Why the next iPad must have Retina Display (and why it’s right not to have it on iPad 2)

There has been quite some rumors saying that Apple is already designed and produced the next iPad with Retina Display, the display technology that has been used on the iPhone 4 and the recent 4S, and there are already a few manufacturers have named for the production of the display, in rumors that is.

Before the iPad 2 getting announced (the second last keynote by Steve Jobs), early adopters of original iPad were anticipating Retina Display on the new iPad as there are some findings in the iOS codes lead to that belief. However, even though iPad 2 has a slightly new design and generally thinner and lighter, the display is exactly the same as in the original iPad. Disappointed, but it’s right not to have it on iPad 2. 

It’s right for not having Retina Display on iPad 2…

It is certainly disappointing that the iPad 2 has no Retina Display, but it is a right thing to do by Apple Inc. in my opinion. Why?

Weight reduction is important

While the original iPad is so much lighter than the conventional laptop, but let’s face it, it still have a quite significant weight (1.5 lb or 680 g for WiFi-only version), especially if the user holding it with one hand which is pretty normal (I have an original iPad, so yeah, I know it). Getting the same IPS display at 1024×768 on the iPad 2 is so natural in manufacturer point of view – the production technology has matured which contributed to the cheaper price and thus lighter weight since more cost can be pushed to other components. Getting the tablet device weight reduced is so much important than having a high-resolution display but heavy weight.

Digital reading contents for Apple is still growing

Even though iPad is advertised to be a multimedia devices, it also changes the way people consuming reading materials. Of course, Kindle is already there for quite some time, but frankly, I do not find the e-ink display equipped tablet interesting, especially the ugly screen flashing during the page turn, for example (The new color e-ink and mirasol display, however, look interesting). Though eBook industry is still pretty new to Apple, and only recently that the Newsstand is released in the new iOS 5, so it will take some time for it to grow. With the IPS display that iPad has, it is already adequate to become a good reading device.        

Lack of multimedia content production

Lacking the push in multimedia content production in both Apple and Third Party App developers also one of the reason that iPad 2 doesn’t need a high-resolution display, in my opinion. While there are already a few highly rated apps made by Apple such as Garage Band and iMovies available alongside with the launch of iPad 2, they are still not enough making the iPad a multimedia production house. However, there are already several apps from Adobe in the work, such as Photoshop Touch, for example, which I think can help in defining the iPad as a producer, rather than a consumer.

Retina display could make it more expensive

If the Retina Display for iPad is in the similar trend to that of in iPhone 4, which is a double of the resolution and double of the ppi, that would result in a whooping 2048×1536 @ 264 ppi. That is a massive move in terms of screen resolution, and I would presume even the latest A5 Dual Core processor in the iPad 2 doesn’t have enough juice to drive this resolution, especially in 3D gaming scene. The current mainstream screen resolution would be 1920×1080 (according to Wikipedia) and for gaming at this resolution natively, it would require a set of impressive hardware which I couldn’t imagine all of these to be packed in a tablet device. So double the screen resolution, probably a double/quadruple of the processing power is needed and thus – higher price point.

…But it’s time for Retina Display in the next iPad

Despite all of possible reasons for not having Retina Display on the iPad 2, the next iPad (most probably named iPad 3 or iPad HD) must have the high-resolution display. Here’s my take on it:

Next generation hardware

I doesn’t born early enough to witness the history of Apple Inc., but ever since Apple have their first iPhone released, they seems to have adapted to a trend in their product life cycle – hardware and technology improvement on every new product. So, it is definitely not surprising for the next iPad to have a huge upgrade in the specification, at least on the processor (probably Apple A6 quad-core?) that can possibly handle that huge resolution at ease. The current Apple A5 chipset is already pretty good, and I think the next will be really great. Retina Display? Most likely won’t be a problem.

iPad is getting mature

The original iPad starts shipping around April 2010, and I still remember it is not an OK when it starts shipping with iOS 3. But now with the released iOS 5, the iPad becomes more usable and started to be inline with the Post-PC era that is always mentioned by Steve Jobs. So with all the lessons learned in the first two iPads and the platform is getting matured, it’s time for better iPad.

Pixelated texts doesn’t help in reading

I must admit that the current texts display on the iPad isn’t that bad, but it isn’t that great either. Ever since I have an iPad, I have done most of the readings on it and it does the job fantastically, except the pixelated texts which is pretty annoying sometimes (I am a pixel-perfect guy, so yeah). So, Retina Display on the iPad can definitely help in pushing it becoming a great reading device that feels natural.

Making it a tool for Professionals

With the higher resolution display, there are a lot more things can be done with high precision using it by professionals, such as Photographer, Drawing Artist, Film Maker, Surgeon, just to name a few. There will be more third-party apps that can make full use of the high-resolution display and create wonder.


There are already tons of rumors talking about such display in the next iPad (though there are also similar rumors for iPad 2), but I am keeping my finger crossed for this one. I don’t mind if the design is the same as iPad 2 (similar in iPhone 4S if you know what I mean), but a Retina Display (and some other improvements) is a must in the next iPad – in my opinion.


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