Test puts iPad mini and 4th-gen iPad screens under microscope

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A repair firm on Friday put the screens of Apple's new iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad under the microscope to illustrate the difference in size between the two tablets' pixels, and expectedly found the 7.9-inch device to fit between the iPad 2 and the Retina display iPad.

The informal inspection, performed by Repair Labs (via TechCrunch), yielded side-by-side images of the mini, the first-generation iPad, iPad 2, third- and fourth-generation iPad with Retina display, all taken from a 150x power microscope.

As seen in the resulting photos, the red, blue and green (RGB) blocks that comprise a single pixel are clearly visible, with pixel densities ranging in size from the original iPad and iPad 2's relatively low-resolution 132-pixels per inch screens, to the 264-pixels per inch panels found in the third- and fourth-generation iPads. Falling between the two pixel densities, but leaning more toward the iPad 2, is the iPad mini's display, which has the same resolution as the original iPad and iPad 2, but boasts a higher 164ppi pixel density due to its smaller 7.9-inch screen.

iPad 2 v. iPad 4
Source: Repair Labs


Comparing the fourth-gen iPad with the iPad mini, the pixels in the Retina display are only two-thirds the size of those found in the smaller tablet. This is in contrast to the iPad 2, which has pixels double the size of the fourth-gen iPad's.

"This means the difference between the two, is less noticeable," Repair Labs wrote. "In fact, to the naked eye, it?s negligible."

iPad mini v. iPad 4
Pixel size of the iPad mini's screen (left) versus that of the fourth-generation iPad (right).


When Apple announced the iPad mini in October, some were concerned that the lack of a Retina display would hinder sales of the device as the company is in the process of moving most of its products to the high-resolution panels. It appears that Apple is positioning the tablet as a completely new sub-market, however, and is using the older screen tech to keep prices down.

Many have speculated that the next iPad mini will feature a Retina display as manufacturing yield rates stabilize to drive down component costs, though at this point the statements are mere rumors with no supporting evidence from supply chain sources.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 42
    boredumbboredumb Posts: 1,408member


    Wouldn't think you'd need to use a microscope with screens of that quality...

  • Reply 2 of 42
    I love this stuff. Since Apple knows that all of their stuff is dissected and analyzed, why not let some great things about the devices get discovered. Great free marketing.
  • Reply 3 of 42
    gtrgtr Posts: 3,231member
    You mean these things aren't made from real retinas?
  • Reply 4 of 42
    eriamjheriamjh Posts: 1,098member
    It's the same pixel density as the iPhone 3GS. I had a 3GS. I thought my eyes were going bad trying to look at text on the screen. When I got my iPhone4, suddenly I could see clearly. It wasn't my eyes, but the screen. Now, for some reason, when I use my iPad 2, I don't have the same issue and it has a lower pixel density.
  • Reply 5 of 42
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    eriamjh wrote: »
    It's the same pixel density as the iPhone 3GS. I had a 3GS. I thought my eyes were going bad trying to look at text on the screen. When I got my iPhone4, suddenly I could see clearly. It wasn't my eyes, but the screen. Now, for some reason, when I use my iPad 2, I don't have the same issue and it has a lower pixel density.

    A little melodramatic?
  • Reply 6 of 42
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    rob bonner wrote: »
    I love this stuff. Since Apple knows that all of their stuff is dissected and analyzed, why not let some great things about the devices get discovered. Great free marketing.

    I'm surprised they didn't inscribe something that says "get a life!"
  • Reply 7 of 42
    apple ][apple ][ Posts: 8,360member


    Have you ever seen the Samsung pentile screens, like those used in the Galaxy SIII under a microscope?


     


    It looks like a mess, and the colors are all different shapes, not neat and identical shapes like on the displays that Apple uses. And yep, I know that Samsung does manufacture some screens for Apple, in case any smartass feels the need to point that out.

  • Reply 8 of 42
    andysolandysol Posts: 2,506member
    Many have speculated that the next iPad mini will feature a Retina display as manufacturing yield rates stabilize to drive down component costs, though at this point the statements are mere rumors with no supporting evidence from supply chain sources.

    And I'll be waiting until May or June and buy it then w/ retina and an A6. I really want a mini, but not enough to sacrifice screen and performance... Just getting it "first" doesn't mean you get it "right". See- google. They're the kings of "first but wrong". Ill wait for the 2nd gen thanks very much. :)
  • Reply 9 of 42

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post





    And I'll be waiting until May or June and buy it then w/ retina and an A6. I really want a mini, but not enough to sacrifice screen and performance... Just getting it "first" doesn't mean you get it "right". See- google. They're the kings of "first but wrong". Ill wait for the 2nd gen thanks very much. image


    There is no sacrifice. I looked at the mini and iPad 4 this afternoon and the resolution was extraordinary, indistinguishable. You'd have to be the princess with a pea under her mattress to find the difference important. 

  • Reply 10 of 42

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post


    Have you ever seen the Samsung pentile screens, like those used in the Galaxy SIII under a microscope?


     


    It looks like a mess, and the colors are all different shapes, not neat and identical shapes like on the displays that Apple uses. And yep, I know that Samsung does manufacture some screens for Apple, in case any smartass feels the need to point that out.



     


    Not Samsung screens.  Pentile screens, no matter who manufacturers them.

  • Reply 11 of 42

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Andysol View Post



    . See- google. They're the kings of "first but wrong". 


     


      they did pretty well arriving late to search

  • Reply 12 of 42
    hillstoneshillstones Posts: 1,490member
    The iPad mini is great to hold with one hand. When you hold the big iPad, it feels like a brick. The screen is slightly sharper than iPad 2, but not as crisp as retina. But text in reader mode in safari was great to read. Finally an iPad that won't feel heavy trying to hold with one hand.
  • Reply 13 of 42


    Why not wait until it comes out in retina? You know it will be the next upgrade.

  • Reply 14 of 42
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    seanorse wrote: »
    Why not wait until it comes out in retina? You know it will be the next upgrade.

    That update probably isn't for a year though. There will always be updates, it's just a matter of deciding when to jump in.
  • Reply 15 of 42


    Originally Posted by SeaNorse View Post

    Why not wait until it comes out in retina? You know it will be the next upgrade.


     


    I'm thinking 2014 on that, myself. Solipsism makes a good point.

  • Reply 16 of 42

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


     


    I'm thinking 2014 on that, myself. Solipsism makes a good point.





    Just remember that Apple had shuffled some executives around and somewhere mentioned that products will be released when they're ready, not based on a cycle.  In other word, when the iPad mini 2 is ready, it'll be released; it won't be released just because April or March crawls around or that November 2013 is here.

  • Reply 17 of 42

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by zeromeus View Post




    Just remember that Apple had shuffled some executives around and somewhere mentioned that products will be released when they're ready, not based on a cycle.  In other word, when the iPad mini 2 is ready, it'll be released; it won't be released just because April or March crawls around or that November 2013 is here.



     


    They've already implemented that with the Mac Pro. It won't be released just because November 2013 is here... or not.

  • Reply 18 of 42

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GTR View Post



    You mean these things aren't made from real retinas?


     




     


    I am amused that the term 'retina display' is really rather silly, however because Apple said it, the entire industry has adopted it even thought it doesn't really have any meaning. 

  • Reply 19 of 42
    "Comparing the fourth-gen iPad with the iPad mini, the pixels in the Retina display are only two-thirds the size of those found in the smaller tablet. This is in contrast to the iPad 2, which has pixels double the size of the fourth-gen iPad's. This means the difference between the two, is less noticeable," Repair Labs wrote. "In fact, to the naked eye, it’s negligible."

    I'm not sure I'm following. Is this saying the difference between the iPad 3 and mini is less than the difference between the iPad 3 and iPad 2, and in fact the difference between the iPad 3 and the mini is negligible to the naked eye? I don't quite agree with that, although the difference between the iPad 3 and the mini is not as much as I had been lead to expect. Text on the mini looks just slightly fuzzy compared to the razor sharp iPad 3. This is with a side-by-side comparison. When I'm just using the mini alone, text doesn't look fuzzy.
  • Reply 20 of 42
    Or is it saying the difference between the iPad 2 and the mini is negligeable? That I can believe.
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