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Folks couldnt see screen difference!


iPF Noob
Mar 30, 2012
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This is exactly what happened to me when I first set eyes on the iPad 3! I walked into Best Buy on launch day ready to make a purchase. When I got to the display models I was like, "where are the new iPads??". The best buy sales associate said "you're looking at 'em!". I couldn't tell at first which was which just by looking at the home screens. The distinction wasn't apparent right away. I thought it was just me, so then I compared the 2 & 3 side by side, brightness maxed, loaded the same pics and websites (used NY Times picture gallery) and finally saw the difference in the fonts. The pics not so much... I even conducted my poll in the store asking customers passing by which pics looked better or which of the two they thought was the new iPad. Most of them either couldn't tell or picked the iPad 2! (probably because the colors on the 2 looked warmer) I walked out without buying one. However, I convinced myself to go ahead and get one the next day. They were out of the 32 gig in white, so I bought the 16 gig model.

Now that I use both the 2 & 3 on a daily basis (the 2 is my company assigned work iPad), the difference is glaring. As a previous poster said earlier, my eyes got used to the higher resolution of the 3, and when I get on the 2 I could see the difference immediately. Every time I read PDFs on the 2 I feel like I need new glasses lol!


iPF Noob
Dec 30, 2011
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If you read PDF of articles from technical journals, then you can see the difference immediately. Reading tiny type on webpages shows the difference immediately. But I would say that for most people who just look at the screen from 15inches to 2 ft away aren't going to see any difference. For a 10-inch display, you need to be within 1ft of the screen to tell 1080p from 720p. I think most people will view beyond this distance. But when I'm reading, I'm near a foot from the screen, give or take depending on what I'm going. Sometimes much farther away, but sometimes within 1 ft, if I'm reading something very intently. Since I do a lot of this kind of reading, this upgrade is a complete no-brainer for me. And the 4G LTE is a lovely thing to have on a tablet. Having better than wifi speed when on travel is something that will spoil you rotten.

Consider this though...

The iPad is a 9.7 inch display, so assuming a 4:3 aspect, which it is, then when held in landscape mode that's 5.82 inches high (no I can't be bothered actually measuring it :p)

On the iPad1/2, you had 768 pixels in this space, which is 0.007578125 inches per pixel. Now the general policy seems to be that most people with decent vision can resolve one arc-minute, which is a 60th of a degree. So if we take this figure and multiply it up by 60*360 we get 163.6875 inches. That's the circumference of the theoretical sphere where an observer sat in the centre could just resolve the pixels on an iPad1/2 display. So dividing down by 2*Pi gives us a radius of just over 26 inches.

So, just as Apple claim you can't distinguish individual pixels on the iPad3 when viewed from around 12 inches away, the same holds when viewing an iPad1/2 display from 26 inches away. Put another way, any closer than 26 inches and anyone with decent eyesight should be able to discern the difference between the two displays, getting more obvious as they get closer obviously.

I know everyone's vision differs and some will be better and some worse but, assuming normal viewing distances of 12-15 inches, as Apple claims is the case, if someone genuinely can't see any difference between the two displays then they need their eyes tested.

In fairness I should also point out that our ability to distinguish individual pixels also depends on what's being displayed. We're far more sensitive to high-contrast changes and 'edges' on things than we care to gradual changes. So on a photograph, for example, which contains mainly smooth gradients of tone and colour, it's much harder to tell the difference than it is when viewing black-on-white text. This is also the case with the age-old 720p vs 1080p argument with TVs. It's often hard to tell the difference when watching most movies as they contain mainly smooth gradients of change from pixel to pixel. It shows up most on hard edges and text. You only have to view animated stuff from the likes of Pixar, which contains many more high-contrast edges than usual, to see a huge difference between 720p and 1080p, even from distances where most 'normal' movies would look much the same.

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