Posted on November 2, 2012
Here at RepairLabs.com, we thought we’d have some fun with the new iPad, iPad mini, and the microscope. With the long-awaited iPad mini going on sale today and with some of the rumors and hearsay flying about regarding its screen resolution, we thought we’d put all of the iPad generations under the microscope to see what’s really going on with the different display resolutions. People are worried that once they have the Retina Display on other devices they’ll be spoiled and be unhappy with the iPad mini. And they may have a point. Anecdotes abound of people giving up their lightweight and portable notebook computers in favor of the beautiful Retina display:
“In short, I have become a pompous pixel ass. Thanks to Apple,” says Brooke Crothers @mbrookec, in his article describing the joys of Retina Display.
We, as a screen consuming culture, thanks to Retina display, have come to recognize jaggies: those little jagged edges that the human eye can perceive on fonts and pictures where the individual pixels are visible, even if only just slightly, or if you have your nose to the screen. And the real kicker is that once you start seeing pixels and jaggies, you can't stop. I’m seeing them now, typing.
To illustrate the pixel difference though, presents a bit of a problem. Most of us still use screens that aren’t Retina Display, so showing you a picture from a Retina screen versus one from a standard screen will give you the same results. Jaggies. So how can we illustrate and test the actual difference that you will see? We zoom in as close as we can go. In fact we’ve zoomed in to the actual pixels of each of the iPad screens to give you an idea of what you’ll be looking at.
Under our 150 times zoom microscope, you’ll see each block of Red, Blue, and Green (a square of RGB, 3 blocks). Each of these three block are equal to one pixel. The difference in displays is due in part to how many of each of these tiny blocks Apple can squeeze into one inch, or pixels per inch (ppi). (The other part are some very tricky and clever innovations on Apple’s part of how the screen actually functions.) We’ve compared the Retina Display with each of the previous iterations of the iPad along with the new mini in order to give you an idea of what the difference between them is.
Here is our most dramatic example. You can see that the pixels of the iPad 1st Gen are nearly double the size of the 4th with Retina Display. For every one grouping of the RGB block on the 1st Gen, you can see that 6 blocks of color (2 RGB groupings) fit into the same space. What does this add up to? Pixel density. The Retina Display packs more pixels in every punch.
Again in this instance we can see that the iPad with Retina far out preforms the iPad 2nd Gen. The displays on this device and the iPad 1st Gen are basically the same: 132 ppi. On the iPad with Retina Display (4th Gen) the pixels per inch are again 264. It’s literally double the amount of pixels than the earlier versions.
The much-maligned and befuddling 3rd Gen stopgap iPad is not all bad. Hated due to its inferior power and how quickly it became obsolete in in the wake of the 4th Gen announcement, it’s no slouch when it comes to display. In fact the displays of the two are identical, with identical resolutions of 2048 x 1536. (The difference you see between these two pictured is that the 3rd Gen screen is displayed upside-down. Just to keep you on your toes.) At exactly the same magnification, the displays are identical.
The iPad mini is where things get interesting. Its smaller size necessitates a few sacrifices, and the Retina Display (at this point) simply cannot be made to fit the new small chassis, so to speak. But lo! The difference between the iPad 4th Gen and the iPad mini is not that huge when examined under the microscope. In fact, the pixels of the Retina Display are only 2/3 the size of the iPad mini. In the older iterations, the pixels of the 4th Gen are ½ the size of the older versions, or .50. Here, they’re a full 16% (.16, since the 4th Gen’s pixels are 1/3 or .66 of the size of the mini) larger in comparison. This means the difference between the two, is less noticeable. In fact, to the naked eye, it’s negligible. Why is this? Since it’s a smaller screen, the pixels are packed much more densely.
But if you buy and iPad mini, are you going to be sad that you don’t have the glorious Retina display?
So the question remains. Which device is the best to purchase, based solely on displays? If price point is your major consideration, you’ll be choosing between the iPad mini, which costs $329, and the iPad 2nd Generation, a larger size for $399, but without Retina Display. In theory, these displays should be basically equivalent.
But when viewed under the microscope, you can see that the pixels of the mini are much smaller, it looks a little over half the size of the 2nd Gen (it measures in 81% of the 2nd Gen’s 132 ppi, to be exact). The mini boasts 163 ppi, more than the 1st and 2nd generation iPads. The pixels are packed much more densely into a smaller screen.
“No, this isn't Retina, but maintaining the same resolution as a 10-inch display shrunken down to 7.9 means a necessary boost in pixel density: 163ppi,”
says Tim Stevens of Engadget in his review of the iPad mini.
We must keep in mind that, as Gary Marshall (@garymarshall) points out in his definitive article on Retina Display:
“When Apple talks about a Retina display it's not referring to a worldwide standard or a set of specifications. It's actually just a marketing term, and it simply means that the screen has sufficient pixel density, so that when you look at it normally, you can't make out all the individual pixels.”
We must remember that viewing distance is always a factor, and what looks pixelated at 2 inches from your nose won’t look pixelated 15 inches away. So between all these devices it’s generally agreed that Apple has mastered the art of creating a beautiful screen. What’s the difference between devices? Much smaller pixels, packed much more densely into an area. That’s basically what you’re getting when you’re paying for Retina Display. And many will swear up and down that it’s TOTALLY WORTH IT. After all, Retina Display boasts as many as 3.1 million pixels, better than an HDTV.
UPDATE: Sorry for the confusion, folks. I managed to "dyslexic" my right and left on that last image there. I've updated it, so that now it is correct. Thanks, astute readers!
by Curtis Taylor, Tech Expert, Freelance Writer.
This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Rumors, iPad, Uncategorized and was tagged with display, Retina, Apple, pixel, density, microscope, Retina Display, pixels, iPad mini, LCD, tablet, iPad
Posted on June 21, 2012
RepairLabs.com: Opinion, Microsoft Surface.
Is the Microsoft Surface really going to be that different from the iPad? Oh yeah.
When the news came out on Tuesday about Microsoft’s foray into the wild world of tablet computers, I literally thought, “Meh.” Really, how could it be anything other than derivative of the iPad? How could Microsoft even begin to be relevant in a post-PC world?
Dutifully I decided, “Well, I’ll compare. I’ll make a Venn diagram! I love Venn diagrams.” Who doesn’t love Venn diagrams? But in sketching it out, I quickly saw that the traditional 2 intersecting circles showing the where they’re the same and where they’re different just wasn’t gonna cut it. The Surface is…more.
The Surface also acts like an Ultrabook laptop. It has a keyboard built in to its case. It stands on its own as well, with a kickstand built into the magnesium exoskeleton casing. It boasts 2 ports, one USB (a feature I’ve longed for in my iPad) and a Micro SD card, for movie and music portability. Speaking of movies, the screen is reportedly designed in movie screen dimensions to eliminate black bars (whole screen utilized!) and rests at a 22 degree viewing angle, reportedly the perfect angle to view the device.
You will be able to purchase it with up to 128 GB hard drive. The larger version will also have a pen. It will be the only tablet to feature the Microsoft operating system, so Office will be integrated. Given the keyboard and the OS, you can actually work on this tablet. Travelers may find the Microsoft surface a welcome departure from carrying a laptop and a tablet with them. In the future, the device will also incorporate Xbox SmartGlass, a technology that will allow you to seamlessly switch between devices for any activity, including just watching television, so it also has some startling departures from both the iPad and Ultrabook genres.
Besides being an utter bombshell, it’s Microsoft’s first ever self-designed computer. Microsoft took a cue from Apple in terms of product development secrecy. No one was expecting Microsoft, a company that traditionally let others such as HP and Dell develop hardware, to come out with a screaming new little piece of technology. In fact, the Surface designers were a top secret group of hand-picked elites who previously worked on the Xbox development.
Yes, the tablet will forever, as a concept, belong only to Apple. Apple changed the world with its revolutionary design. But the surface just provides more. With its additional features the Surface manages to render the iPad obsolete, an entertainment ‘toy’ instead of a tool with many uses. Yes, the Surface will have hurdles to overcome, as Joshua Topolsky of TheVerge.com points out here. Will anybody adopt it? Can it create a platform to compete with Apples massive App store? Will it be priced competitively? Is it doomed to failure like the Zune MP 3 player?
So, no, it’s not going to be the happy marriage of the iPad and Ultrabook. It’s so much more. It's going to be the mutant rock star baby that the two produce.
-Opinions, Microsoft Surface.
This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Rumors, iPad and was tagged with news, tablet computer, tablet, Intersection, Comparison, Venn Diagram, Ultrabooks, Microsoft Surface, Microsoft, iPad
Posted on May 9, 2012
Here at RepairLabs.com, the same people who brought you the first exclusive photos of the iPad 3 digitizer, we have confirmed the dimensions of the upcoming iPad Mini. Our well-placed source reports that the new iPad Mini will actually measure in at 7.85 inches, which would make the screen quite a bit roomier than expected. Our source confirms that orders have been placed for production in these dimensions. After much discussion in our office, we concluded that when rumor-mongers (like ourselves) mention the 7-inch number that’s being so widely disseminated, they mean the diagonal screen measurement. And really, the main part of the device that we care about is its working surface.
But just for fun, to add a bit of speculation, here is a little food for thought. Let’s assume that the ratios remain the same from the current iPad3. Extrapolating from there, we can deduce this would make the much-anticipated little device measure up at 7.7 inches tall and 5.92 inches wide. The new iPad Mini by these standards would be about 81% of the size of the current. The current iPad 3 now measures 9.50 inchese tall by 7.31 inches wide, so the alleged iPad Mini will be only just longer than the width of the current. On a ruler it would likely measure just over 7” 11/16 tall. We actually broke out the ole’ trusty Pythagorean Theorem to bring you those figures, folks.
To visualize the difference between the current iPad and the purported new dimensions of the Mini, we performed a super low-tech experiment, and hand-drew the measurements on a yellow legal pad. (Compared to the succinct beauty of our Graphic Designer’s vision, my rendition is downright hilarious). In fact, the legal pad itself seems reasonably analogous to the current iPad (minus the legal pad’s header and margins). The reported 7.85 inches, on the other hand, feels like a good, medium-sized appointment book in the hand (but certainly without the girth/depth of a day planner). We’re guessing the difference in ‘feel’ would be equivalent to the difference between carrying around a paperback and a hardback, and the device would be that much easier to drop into a handbag, backpack or briefcase.
Ease of portability, weight, and the ability to hold the device in one hand, have long figured into tablet design decisions, and ultimately, profitability. Market-watchers may also conclude that this new offering means to compete directly with the Kindle Fire or the Barnes and Noble Nook. The Kindle Fire measures 7.5 inches tall, and 4.7 inches wide, while the Nook outsizes it at 8.1 inches tall, and 5 inches wide. The purported iPad Mini would fall squarely between the two in size. And the difference between 9.7 inches and 7.85 inches? It may seem negligible, or it may make all the difference. After all, the iPhone is just so very nicely pocket-sized, and it has managed to carve out a modicum of success.
This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Rumors, iPad and was tagged with artisti's rendition, mock ups, 7.85, confirmed, iPad Mini. iPad rumors, Size, Dimensions, iPad
Posted on March 5, 2012
It's only a couple of days until the presumed iPad 3 announcement, and RepairLabs has been monitoring all of the chatter closely. We've detailed some of the biggest rumors for you below, and you can follow our Twitteraccount and blog Wednesday for updates during the Apple press conference at 1ET/10PT.
Of course the skeptics will say all of the information we and other tech sties have received is obviously some grand ploy from Apple to keep the real information out of our hands. We for one know that are sources are credible and are bringing us real information and parts. While many of the rumors, including the 4G LTE and the quad-core processor, are a little more far-fetched, most of them would be part of a natural progression from the iPad 2.
The last bit of information that we are all waiting for Apple to confirm is the name of the iPad. After last fall's iPhone 4S versus iPhone 5 upset, many are wondering if Apple will call this the iPad 3, the iPad 2S (less likely), or the much-reported iPad HD. For most of us, the name is not as important as the guts inside, and that was proved with record-breaking sales of the iPhone 4S in October. If this new iPad is branded iPad HD or 2S, there will be a bit of backlash, a bit of wonderment, and then everyone will line up to buy it anyway.
Tell us, what rumors are you hoping comes true with the announcement this Wednesday, and what are you going to upgrade?
This post was posted in Opinion, Tablets, Tech, What We Do, iPhone, iPad Accessories, iPad Tips, iPad Rumors, iPad and was tagged with iPad 3 glass, iPad 3 back housing, iPad 3 back case, iPad 3 announcement, iPad 3 rumors, iPad 3