Examination of purported next-gen iPad screen confirms 2048×1536 Retina display

“Over the past couple of months, several photos of displays claimed to be for the iPad 3 have surfaced from various sources,” Eric Slivka reports for MacRumors.

“MacRumors has now been able to obtain one of these iPad 3 displays and examine it under a microscope in an effort to determine whether it is indeed an ultra-high resolution Retina display,” Slivka reports. “Extrapolating out, the iPad 3 screen should carry a full resolution of 2048×1536, exactly twice the linear resolution of the iPad 1 and iPad 2 which is 1024×768.”

Slivka reports, “Such a screen should be able to display much sharper images as compared to the previous generation iPads.”

More info and photos in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Ready and waiting!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Apple to unveil iPad 3 on March 7 with quad-core A6, possible 4G LTE, sources say – February 13, 2012
How iPad 3′s Retina display resolution would compare to other screens – February 10, 2012
Analyst: iPad 3 with high-res, massive pixel count IGZO display to debut in April – February 7, 2012
Bloomberg: Apple iPad 3 with 4G LTE, Retina display, quad-core A6 to debut in March – January 13, 2012

22 Comments

    1. 😀 I already have an iPad 2, but I’m sure I can find someone willing to buy it. Those funds, and the awesome amount of money I made from AAPL will go towards my new iPad 🙂

  1. There may be such displays out there, but how do they know for sure that this is actually the one being used in the “iPad 3”? About six months ago, it was probably a lost Apple prototype that got everyone “confirming” that the “iPhone 5” would have a 4-inch screen with a “tapered” body, with case makers even making molds to produce (and sell) cases.

    Wait for the actually announcement…

    1. The iPad 3 will sell in even greater tsunami type numbers compared to the first and second iPad. It will be competely irrestible and probably the fatal blow in any Windows 8 tablet selling in any substantial numbers. Unless of course the W8 tablet comes in brown. Then all bets are off!

  2. What’s the obsession with wanting the iPad line convert to Retina Displays? Just because it’s relevant technology for small screens like the iPhone, does not mean it should be used for iPad or Macs. If the cost of such new products were higher than the benefit of having more pixels, people are not going to buy them. Creating a great user experience should not come at a high cost to users. You are setting yourselves up for disappointment by making long wish lists for future products with features that may not always be the best choice. Just because new tech can be used, does not mean it should be used. Be reasonable people, and patient!

    1. My belief is the “HD” screen in the actual “iPad 3” will be more than the current 1024×768, but less than 2048×1536.

      At 326 pixels per inch, the iPhone 4/4S screen is called “Retina.” Users hold an iPad further away from eyes, compared to an iPhone, so around 200 pixels per inch is enough to provide the same perceived image quality. At 9.7 inch diagonal, 1600×1200 provides 206 PPI. Note: The current resolution is around 130 PPI.

      Since that resolution should make individual pixels indistinguishable to the user, going higher to would be a waste. The rumored component would be far more expensive, making the iPad more expensive. It would require pushing more pixels around for no gain in image quality, reducing potential performance. It would cause more heat to be produced, because the iPad is working harder, and drain the battery faster, requiring a larger battery to get to 10 hours. I think Apple is smarter than that…

      1. At 2048 x 1536 (exactly double the current iPad resolution), current apps will look great with no reprogramming required. That will not be the case for intermediate resolutions like you’re proposing.

        1. You’re not thinking it through. If 206 PPI makes the pixels so small that they are indistinguishable to the user, then it does not matter if the scaling factor is exactly 2 or 1.x. The existing 1024×764 apps scaled to 1600×1200 will be indistinguishable from 1024×764 apps scaled to 2048×1536… because the user cannot make out individual pixels either way.

          Going up to 2048×1536 on a 9.7-inch screen is a waste. More expensive component. More graphics processing power needed. More heat produced. More power used. Larger battery needed. Etc. All for no perceivable increase in image quality, unless you happen to be an eagle.

          1. Ken, you don’t understand resolution and scaling. Scaling 1024×786 to 1600×1200 will result in image much less sharp than if rendered at 1024×768, regardless of what distance you hold the iPad.

            If the engineers were able to design a new iPad with similar battery life and cost to the current iPad, but do it with a display that’s industry-leading in terms of resolution and require no action by developers except to take advantage of the additional resolution, then why not?

            When you do hold this “Retina” iPad a little closer, it will still look amazing!

            1. How can it be “much less sharp” when the user can’t distinguish an individual pixel? You don’t understand common sense… 🙂

              Go to an Apple Store, stand in front of a 27-inch iMac, open System Preferences Displays pane, and change the resolution from the native 2560×1440 to 1920×1080. The screen is scales and it looks good. That iMac’s screen is “only” 109 PPI. Imagine how good it would look if it was 206 PPI. It takes “no action” on the part of developers to scale to 1600×1200 versus 2048×1536; it’s just a difference scaling factor and the iPad is doing the scaling (like that iMac).

              The MORE important consideration is not really supporting existing apps, but the new and updated apps that support “HD mode” going forward. Here, developers will code (re-code) to support the new HD resolution, just as developers did the same to support the new Retina display on iPhone 4. Here, the “scaling factor” is irreverent, because there is no scaling. The new HD resolution is what it is, and could be 2048×1536 or it could be 1600×1200 or it could be anything. The question then becomes, if Apple was designing the iPad NOW with technology available now, what would make the most sense in terms of performance, usability, component cost, and viability as a product? Who they go straight to a 2048×1536 screen?

              I already explained why a lesser resolution that still makes each pixel indistinguishable to the user is preferable. 1600×1200 is a lot easier for graphics hardware to support (that resolution has been around forever). You’ll get superior graphics performance. You’ll get superior battery life (or need a smaller battery). You’ll get a lighter, faster, cooler iPad that COSTS LESS. And there will be no perceivable difference in image quality. For me, 1600×1200 on a 9.7-inch screen is preferable to 2048×1536.

            2. ken1w,

              “How can it be “much less sharp” when the user can’t distinguish an individual pixel? You don’t understand common sense…”

              Please don’t do that. Makes you look bad.

              It wouldn’t look that good because of something called aliasing, and because iOS itself doesn’t scale like OS X does. Both are completely bypassed by just going Retina.

            3. @ lukeskymac

              What you don’t realize is that in the future, when pixels become so small that a single pixel cannot be distinguished by the human eye, EVERYTHING will be scaled (use aliasing). When you can’t distinguish an individual pixel, something that uses aliasing will be indistinguishable from something that is “native.” That is when “native resolution” becomes irrelevant and meaningless, from the user’s perspective.

              Currently, in the Mac world, pixel density is stuck at about 130 PPI max, because if you go any smaller, the Menu Bar and some other GUI elements (that are pixel-size dependent) become too small to be useable. BUT at some point soon (maybe after “Mountain Lion”), the Mac’s OS will have resolution independence. I see that as the user having some type slider control (in System Preferences) that smoothly (not incrementally) adjusts how large things appear on the screen, with NO REGARD to the screen’s native resolution (like you can now with the Dock). The control won’t even show the “X-by-Y” numbers, because its meaningless to the user. That’s when the Mac’s display can “go Retina” and get pixels that are too small to be distinguished. EVERYTHING will be SCALED to the exact level that is most useable and comfortable for the user.

              And that’s also why going beyond the point where the user can distinguish an individual pixel (on an iPad’s screen) is inefficient and wasteful. An iPad that goes right up to that limit, not beyond, will be faster, lighter, and cheaper (with NO perceivable loss in image quality), compared to an iPad that arbitrarily uses 2048×1536 because it just happens to be 2x the current resolution.

    2. my “obsession” with a higher resolution iPad is that i have really started to enjoy reading ebooks on my laptop and iPhone—but the current resolution on the iPad has kept me from buying it. the letters are just too jaggy and annoying enough that i can’t lose myself in the book.

      i will be first on line for a higher-res model!!

  3. There’s a scene in an episode of The Simpsons” in which Mapple CEO Steve Mobs appears on the screen to announce a new innovation which will “change everything” and the audience of loyal fans pulls wads of cash out – ready to buy whatever it is. Well that’s how much I’m anticipating the iPad 3. (I did not buy the iPad or iPad 2.)

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