made by Apple, I assume.

    Here's your evidence: http://www.electronista.com/articles/09/11/17/reli...

    You suck at arguing and you're grasping at straws now so I will not bother anymore. Do some research on your own, for God's sakes. Do I have to wipe your ass for you?

    Newsflash, the 2GB, 1.6Ghz dual-core CPU on the basic MBA model is really outdated by today's standards. Most have 4GB by standard and a faster CPU.
  • gorash - Tuesday, March 20, 2012 - link

    Of course, you're going to reply with something like "But but but... Mac OS X is so heavily optimized that it doesn't NEED the extra RAM or a faster CPU!" Yawn... next.

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