I compared my iPad 2 and iPad 3 playing the same 720p video simultaneously and side by side last night. In scene after scene, I strongly perceived my iPad 2 as having better picture quality (at 720p, the resolution didn't matter).
The colors seemed true and natural and realistic on the iPad 2. They seemed unnatural on the iPad 3. How utterly disappointing! I was biased to want to be favorably impressed by the iPad 3 and the 2 had the significantly better display.
What was going on? The iPad 3 colors were too greenish. If we had an advanced display setting (of course Apple won't allow that), I'd be looking to shift the hue over to the red a bit and away from the green.
How bad is it? Am I some overly critical videophile? It's bad and no, I don't think so. The major selling point of the iPad 3 is the retina display. The trade-off is cost (for those replacing their older iPad) extra weight, thicker size, and slower battery charging. And what is gained? Regarding color fidelity, the display is seriously flawed and there's no setting to be changed.
On certain scenes (various videos) faces and hair have a greenish cast. Once noticed, it's obvious and annoying. Grass looks cartoonish with a neon glow, while it appears completely natural on the iPad 2 -- this is the easiest test. Water appears greenish, not blue. It's very evident.
I did a google and found this, so I'm not alone:
Falk Lumo: Apple iPad 3: A first screen evaluation
I suppose Apple could fix this with an upgrade. But, it's not even an acknowledged problem. I don't know, but I guess it's just a bad setting choice and affects all 3's. If so, didn't anyone test this? I noticed right away.
As things stand -- I'm just digesting this disappointing discovery -- I see no sense in keeping my iPad 3 with an overall worse display. Crisp text is good, but video is where it should wow and it doesn't... it uggs instead.
EDIT 03/25/2012: Things have considerably changed based on new observations. The above conjectures were premature and likely wrong -- at least in part, if not completely turned-around.
Please read later posts.