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Looking at the iPad's Retina Display Under a Microscope

Apple has talked a lot about the iPad 3's Retina Display. The company is even referring to the device as 'resolutionary' on it's homepage. We all know that the iPad 3 has a screen that measures 9.7-inchs and boasts 2048×1536 pixels and 264 ppi. And you don't need us to tell you that this is vastly superior to the display used on the iPads 1 and 2. Both the first and second iteration of the iPad used the same display -- a 9.7-inch 1024 × 768, 132 ppi display. What you probably don't know, is how these two screens compare when put under the microscope.

Designer Lukas Mathis decided to just that. Mathis, who runs ignorethecode.net, put both the iPad 2 and the iPad 3 under what he describes as 'a cheap digital microscope' at 80x magnification. This is what it looks like:

Of course, the really interesting comparison is the iPad 3 versus the iPhone 4S, which also has a Retina Display. The Retina Display on the iPhone 4S actually boasts 326 ppi, which just goes to show you how scientific the term 'Retina Display' really is.

And this is the 2007 iPod touch, when the words 'Retina Display' were nothing more than twinkle in the eye of a marketing maven:

Mathis has got some great photos of a range of different displays under the scope. He's done everything from the PS Vita, to the 3DS, the iPod touch, and the Kindle. Check it out here.

  • JeTJL
    Is there going to be any comparison between the new retina display in the Ipad 3 and the newer IPS panels that are going into Asus Transormer Infinity or Lenovo Ideatab K2?
    Reply
  • phamhlam
    JeTJLIs there going to be any comparison between the new retina display in the Ipad 3 and the newer IPS panels that are going into Asus Transormer Infinity or Lenovo Ideatab K2?
    Those are two totally different things. Retina Display refers to the densite of pixels on a display and IPS panels is the basically the type of panel that is used.
    Reply
  • nukemaster
    Mathis has got some great photos of a range of different displays under the scope. He's done everything from the PS Vita, to the 3DS, the iPod touch, and the Kindle. Check it out here.
    Hell a camera can catch the regular DS lite pixels :)
    Reply
  • rantoc
    Yup, Samsung make excellent handheld displays!
    Reply
  • Is this a big deal packing more res into a screen... it is not as if it was a new tech. VGA, XVGA, WVGA... and what have you... been there seen that.
    Reply
  • halcyon
    Why didn't someone besides Apple use this most excellent screen first? Heck, Samsung makes the screen...you'd think they put something as nice in their own tablets.
    Reply
  • Vladislaus
    My old phone with 3,5 inch 800x480 apparently also has a retina display long before Apple introduced it with the iPhone 4. Apparently all of a sudden, retina displays became much more common overnight.
    Reply
  • TheDane
    Apple's retina displays still uses IPS panels.

    Much prefer lower resoution SuperAMO LED if image quality is important.
    Reply
  • halcyon
    Well, the new iPad's screen is (okay, very) nice to look at but you quickly get used to it and it doesn't seem so special after a bit. It just seems standard now. ...the iPad 2's screen wasn't bad and when you can get an Android based tablet that doesn't have pixel defects (Asus, I'm talking to you) the1280x800 certainly isn't bad either.

    However, the new iPad's screen just set a new standard.
    Reply
  • watcha
    VladislausMy old phone with 3,5 inch 800x480 apparently also has a retina display long before Apple introduced it with the iPhone 4. Apparently all of a sudden, retina displays became much more common overnight.
    Which phone?

    All that happened is people learned what the term 'Retina display' means overnight. Apple never claimed to have invented high resolution displays.

    HalcyonWhy didn't someone besides Apple use this most excellent screen first? Heck, Samsung makes the screen...you'd think they put something as nice in their own tablets.
    I think this is very telling. The bottom line is that while Samsung can manufacturer a screen to Apples design and specification, it can't yet manage to put the rest of the package together in the form a complete tablet with the necessary battery life and GPU performance. In other words, there's way more to the screen than the screen.
    Reply