Despite having a much lower pixel density, according to an in-depth scientific analysis by Dr. Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, the display in Apple’s iPad 2 delivers “almost identical” performance to the Retina display featured in the iPhone 4 and latest iPod touch. Soneira added that the iPad 2 “has excellent display hardware,” but needs a software update to address slight issues with anti-aliasing and the automatic brightness controls.
So, basically, the iPad 2’s display hardware is pretty darn good – instead it’s the software that falls a little short. With a few changes from Apple, however, things might be a lot different…
Enhancements to anti-aliasing within iOS would compensate for the iPad 2’s lower pixel density, which is the same as the original iPad at 132 ppi. The iPhone 4, with its Retina display, boasts a whopping 326 ppi, more than double that of the iPad. However, Soneira believes this to be “something of an overkill,” and that pixelation can be reduced at lower resolutions and ppi with anti-aliasing methods.
Furthermore, Soneria found a “bug” in iOS that means the automatic brightness controls on all devices locks brightness on “the brightest ambient light sensor value that has been measured at any point starting from the time unit was awakened,” even after a decrease in ambient light.
Fortunately, because both of these issues are due to software, they’re incredibly easy to fix – Apple just has to make the improvements to iOS and close the gap between the iPad 2 display and the iPhone 4 display. If there were issues with the iPad 2’s hardware however, it would be a different story.
Apple are expected to introduce a new display with a higher resolution to its third-generation iPad, but for the time being, the iPad 2’s display is fantastic if you can look beyond pixel density.