Saturday, May 12, 2012

When the Apple iPad's retina display is not so magical

When Apple released the new iPad and its 1536 x 2048 pixel resolution display we did notice that while it had double the graphics power and RAM of the iPad 2 and its 768 x 1024, it had to push out four times as many pixels. In other words, in terms of graphics power, the iPad 2 has more spare resources than the new third generation iPad. Both have the same processing power. 

Gameloft's N.O.V.A. 3 displays why this could be a problem. CNET reports that "Apple iPad 2 users ended up with a better-looking version of Gameloft's latest first-person shooter than those running the game on third-generation iPad hardware." 

In order to accommodate the high resolution graphics Gameloft disabled some of the graphical effects in the iPad 3 version including the depth-of-field effect that selectively blurs parts of the screen, as lighting and particle effects.

N.O.V.A. 3 on a iPad 2. Photo credit NeoGaf Forums

N.O.V.A. 3 on a iPad 3. Photo credit NeoGaf Forums

You will see similar issues when web browsing. The iPad 3 will display clear text beside not so clear pictures. Web site designers can update the pictures on their website so it looks better on full HD and higher resolution screens. This comes with a trade-off, bigger files and longer download times.

Basically, ultra high resolution screens are cool, but for the iPad 3 it does seem like it needs a new generation of graphics processor and faster (and not data capped) Internet to take full advantage of it.

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