Display Experts Say iPad 3 Retina Display Wouldn’t Be Worth The Performance Hit

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In a shootout to determine which tablet has the best display over at DisplayMate, the iPad 2 came out ahead of the Eee Transformer and the Motorola Xoom. No surprises there.

What might be a bigger surprise is that the display experts over at DisplayMate have seriously approached the idea of whether or not the iPad 3 will get a Retina Display and have concluded that it would be nothing more than a marketing stunt… and would actually lower the quality of the iPad’s display while slowing down the hardware.

Considering the possibility of a 2048×1536 display on the iPad 3, the guys over at DisplayMate note:

The next generation iPad will quadruple the number of screen pixels with a resolution of 2048×1536. This would undoubtedly be a great marketing move but it’s technically an overkill and comes with a large penalty in cost and performance – requiring significantly more processing power, more memory and battery power, plus lowering the display brightness efficiency. Hopefully display pixels will not follow the same path as the camera Mega Pixel wars – because like them more pixels lowers performance after reaching a certain point. Apple had to double the resolution on the iPhone 3GS because its 480×320 resolution was very low. The iPad is starting with a much higher 1024×768 so Apps hard coded for the iPad 1 and 2 can be rescaled easily by the OS up to the new iPad 3 resolution.

Instead of a true Retina Display, then, DisplayMate recommends a more modest upgrade:

Based on the above discussion for an iPad Retina Display, a good technical and marketing compromise for Tablet resolution is 200 ppi. A 1600×1200 9.7 inch iPad display works out to 206 ppi. For the 10.1 inch Android Tablets 1792×1120 works out to 209 ppi. Image sharpness can be considerably enhanced even further with sub-pixel anti-aliasing, but even without it the Tablet displays will appear very sharp at 200 ppi.

Coupled with using an anti-reflection coating on the display to increase brightness and power efficiency, as well as increasing the color gamut and image color saturation, DisplayMate thinks the next generation iPad could have an incredibly display at half the cost of a true Retina.