It's been nearly two months since the latest iteration of Apple's tablet started shipping. In that time, those of us who rushed out to buy a new iPad have been peering into a display with an incredibly high resolution.
The intial response to the iPad's retina display was mostly one of awe, with some concerns about things like app size and battery life. Several weeks later, it's safe to say the upgrade was worth it.
The high-resolution screen is the most noticeable visual enhancement for anybody who upgraded from a previous verison of the iPad. I was replacing a first-generation iPad, so I had a number of newfound advantages. The screen was probably the biggest one, though.
For people who spend lots of time with their iPad, the sharper text and crisper images are a welcome improvement, even if the older-generation models didn't necessarily look bad. Personally, I do about 90% of all my reading on my iPad - from e-books in the Kindle app to articles in Flipboard and my overflowing Instapaper queue. Then there's digital magazines like Wired and Fast Company, as well as other newsreading apps from individual publishers. Across the board, the experience of reading on the iPad is easier on the eyes.
I've started writing more on my iPad, which is a breeze using an iCloud-compatible app like iA Writer and an external keyboard. Writing on the device was never a problem before, but the high-resolution screen makes the experience that much nicer.
Not only is the resolution higher, but images also appear more vibrant. It makes the screen a tad more enjoyable to look at in general, with photos and graphics-heavy layouts being especially inviting.
So, Is App Size Really a Problem?
Around the time that the new iPad launched, the tech press jumped on the issue of whether or not retina-friendly apps would balloon in size and eat up users' storage space.
While some apps are certainly larger, most remain at a reasonable size and don't threaten to eat up too much storage. Users shouldn't worry about upgrading to a larger capacity iPad based on the app size issue alone. It's just not a huge problem. This largely depends, of course, on which apps we're talking about (and in particular, how graphics-rich they are, since that's what needs to be increased the most). The vast majority of apps on my iPad have remained 60 MB.
The apps that take up the most space do so because of their content, not because of the graphics assets used to frame that content. Thus, things like digital magazines and music streaming apps will eat up the most space.
Not every application has been updated to take advantage of the new display, but a pretty good selection of them have. Popular apps like Flipboard, Twitter, Kindle and many of Apple's own offerings were first out of the gate with retina-friendly upgrades. Just this week, the Dolphin browser and i.TV entertainment guide app were updated to add retina support. Spotify's impressive new iPad app also takes advantage of the screen's resolution.
Do you own the new iPad? What are your first impressions of the screen resolution and other key features? Let us know in the comments.