At first I considered naming this post “Why the new iPad sucks”, but to be honest, I think the new iPad is a fine tablet in its own right. Undeserving of the flood of praise that it is receiving, but a fine tablet none the less. People have reported a lot of issues with the new iPad, varying form an increase in size, weight and temperature, to being upset about apple simply not addressing actual wishes, such as adding haptic feedback or support for external SD cards.
The one thing that pretty much everyone agrees on however, is that the retina screen is a seriously impressive step forward. But whether you believe that the new screen justifies the increase in weight, size, heat, etc., you must realize that you probably are already looking at similar monitors day in day out.
Here’s the thing about the retina display: It’s not unlike anything you haven’t seen before. The very high pixel density is actually not all that high when you consider the actual viewing distance at which you are likely to use the iPad. I’ve made a little overview to demonstrate.
Let’s say you are watching a movie on the iPad. The ideal viewing distance will be about 45cm (18inch) away from the device. This results in approximately 30 degrees angle, which is recommended by the SMPTE (or SMPTE 30).
Now let’s compare that to a PC monitor. For this example I’ll use a full HD monitor of 21,5″, because there are many models with these specs that can be gotten for under € 100,- My guess is that at that price range, these monitors are more or less common. The ideal viewing angle of 30 degrees for a 21.5″ Full HD monitor is achieved at a distance of just over a meter (39inch). 1.
Compared to Full HD tv’s, you will achieve the same 30 degree viewing angle, when sitting just over 2 meters (6.8 feet) away from a 50″ tv. 50 inch is probably a bit larger then the size of most people’s tv’s, but one can be gotten at prices below €500,- which would still be considered to be in the ‘budget’ segment by some.
The bottom line is, that the pixel density that you see on each screen is roughly identical. So while the retina display is undoubtedly some of the finest pieces of engineering you have ever held in your hands, it’s not really that much different from what you’ve been seeing for a while now.