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Retina Display Revisited For The iPad

Many things have been written already about the new Retina Display in the iPad and it is indeed truly amazing. My friend Duncan has posted about how amazing photographs are on the iPad as have a number of others. Its hard to express how beautiful images are on the new iPad without actually looking at one as the display you will be reading this on is the limiting factor. That said, I was interested in “how beautiful it was”.

Given the level of interest in the new iPad Retina Display, I am surprised that nobody has made any quantitative imagery of the new iPad display yet. So, in the spirit of the previous Retina Display post back when Apple first announced a “Retina Display”, I grabbed a couple of quick images on the microscope this afternoon. The first two images are from the iPad Retina Display and an iPhone 4 under a Olympus SZX16 Stereomicroscope with a Canon 1D Mk III attached. The scale bar in the lower right of the iPad image above is ~82 micrometers in length giving a size comparison with the pixels in other iOS devices.

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Interestingly, this seems fractionally larger than the pixels in the iPhone which are ~78 micrometers in size which slightly alters the Retina Display equation. Though the moniker holds as from what I’ve informally observed, folks don’t hold their iPads as close to their face as the iPhones and what qualifies as a “Retina Display” will depend upon how close one holds the display to their eye combined with some optical characteristics that we covered before. I am sure that somebody, somewhere has looked at statistics of how close people hold devices to their faces.

I also find it interesting that the iPad sub-pixels are chevron shaped. This is as it was with the original iPad, so perhaps there is something about the shape of the pixels and how they relate to distance held from the eye as all iPhone sub-pixels seem to be orthogonal.

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A point of reference, just so you can appreciate how small these pixels are… This is the original pixel size from the first iPhone.

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Categories: Gear, News (Apple Inc.), News (Technology).

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. […] a geometry that has been used for Apple Cinema Displays going back to at least 2007 as well as on the iPad a couple years ago.  What this does in terms of image appearance, I am not sure.  It could simply be different […]