Apple has announced the new iPad rather than the iPad 3, iPad HD or similar iteration. The upgraded display is by far the biggest change so here’s a guide to iPad’s retina quality screen. See also: New iPad review.
New iPad screen: What is ‘retina’ quality?
Apple describes the new iPad’s screen as retina quality. This means that it has a high enough resolution or a sufficient pixel density on its 9.7-inch screen that the user can’t make out, or distinguish, one pixel from the next. The only requirement is that the device is held at a suitable viewing distance of 15 inches.
New iPad screen: Resolution explained
The new iPad’s retina quality display is achieved by a resolution of 2048 x 1536. This is double the resolution of its predecessor, the iPad 2, which has a resolution of 1024 x 768. The numbers are twice as large this time around which means the amount of pixels is four times as many.
When you crunch the numbers the new iPad has more than 3.1 million pixels, a significant amount more than the iPad 2’s 786,000. Apple said the iPad has the highest resolution screen on any mobile device.
Pixel density has doubled compared to the iPad 2. Measured in pixels per inch (ppi) the new iPad sports an impressive 264ppi instead of 132ppi previously.
New iPad screen: Better than HD
The screen on the new iPad is, in fact, better quality that an HD TV or monitor. Full HD resolution is 1920 x 1080 which equals a total of 2 million pixels so the new iPad has more than 50 percent extra in comparison.
New iPad screen: New technology
Apple says that the screen has gone through a redesign to enable the quadruple pixel count on the new iPad. Each pixel has multiple signals instructing it what to do, both of which previously sat on the same plane but crossing signals results in a quality loss. So with four times the amount of pixels the firm has split the pixels and signals onto separate planes.
Driving the retina display on the new iPad is the A5X processor. The upgraded chip is a dual-core chip with quad-core graphics to cope with the millions of pixels.
New iPad screen: Apps
All of Apple’s built-in apps, including Maps and Mail, have been optimised for the retina quality resolution display. Third-party apps will be automatically upscaled.