[New iPad Teardown (1)] Difference in Screen Quality

Mar 19, 2012
Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad
The new iPad
The new iPad
[Click to enlarge image]
An enlarged aerial photo of a building displayed on the iPad 2 by using "Map," which is the iPad's standard application. Dots are seen in the picture. The dots are emphasized due to interference, and the actual image is clearer than this image.
An enlarged aerial photo of a building displayed on the iPad 2 by using "Map," which is the iPad's standard application. Dots are seen in the picture. The dots are emphasized due to interference, and the actual image is clearer than this image.
[Click to enlarge image]
Almost the same photo displayed on the new iPad. It is clearer than the photo displayed on the iPad 2.
Almost the same photo displayed on the new iPad. It is clearer than the photo displayed on the iPad 2.
[Click to enlarge image]
The back side of the "Wi-Fi + 4G" model. The upper part of it is made of resin so that electric waves pass through it. A micro-SIM card slot is seem on the right side.
The back side of the "Wi-Fi + 4G" model. The upper part of it is made of resin so that electric waves pass through it. A micro-SIM card slot is seem on the right side.
[Click to enlarge image]

Apple Inc announced a new "iPad" March 7, 2012. It is equipped with the "Retina Display," whose pixel count is 2,048 x 1,536 and resolution is 264ppi. Nikkei Electronics Teardown Squad obtained it March 16, 2012, when it was launched in Japan.

At the first glance, we thought that the new iPad was almost the same as the iPad 2. Though the new iPad is 0.6mm thicker than the iPad 2, the difference can hardly be recognized unless they are placed next to each other.

The new iPad is about 50g heavier than the iPad 2. But we did not feel the weight increase when we held it in our hands. Also, its buttons, switches and connectors are the same as those of the iPad 2.

Before obtaining the new iPad, we expected that its LCD screen was far more beautiful than that of the iPad 2. However, when we compared their screens, we could not find a large difference soon and felt a little disappointed. We searched for high-resolution images on the Internet and displayed some images on the iPads. But the images looked beautiful enough even on the iPad 2.

Still, when we took a close look at the screens, there were clear differences. We could see dots in the names of icons displayed on the iPad 2, but we could not see such dots on the new iPad. And icons were clearer and more beautiful on the new iPad.

We found the largest difference between the two iPads when we used an application for the online edition of the Nikkei (Japanese newspaper). When we displayed an entire page of the newspaper on the full screen, its Japanese characters became illegible on the iPad 2. On the other hand, this problem did not occur on the new iPad. But the difference might not influence the convenience of the iPad much because those characters are usually enlarged for reading.

Also, we found a clear difference when we used "Map," the iPad's standard application that can show aerial photos. Enlarged images of buildings were much clearer on the new iPad than on the iPad 2.

We asked one of our colleagues, "Which do you think is the new iPad?" while showing the two iPads displaying the images. He said that the image on the iPad 2 was a little blurry and the image on the new iPad was clear. So, we thought that the difference is large enough.

What we noticed when using the new iPad was its heat. When we used it for some time by holding it longitudinally, the lower left part of the iPad became warm. It was not so warm that we could not keep holding it, but we hardly felt heat when using the iPad 2.

The new iPad supports LTE though its LTE function cannot be used in Japan at the moment. This time, we purchased both the "Wi-Fi" and "Wi-Fi + 4G" models of the new iPad for comparison.

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