Would a 2048x1536 iPad 3 qualify as a Retina display?

Would a 2048x1536 iPad 3 qualify as a Retina display?

Even if the iPad 3 does indeed come with a 9.7-inch, 2048x1536 screen, would that still qualify as a "Retina display"? Does Retina display even have official qualifications? Ever since Apple adopted Retina display as the name for the iPhone 4's high pixel density screen, there's been some confusion as to both of those things. At 330dpi, the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S seems obvious. At 264dpi, a theoretical iPad 3 not so much.

Heroically, TUAW's Richard Gaywood has busted out the tape measure and done the math, and not just about the iPad 3, and here's his determination.

a pixel-doubled iPad running at 2048x1536 is easily enough definition to count as a Retina display -- even at a 16" viewing distance, which is on the close side from my experimentation with an iPad and a tape measure.

Retina is a function of distance as much as density, so the larger the screen, the further you hold it from your eyes, and the lower the density needs to be to effectively "disappear".

Richard's whole post is outstanding, and includes discussion on Retina display Macs as well, so be sure to hit the link below.

Source: TUAW

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 12 comments. Add yours.

SF Giants Fan! says:


Epic says:

It makes sense though. If you can't distinguish pixels, that counts for something.

Aenean144 says:

That was the best TUAW post I've read in a long long long long time!

Kid.Canada says:

@SF Giants fan - Its an Apple fan blog so obviously they'd fall for this stupid marketing scheme.
iMore - Home for the iZombies

MrDevali says:

We r not iZombies as much as simply iFans. Fans of a great company that makes great products... U can find fanboys where ever you look, apple, google, Microsoft, blackberry and so on. I still never get people that come to a site dedicated to a specific device or culture and expect to see posts bashing the products. We all know all our devices from various manufactures have failures and faults but we have chosen them because they work best for us in the long run... Just head back to your favorite forum of choice and leave everyone to their own "devices" so to speak...

Glenn#IM says:

Would it be like the difference between the iPod touch 4, and the iPhone 4? Does it really matter? If you compare a iPod touch 1,2,or 3 to the 4, yes big difference in display, but if you compare the 4 to an iPhone 4, even a bigger difference. I think any any improvement over the iPad, or iPad 2 will be fantastic, retina or not. Boils down to user experience. It does make you wonder what they plan for the next generation of devices.

Benutzername says:

Retina is a function of distance as much as density, so the larger the screen, the further you hold it from your eyes, and the lower the density needs to be to effectively “disappear”.
That was said at the iPhone 4 presentation, too. So it's already known for years.

Carioca32 says:

I don´t necessarily disagree, but I feel that this is a preemptive post to the backslash from the first picky users that look upon the iPad 3 and say "This retina is BS, I can still see the pixels!".

Bazza1 says:

I'm trying to imagine the potential size of apps geared to 'retina' displays on an iPad and wonder what that will do to user's data plans and the limited storage on the device - which, by rumour, isn't increasing any.

MrDevali says:

Considering the 20mb limit for downloads over 3G connection hasn't changed... Then this will have zero effect on that.

tuscanidream says:

The closet I hold my iPad 2 to my face is about 1 foot, and I can barely notice the pixels at that distance. Who gives a $&@?! I'm not going to hold it as close to my face as an iPhone, and if the iPad 3 or 2s or iPad 4g (rediculous naming scheme) has double the current res, then I would have to put my face on it and make out to notice the pixels,

LaToya AKA Digital Nightmare says:

Why does it matter what it's called or qualifies as? As long as the resolution is higher! That's all that truly matters! If it had the same screen as the first two you all would buy it anyway.