Apple's iPad 3, Part 1: The Complete Retina Display And A5X Review

Safari Downsamples Your Images, No HD

Web-browsing on any iOS-based device is often a less-than-satisfactory experience. Specifically, when it comes to pictures and images, the mobile version of Safari automatically downsamples any image when it hits the 1024-pixel limit. When an image exceeds that threshold, it's downsampled by every nth pixel, such that n is the smallest divisor that yields an image less than or equal to 1024 pixels.



Apple does this to optimize rendering speed and improve overall browsing performance. The behavior is also inherent to older iPhones and iPads. However, the implication on an iPad 3 is more serious, especially if you are a photography enthusiast. It means that you can't view HD-quality online pictures from sites like Flickr, Smugmug, or Zenfolio in their true native glory because the iPad 3 will reduce the viewable resolution. This also happens if you try to view the JPEG file directly using the iPad 3’s Safari Web browser.

Pictures Hosted On Website, From Camera
Actual Resolution
Rendered On iOS' Safari
Phase One IQ180
80.1 Megapixels
(10328 x 7760)
1.25 Megapixels
(1291 x 970)
Nikon D800
36.2 Megapixels
(7360 x 4912)
1.45 Megapixels
(1472 x 982)
Canon 5D Mark III
22.3 Megapixels
(5760 x 3840)
1.38 Megapixels
(1440 x 960)
Canon 7D / 60D / T3i / T2i
18.0 Megapixels
(5184 x3456)
1.12 Megapixels
(1296 x 864)
Canon 50D / T1i
15.1 Megapixels
0.94 Megapixels
(1188 x 792)
Canon Rebel T3 / 1100D
12.2 Megapixels
(4272 x 2848)
0.76 Megapixels
(1068 x 712)

As far as we have been able to determine, photographers have to import photos directly into iPhoto if they want their images displayed at a higher resolution. (Update, Andrew: We'll cover this in part two, but there is an exception that was originally ignored. It is possible to view the native picture on the iPad 3, but you have select the image in Safari and save to iPhoto. Try pictures at Canon's 5D MK3 Sample Gallery.) In theory, Apple should be able to fix this problem by allowing users the option to disable resizing in Safari's settings panel.



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  • Would an alternate browser affect image display at all?
  • tomfreak
    the requirement to use adapter to use usb and sd card = minus 50% score for any tablet. Period.
  • joytech22
    On the CPU and GPU performance page, there's a typo.

    When comparing the three iPads, the iPad 2 and iPad 3 are both said to be using PowerVR SGX545 GPUs (core-count is correct) while the table below it comparing SoCs the models are completely different and listed as SGX543.

    I smell something fishy, dinner must almost be ready! :D
  • acerace
    love apple ..................... crap android *** copy tabs and phones

    Fail troll.
  • Tc17
    I have a bridge to sell you if you believe this retina nonsense, on a tiny 10" screen.
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Tomfreakthe requirement to use adapter to use usb and sd card = minus 50% score for any tablet. Period.

    My thoughts exactly. I don't care that it outputs 3x FPS over Transformer Prime; the latter can actually integrate into my devices' ecosystem and that's what matters. I'm not buying any tablet or phone without inbuilt memory card reader.
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    Though, of course, it's really sad that Apple is beating Asus on the graphics front. Really, really sad.
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    tc17I have a bridge to sell you if you believe this retina nonsense, on a tiny 10" screen.

    After playing around with most hi-end Android devices AND iPhone 4S/iPad 2, I happen to believe this "nonsense". Everything looks so much more hi-res... but that's only Android's fault. When are they going to fix the menu animation lag and make everything more hi-res? ICS kind of did a good job on it, though, and now it actually looks NOTHING like iOS and is beautiful.

    Of course, the menu animation lag and low-res icons can't make me shift to Apple, especially now that I run ICS on my netbook (try that, Apple... oh wait, your toy MacOS IS already like a tablet OS, lol) - same way that MacOS's ability to take screenshots of a selected area of the screen can't make me shift from Windows/Ubuntu. It's just not nearly enough to compensate for the important features I'll lose. Sure enough, there're tons of people to whom all of them don't matter and they'll just go with the most hyped thing out there, but I prefer to know what I'm paying for. It's a habit that pays off on the long run.
  • killerchickens
    I wish toms would stop using the bs retina display term considering the ipad 3's display isn't even close to the original standard.
  • bernardv
    2048x1536 on a 10" screen? This is a joke, 0 value to 99.9% of end users. A fanboy excuse for throwing money away.

    The author comments it is suitable for watching movies. Which movie is even available in such a resolution??? For watching movies in your lap on 10", 720p is more than enough.
  • acku
    joytech22On the CPU and GPU performance page, there's a typo.When comparing the three iPads, the iPad 2 and iPad 3 are both said to be using PowerVR SGX545 GPUs (core-count is correct) while the table below it comparing SoCs the models are completely different and listed as SGX543.I smell something fishy, dinner must almost be ready!

    Typo, fixed.
  • robot_army
    I was wondering what the resolution used by each of the units was on the graphics tests? does the benchmark use a set resolution for each test, or the native screen res? i guess looking at the 720P results offer a set resolution, but i was wondering if the ipad 3 was runing the graphics at the full resolution of the screen given the textures and games were disigned to run on a lower res screen??
  • acku
    There's an astrick in that table indicating native resolution for the nonoffscreen tests.

    Andrew Ku
  • acku
    Tomfreakthe requirement to use adapter to use usb and sd card = minus 50% score for any tablet. Period.

    This would rule out the galaxy tab 10.1, as it also uses adapters.
  • robot_army
    Thanks, but the reason i ask is the new ipad has about 50-60% gain Vs the 2, but at native resolution has 4x the number of pixels to work on, yet still managed to hit its 60 FPS target, does that mean the ipad 2 wasn't being streched in its test? ie it was just rendering at 60FPS as that was the limit of the display?
  • amk-aka-Phantom
    ackuThis would rule out the galaxy tab 10.1, as it also uses adapters.

    Agreed, I was NOT happy when I noticed that Samsung decided to follow that stupid trend.
  • mrpijey
    I am more than happy to not have the ports on pad. I can do just fine with the built in memory, and I don't need USB or other connectivity. And if I so happen to need it once or twice a year an adapter works just fine. All these built in slots also makes the unit thicker, adding to the weight and reducing the space for more important stuff, such as battery etc.

    But all of us have different needs so I am not saying it's bad with memory slots and USB ports, but personally I can do just fine without them, so for me iPad "3" is a win-win. I skipped iPad 2 since I felt it wasn't a good enough upgrade from iPad 1 (don't need camera, and speed was decent enough). But with this excellent screen AND better performance (compared to iPad 1) and the reduced weight and thickness (again, compared to my iPad 1) I feel I get enough good new stuff to warrant the expense.

    And personally I don't like the current messy state of Android so iOS works just fine for me. Again, my personal opinion so you trolls and haters can go back under the rock where you came from.

    And I wrote this using my Galaxy Tab.
  • rex86
    So they beefed up the GPU, added more RAM, increased the pps almost twice from the previous version, and added 4G support. But they had to increase the battery capacity almost twice, which makes their product one big green FAIL.

    I recommend them spend their $100 bil. USD for example developing more power efficient and powerful technologies, because this is going nowhere. What's next? Battery the size of a truck?
  • how2harry
    I definitely see the appeal of a hi-res screen in a portable device and this feature alone I think will make this product a success and also seriously tempting to me.
    I had the idea of setting up a local DNS and web-server. With some simple HTML5 pages I could then serve all my media library to the device (HD videos, images, music etc). This would be one way round the ipad storage and connectivity limitations.
    (Not sure if Safari can go 'full screen' on the ipad that would help with this though?)
    I was shocked then to read "Safari, does not display high-resolution pictures in their native format."
    I wonder if then if this has been done intentionally to cripple media access to the device through the browser? I wonder if this applies to hd video too? If so I really hope that apple are not that anal and do make a fix for upcoming releases. Then I could have the best of both worlds:)
  • ojas
    hey i just discovered a few days ago that PassMark Performance Test is available (free) for iOS and Android. See if you guys can run it and post the benchmark's results.

    Don't use the "scores" though, they're Apple biased. Tell us the actual numbers, they seemed to be fair.

    i had fun seeing my iPod's A4 doing 66 MFLOPS...and then thinking that my Core 2 Quad does 40 GFLOPS :D
  • lamorpa
    "particularly well-suited for viewing pictures and watching movies"

    Um, pictures possibly, but higher resolution for watching movies is irrelevant. Motion video doesn't need this kind of resolution at all. In fact, it is physically impossible for a human to tell the difference between the old resolution and the new. Nice job drinking the Apple Cool-Aid.
  • cknobman
    Oh gooodie I cant wait to watch my 720/1080p rip of Avatar on a screen that has extra resolution that will absolutely make no difference!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Apple here is my $600!!!!!

  • thor1310
    That is just damned impressive. I might have to go get one of these.
  • A Bad Day
    Looks interesting, a shame that the price tag is too high even for someone who hadn't touched an Apple product other than their early 2000's computers.