iPad Mini Doesn’t Cut It For Images

Discussion in 'iPad Mini Forum' started by lecycliste, Nov 15, 2012.

  1. lecycliste

    lecycliste
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    I spent a couple hours at my local Apple Store checking out the iPad Mini and iPad 4 yesterday. (Yes, I know it’s officially the iPad with Retina Display, but no one calls it that except Tim Cook.)

    For a photographer, looking at the iPad Mini’s screen could make you think you need glasses. Critical sharpness of faces, trees and rock features becomes hard to evaluate. Text on Maps and web pages looks fuzzy. Details are just unsharp enough to make you check a couple more times to be sure they’re there.

    You may also be sick of feeling like a packhorse. Most pros and serious amateur photographers carry multiple camera bodies and two or three zoom lenses, usually with wide, constant f/2.8 apertures across the zoom range. More heavy gear like an iPad 4 you really don’t need.

    I like the Mini's small size, light weight and usability. The 7.9 inch screen gives you a keyboard with all commonly-used characters showing.

    I also like Apple's huge app selection compared to the tiny one for the Nook Color I wish I'd never bought.

    But for critical image evaluation on location, this photographer will wait for the Mini with Retina display we should see next year.

    That Mini could have been made right now. It would have had an A5X processor, 2048 x 1536 display in IGZO that would burn sufficiently low power to use existing battery technology in the same small size, and pricing similar to the debut model. Apple instead chose higher profit margins on inferior technology.
     
  2. Somerled

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    I completely disagree. they went for sustainability of the battery and lower production costs. The increase in pixels in a retina screen means an increase in output from the battery and a shorter battery life.The mini was brought out to compete with the smaller tablets already on the market, it was also made with iBooks in mind. The more and more I read about the mini, the more I see it being used in the classrooms even being rented/leased to students both in grade/high school as well as college.

    It was not meant to be a lightbox. As a photographer and cinematographer outside my real job, I use my iPad 3 (with a retina screen) to proof images and as a wifi screen for a friend's Red Epic. For that, the Retina is freaking amazing, but I would not want to drop my screen real estate just to shave off a couple ounces.
     
  3. AQ_OC

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    Where is the evidence that a 326 ppi screen can be produced at 7.9 inches and still meet Apple's standards for quality, battery life, and weight in the resulting mini? Apple is only making screens at that ppi for iPhone 5 and the iPod Touch. 7.9 is a lot bigger and thus the yields are lower.

    I think it is too simple to accuse Apple of always going to profit...they go for creating the best user experience they can with technology that is proven. If they were just about profit, there would be no iPad 4 out today...because they would have held that back until next March.

    Frankly, I find the images on the mini look fine...they certainly look better than they do on the iPad 2. No, they are not retina quality, but so what? The screen is not a high resolution screen. What can you expect?
     
  4. thormcse

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    They are a for profit company and no retina is for profit. There will be a mini 6 months to a year with retina. They trickle out technology to sell and if people didn't buy every time they do this, they would raise the bar quicker. I have enough people in my house that I give them the old and I get the new.
     
  5. mgpitt

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    A retina display would not only cost more it would increase power consumption considerably. For this reason.the ipad 3 was thicker than the 2. All these products are compromises. I guess in designing the Mini Apple decided that thinness and cost were more important than pixel density.

    Also the human eye can't really resolve much above about 200 pixels per inch so jumping from 160 to 320 in the Mini would not have the same benefit as the jump from 120 to 240 had wrt the ipad 2 vs 3.
     
  6. AQ_OC

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    Agreed on the screen. People don't seem to have any consideration for the impact of physics on the design. I would not want a mini if it were not so light. If going to retina adds too much weight (due to more battery) etc, or decreases battery life too much, then I wont buy. For me, the weight is a critical factor. I suspect this will prove true for millions of people, too. It's just too easy to say "it doesn't have retina, I want retina", but it is another thing to make it work in a device, and keep standards and design goals met. Apple did what they knew they could do to deliver a great experience. What they can meet in a year is another matter.

    As for the ppi....Apple will have no choice but to go to 326 ppi, since they need to double the pixel count in each direction to avoid impact to developers and to ensure that all the apps run. So, while 250ish would have been fine, stopping there is not a smart move on Apple's part.
     
  7. Talk2USoon

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    I concur about the images on the mini do indeed look better to me than on my iPad2. For whatever reason I had forgotten to make that comparison. I use iPad3 the most, so I was feeling a bit disappointed but your post set me *straight :)
     
  8. lecycliste

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    IGZO (Indium-Gallium-Zinc oxide) screens typically consume less than half the current of a similarly-pixelated conventional LCD. Add in a processor with smaller linewidths and additional power savings from lower capacitance, and you can approach the power consumption of the current iPad Mini.

    Screen yields at that size would be lower, so the bill of materials cost is higher. But Apple could likely do it at the same, somewhat competitive price and still make a reasonable profit. That profit would be a bit lower than on the current iPad Mini.

    As for the resolution of a retina versus non-retina display, I could easily tell the difference between the iPad 4's and iPad Mini's displays in side-by-side comparisons. Pictures and text look fuzzier on the Mini. No specmanship here, just actual viewing in the Apple Store.

    I've been a commercial and wildlife photographer with published work, and typically carry Canon EOS dSLR bodies and EF L-series lenses when I shoot - occasionally a Leica M8 and Leica/Leitz lenses too.

    I also have 25 years of analog and mixed-signal I.C. design experience in CMOS and bipolar technologies.

    My comments come from that background.
     
    #8 lecycliste, Nov 20, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2012
  9. Talk2USoon

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    I don't doubt your photography based expertise, but I question the (seemingly) accusation that Apple *intentionally held back on a product just to make a bigger profit. If your opinion of Apple is indeed that low, why plan on making any future purchases from them?!
     
  10. lecycliste

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    After many years in the semiconductor industry observing corporate entities, I've seen that a company's marketing and technical people belong to (at least) two different viewpoints.

    I've worked in companies that could be dscribed as engineering-driven, and others that were marketing-driven. As an engineer, I was frequently frustrated in marketing-driven companies putting out less than the best product they could produce. Sometimes it's not that simple, especially in high-tech where you're trying to hit a market window for a product and you have to produce it with limited resources in that confined time frame.

    Apple has the technical expertise to build and sell very polished, high-quality products (and that's what they frequently do). But broadly, I'm frustrated when Apple puts out a product lacking advanced features already available in other models. It looks like they had the engineering in place to produce a retina-screened iPad Mini but didn't. Based on Steve Jobs' original influence as Apple's marketing founder (versus technical Steve Wozniak), and Apple's apparent corporate culture, I'd say the iPad Mini was a marketing-driven product fromn a marketing-driven company with strong engineering.

    The choice of price points and features are just that - choices. I admire Apple's products for their polished quality and ease of use. Everything just works. I make no value judgement of the company. I only wish they'd made different choices.
     
    #10 lecycliste, Nov 21, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2012

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