New iPad: Retina display is biggest improvement

March 9, 2012

On Wednesday, we learned that Apple’s iPad has evolved into viewer’s delight for video, gaming and content, thanks to the tablet’s single greatest upgrade: the retina-display quality screen.

The company took care to show off all the benefits of the new screen, including the introduction of iPhoto for the iPad, high-quality gaming and, of course, clearer and crisper video.

According to hands-on reports, the screen is impressive up close.

“I could see the individual strands of hair of a young girl flying in the air,” The Washington Post’s Cecilia Kang reported from the event.

It’s one thing to talk about the new iPad’s 3.1 million pixels, but what will all those pixels do for the average consumer?

Apple took pains on Wednesday to show what the better screen would mean for users. The retina display is almost critical for running the new version of iMovie, which also takes advantage of the new iPad’s ability to shoot video in 1080p quality.

The company also showed off a revamped version of iPhoto to demonstrate the vividness of the images, a boost for photo editing, which often requires clarity from zoomed-in images. Apple’s head of worldwide marketing, Philip Schiller, also pointed to the display’s clearer, sharper text — none of the blocky pixels that would show up when users wanted to take a closer look.

Apple also made a serious push for gamers with its latest iPad, including demos from Namco and Epic in the presentation. Both companies announced that they would release new titles exclusive to Apple’s iOS platform — probably unwelcome news for the traditional gaming industry.

Mobile gaming has been growing fast in the past few years, with more major studios developing directly for smartphones and tablets.

Related stories:

Apple’s new iPad: The rumor scorecard

Did Tim Cook measure up to Jobs at new iPad event?

Apple iPad goes after the small screen

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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