The iPad Retina Display is a Complete Waste of—Everything

The newest iPad’s “Retina Display” is Stupid.

There, I said it.

Holy cow, the crispness of resolution of video or any elements “built for the Retina Display” is amazing to behold. Now, go find something—anything—that actually makes use of the technology.

In fact, ask yourself if it’s even possible for the Retina Display to matter outside of a laboratory. When high definition televisions started to take hold a few years back, and then started to grow in size as they shrunk in price, most experts in the field (as well as many people who can just see) concluded that moving from 720p to 1080p was pointless unless you had at least a 42″ screen. The iPad’s screen measures 9.7″, and the Retina Display is the equivalent of 1536p (or maybe Retina Display is 1536i, depending on how you interpret things). YOU CAN’T REALLY SEE THAT AT 9.7″.

I’m just getting started on this Stupid Marketing Trick.

Even if you believe you can “see the difference” in the iPad’s Retina Display—and I’m in a home with four televisions, the smallest of which is 26″ and is the only one that does 1080p and I’ve convinced myself that it “looks the best”—here’s reality:

There is no 1536 pixel programming

DVDs are 480 pixels deep. Blu-Ray comes in at 1080. Unless you’re planning to watch as-yet-non-existent programming, you’ll never get to use that 1536 pixels that the iPad Retina Display packs in. Literally, it just isn’t possible.

And by the way: because of the way iTunes Stores Apps are distributed, when content creators start making 1536 pixel Apps, you’re going to have no choice but download them even if you have an iPad without Retina Display technology in it—wasting both bandwidth and storage space.

What you had before the Retina Display, was, in short, good enough. So what’s up with Apple’s touting of the Retina Display on the newest iPad?

The answer is that Apple isn’t a technology company; Apple is a marketing company—maybe the best marketing company ever—and they’ve convinced the world that this thing is cool, and matters.

Apple does this all the time. They keep turning out cool products, throwing a ton of marketing dollars and effort behind them, and getting millions of people to buy pretty much whatever it is they’re selling. But the AppleTV is just not very good, iPhones aren’t measurably better than Android phones (I would argue they’re worse), and Macintosh computers get viruses, despite Apple’s continuing assertion that they do not.

I’m not, by the way, on an “Apple is Evil” rant.

Marketing drives the world. Apple is great at it. But you don’t have to succumb.

Do you?

I told you last year that the iPad is really nothing more than a toy. iPad with Retina Display is an even prettier toy when used under exactly the right laboratory conditions. Period.

So let’s get real, please.

More and better aren’t the same thing. This is why you shouldn’t be spending your time producing video for your web site. When someone offers you “more”, before you take it you should ask whether you need it, and if you don’t you might like to stay away even if “more” seems to be coming at you “for free”. Seen Apple’s plans for e-books? ‘Nuf said.

Real enough for you? Before you buy those latest generation iPads, thinking that Retina Display will change your life, give us a call. Cutting through smoke is what we do.

Like I said: you don’t have to succumb to marketing hype.