The (other) problem with Retina on iPad 2

Discussion in 'iPad' started by jessea, Jan 18, 2011.

  1. jessea macrumors member

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    #1
    Before I owned the iPad, one of my reasons for holding off on purchasing was to see if Apple would double the pixel density on the iPad 2. After using an iPhone 4 for a while, looking at an iPad screen looked pixelated.

    Over time and use, I became less interested in a Retina display showing up on the iPad 2. It's not so much because I adjusted to the current display (although I did), and it's not because of powering the display. I'm concerned about the display of content. Text would look fantastic, no doubt. But images that came from non-native sources have the potential to look horrible.

    Let's face it: we live in a 72-150dpi world for the most part. The iPhone 4 gets away with it because a high-density iPhone screen is still less than most desktop monitors, though if you've used an iPhone 4, you know how bad some things can look.

    A 2048x1536 display on an iPad would make images look poor when browsing the web. iTunes artwork at its current dimensions would suffer. Images pulled into apps from outside sources (Twitter, RSS readers, etc.) are bound to appear pixelated.

    Until desktop pixel density starts to catch up, I'm really wondering if the experience of those activities (particularly web browsing) would suffer on a Retina display. That said, knowing Apple, they wouldn't do it if the experience suffered that much.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Mebsat macrumors regular

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    #2
    Let Nigel be your guide.

    "...but this one goes to eleven."
     
  3. Zcott macrumors 68020

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    #3
    I take the other side to your argument here: if you've used an iPhone 4, you'll know how good things can look. The majority of the photos you see online are considerably larger than they were a few years ago, and with increased dpi in mobile devices, I think it'll accelerate image sizes to take advantage of that.

    For me, one of the main advantages of a retina display on iPad is reading. iBooks, Instapaper and even just websites look considerably better on my iPhone 4 than my iPad.
     
  4. BrennerM macrumors regular

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    #4
    This line of thinking doesn't make sense to me. IF (big IF IMO) iPad2 gets a quadrupled pixel count, it will likely be packed into the same surface area as iPad1. Therefore an image will look the same as it does on iPad1 when scaled to the same physical size on the device. Just so happens that iPad2 will use 4 pixels to render every 1 on iPad1, but since the pixels on iPad2 are so small in comparison, you won't really be able to tell anyway.

    Now, if they were to make iPad2 a larger sized screen, you would have a better argument.
     
  5. colmaclean macrumors 68000

    colmaclean

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    #5
    Images can only look better if there's more pixels to play with. Even pixelated images will show up as no worse than they already do on iPad 1.
     
  6. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    makes no sense :confused:
    With resolution doubling, at the very worst content will look exactly the same as on iPad1 - except for text which is going to look heaps better.
     
  7. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

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    #7
    I've had no problem with the way images are displayed on the web through the iPhone 4. I don't see how it would look any worse than as if on a regular display. And more to the point, some better, some okay and familiar, is better than all okay and familiar.

    As for desktop computers, a tighter pixel density currently results only in smaller graphics and detail. Elements of resolution independence are probably going to be required for change to happen here. Some considerable technology advancements in operating systems (emphasis on the plural) need to take place before the standard approach to desktop programming and web design change.
     
  8. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #8
    Actually a valid point; but the higher density might drive that content, or at least look good zoomed out. :D At worst, it'll just look the same.

    Apple doesn't even provide content in resolution higher than 720p, which the iPhone 4 is only 80 pixels short of :/
     
  9. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

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    #9
    Doesn't matter at all for the iPhone 4, though. Assuming video is clear and crisp enough for its display it displays video as finely as one could ever want.

    As for 1080p in the iTunes store, that's an issue for the Apple TV. :)
     
  10. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    #10
    Frankly, I'd like this resolution just to be able to use an iPad as a photography portfolio.
     
  11. jessea, Jan 18, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2011

    jessea thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    Text does looks heaps better (along with anything rendered).

    But it's incorrect that at the very worst content will look exactly the same. Apps with images that weren't updated for iPhone 4 looked worse on an iPhone 4 than its predecessors.

    It's sort of similar to the way standard definition television looks worse on an HDTV than viewing it on an equal-caliber SDTV.

    This is part of the reason I want to see it happen... hopefully it will drive better content.

    By the way, I'm not saying that given the choice I'd prefer 1024x768 -- I wouldn't. I'm just saying there are trade-offs to consider. :)
     
  12. Xian Zhu Xuande macrumors 6502a

    Xian Zhu Xuande

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    #12
    Would also be nice to have more control over the way in which iTunes compresses photographs before throwing them onto the iPad.
     
  13. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #13
    Exactly. iPhone 4 proved that iOS scaled up images look ok.
     
  14. Evgenyy macrumors regular

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    #14
    Ok, for all of those thinking that doubling resolution (and quadripling pixel numbers) will look bad, here is a rough picture explaining why it will look exactly the same. Sorry, did it in 2 mins so the picture is not perfect :)

    The higher resolution display will just use 4 pixels per each pixel of the lower resolution images. Because the ratio is exactly the same, the screen will just turn 4 pixels of the same colour to match the colour of each pixel of the low resolution image. It will look exactly the same.

    The problem with horrible picture arises when the new resolution is not proportionate to the previous resolution, e.g. it is increased by 1.2. The pixels of the image will not fit perfectly within pixels of the higher resolution display (see pic. 3), hence the display will look horrible as it cannot turn part of a pixel blue and annother part green.

    With regard to doubling the resolution of iPad 2 display, I just don't see it happening. Monitors with such a high resolution and ppi cost thousands and only used in specialised fields. I don't think Apple can get anyone to produce such a panel for a mere ~$75 increase in cost.
     

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  15. 2 Owls macrumors regular

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    #15
    I can't believe people are finding problems with something that hasn't even been released yet.
     
  16. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    No, it's really not similar at all.
    The resolution jump from 3GS -> iPhone4 was not exactly double. So yes, content on the iPhone4 could look worse than its predecessors.
    This is not the case with the iPad2 (as rumoured). If the resolution is exactly doubled then there is no possible way that content could look worse than on the original iPad (barring some crazy anti-aliasing).
     
  17. Stetrain, Jan 18, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2011

    Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    #17
    Yes it was. The original iPhone, the 3G, and the 3GS had a resolution of 320x480. The iPhone 4 has a resolution of 640x960. Double in both directions, for 4x the number of pixels.


    As far as the issue of this topic, I don't think that it will be a problem. The only thing that looked bad on the iPhone 4 were apps that were not yet upgraded. The images in those apps were simply pixel doubled, they were designed with strict dimensions and a user interface isn't something that you can do a lot of image processing/scaling on without making it look bad. On the other hand, images in webpages and videos can all be processed and scaled in effective ways. Regarding the analogy about SD content on an HDTV, its true that SD content looks bad on some HDTVs, but the higher end TVs that do good video processing can actually make SD content look fine.
     
  18. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

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    #18
    oh OK, my mistake :eek: Maths fail :D
    can't understand then why content would look worse on an IP4 than a 3GS? :confused:
     
  19. gloss macrumors 601

    gloss

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    #19
    It doesn't look worse, it's just that it's quite easy to tell what's been upsampled and what hasn't. When they're side-by-side it makes it a lot more glaring.
     
  20. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #20
    Furthermore, iOS lacks subpixel anti aliasing for text. So on "lower" density screen like the existing iPad, text looks fuzzier than Mac OS X and Windows 7 with similarly dense screen.
     
  21. Stetrain macrumors 68040

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    #21
    User interface elements that have been pixel doubled stand out on the iPhone 4, but content that isn't tied directly to a UI looks fine, like web pages, photos, and video.
     
  22. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #22
    No, but it matters for a retina iPad; the resolution would be significantly higher than 1080p.

    And it matters for the Apple TV of course.

    If iPhone 4 and iPad use similar PPI ratios, Apple's only providing content for the iPhone 4.
     
  23. Dorkington macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    For those of you saying that a retina display won't effect image quality on web size images, it depends on if the physical display size is the same.

    Ever print a picture from the web, a 4x6" at 72 dpi on a monitor looks much better than a 4x6" at 72dpi when printed.
     
  24. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

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    #24
    It doesn't look worse, but it can look jarring.

    Like, when you have text on a background or alongside images, and the images are of a lower PPI or some screen elements are lower PPI, while the text is really crisp.

    Everything is either the same PPI as the 3GS or higher, but the fact that there's conflicting elements stands out.
     
  25. Mitchel macrumors newbie

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    Dec 12, 2010
    #25
    Bullsh * t... any content can at worst look exactly the same as the iPad 1. It only subjectively APPEARS to be worse because you are comparing it to the super crisp text and other stuff on the rest of the screen.
     

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