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Entries in Retina Display (6)

PressReader, bridging the gap between the old and the new

PressReader

PressReader has become a part of my daily routine. Every morning I fire up PressReader and download the latest copy of my chosen newspaper to read during my train commute to work. All the formatting is preserved, everything appears exactly like it does in the print edition of the newspaper, this is a key benefit of PressReader, especially on the new iPad.

I've dabbled with various newspaper apps, but few seem to preserve the character of the original publication. There's something quite comforting about the familiar tight column based layout of a regular printed newspaper or magazine that seems to be missing from many newspaper apps. PressReader is an elegant solution for those looking for the instant delivery of digital technology without having to abandon the familiar pleasure of flicking through traditionally formatted newspaper pages.

Retina display support

PressReader recently gained full support for the Retina display. If you have reasonable near sight vision, even a page of a large tabloid with be fully readable without the need to zoom in on a particular article. This makes the reading experience much closer to a regular printed newspaper reading experience. As shown in the two images below, in many ways the quality of the text and photos is superior to the printed editions. Newspaper print, though higher in resolution than any computer display, is often printed on cheap paper and suffers as a consequence. Those same pages look vibrant and and pin sharp on the new iPad display.

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PressReader

Your very own newsagent

Once you have subscribed to a newspaper, you'll receive a notification every time a new edition is available for download. New editions are downloaded as soon as the app is launched. On a reasonably fast connection, I found that entire newspapers downloaded in under a couple of minutes.

Perhaps more importantly for those using the app without the latest iPad, PressReader can reformat the content of any newspaper, though this means you'll lose much of the feel of picking up a regular newspaper. However, it does mean that those with a non Retina display iPad can read even the smallest of text without eye strain. It's also worth noting that PressReader can read many articles aloud. The quality of the voice synthesis is very good indeed, not the best I've heard, (that accolade belongs to the stunning Ivona voice synthesis) but certainly better than anything else I've heard on the iPad of late.

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Room for improvement

PressReader isn't perfect. Even though it offers 2,100 newspapers, It needs a bigger library of publications. Also, the user interface is not as slick as it could be. But even in its current form, it could well be an ideal solution for those looking to read their favourite newspaper on the iPad.

PressReader is free and you currently receive 7 free issues with each download, so you have nothing to lose from giving it a try.

We mention PressReader on iPad Creative simply because we feel that it represents an important milestone in the life of the iPad. With the Retina display Apple is providing the hardware to compete with the quality of traditional print, PressReader is the app that bridges the gap between the old and the new. You get the best of both worlds, near instant delivery combined with traditional page layouts.

App Store Link: PressReader

Will the new iPad with Retina display mean trouble for photographers?

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As a photographer you'll doubtless want your photos to look their very best on Apple's new Retina display equipped iPad, but have you considered the risks involved? This well reasoned article from Popphoto.com has certainly given us pause for thought. Some of the issues mentioned here will also apply to those who paint with the iPad.

The printed book is doomed

The Telegraph's Shane Richmond puts forth a convincing argument for why the printed book is doomed. Here's a snippet to whet your appetite, but be sure to read the entire article.

"My daughter’s generation will probably have ebook textbooks. They will never experience dog-eared, vandalised, outdated school books, shared one-between-two. They will enjoy books that are enhanced with video, interactive graphics and picture galleries. And they will see these things are the norm. Printed books will be strange relics from their parents’ generation."

We have to say that despite our love of printed books and magazines, everything that we have seen over the last 16 months leads us to agree with Shane's conclusion.

Print still has the upper hand in a few key areas, but as we proposed recently in an article about the possibility of an iPad Pro and ealier in a post about the merits of an iPad with a Retina class display, even those key strengths may soon arrive on the iPad platform.

Have we already seen the iPad Pro?

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, as Frank Poole and David Bowman catch up with news from home on their outward journey to Jupiter, we see them use devices that are remarkably similar to the iPad. As others have already noted, the similarity to the iPad, both in Clarke's description and Kubrick's representation, is quite remarkable. However, we think it might have more in common with the long rumoured iPad Pro.

Not everyone agrees that Apple are planning to launch an iPad Pro, some can't see the point given that it would compete more directly with the MacBook range, while others object to the idea of a larger tablet device claiming that it would simply be too big to be usable. We have long held the opinion that iOS will eventually replace Mac OS X and that the iPad will shortly become the most important computing platform for Apple. During the last quarter Apple made more money from the iPad than it did from all its Mac computers (desktops and laptops) combined.

The iPad is already more important to Apple than the Mac

With that it mind Apple might already be hard at work on the iPad Pro, a tablet computer with all the power and flexibility of a MacBook Pro or Air, but running iOS. The Mac platform has had its day in the sunshine, Lion is a worthy upgrade to OS X, but all the iOS bolt-ons just don't feel right on OS X, unsurprisingly they feel bolted on. The Mac belongs to a different age and that age is coming to an end.

Many of the features that an iPad Pro would need to compete with a MacBook in terms of power and flexibility can be added through upgrades to iOS. For example, iOS 5 brings wireless syncing and slick application switching gestures that make the iPad user experience more complete, but we are confident that iOS 6 will bring some major changes to iOS that will further age Mac OS X.

On the hardware front there are two areas where the iPad needs reinforcing in order to be crowned an iPad Pro.

Computing power

The A5 powered iPad 2 still surprises us with its speed of operation, but there is one area in particular where its dual 1GHz processor and 512MB of RAM struggle. Image processing, both video and still, is pretty slow. It's fine when the video file is optimised specifically for the iPad hardware, as is the case with iMovie, but when it's not optimised, editing is either simply not allowed or it runs incredibly slowly and only via third party apps. Open up Apple's Pages app and try to compose a multilayered document with transparency, shadows and rotated images; it's doable, but only just. More power is needed. This is just one area that could do from a 4 fold boost in power.

Screen size and quality

Take another look at the 2001 clip above, we believe the screen size featured on the Newspad is roughly comparable to a sheet of A4 sized paper (210mm x 297mm). We think giving the iPad Pro a screen that is exactly the same size as the worlds most common single sheet of paper would be an extremely smart move. Another smart move would be to give it a Retina class display. We have written about this at length and believe that most analysts are completely underestimating the impact that a 300 PPI display would have, not only on the computer industry but also on the entire publishing industry.

If the iPad is to take its place in history as the first proper successor to printed paper, then it really ought to at least match, or even surpass, its key features. An A4 sized Retina class display would do just that.

We would love to hear your thoughts on a possible iPad Pro and what such a device might include. Please be sure to leave a comment below.

iPad with Retina Display: Why it would be a game changer

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Remember the first time you saw the iPhone 4's Retina Display with its 326 PPI pixel density? Though not everyone agrees, for us the difference between it and the previous iPhone display was like night and day. Put the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 side by side, turn the brightness up to full and compare the quality. The 3GS looks like a small LCD backlit display and the 4 looks like a smooth piece of film hovering just under the surface of the glass. Photographs look better than they do in print and text is readable at almost any size. Going back the iPad display with its 132 PPI pixel density takes some getting used to.

Recent rumours point to the possibility of Apple endowing the next iPad with a Retina class display (Retina Display being the term Apple use for a screen with no visible pixel steps when viewed at normal viewing distance). We've been saying for quite some time that when Apple increase the resolution of the iPad display that it will increase it by twice the linear resolution of the current iPad display, in other words 2048 x 1536 pixels. What we had not foreseen was that Apple might introduce such a display so soon.

Would an iPad with a Retina Display really be that much better? Yes. In fact, we think it could be a game changer. Here's why.

Better than a laptop display, better than print

The clarity of the current iPad IPS display is roughly comparable to a quality laptop or netbook display. Watching a movie, looking at family photos, browsing the web, all these activities look almost identical on an iPad or a good laptop. Of course the iPad experience is greatly enhanced by its unique user interface and industrial design, but in essence, it looks the same.

Print still has the edge over the iPad display in terms of pure resolution. The fine text in a printed magazine or book is reproduced at a remarkable 2400 dots per inch, massively higher than the 132 dots per inch of the iPad display. The pixel antialiasing that iOS employs smooths out this roughness, but still, the gap in resolution between computer displays like the current iPad and ink printed on paper is vast.

Bumping the iPad display up to Retina Display quality will make all laptop and netbook displays appear like they have been constructed from Lego blocks. Using a laptop again, even one as nice as a MacBook Air, will seem like a huge step backwards in screen quality. Full HD movies (1080p) will look sharper than on any other display available. Photos will be almost indistinguishable from high quality prints. Viewing web pages, especially in portrait mode, will be the best web experience available.

An iPad with a Retina Display would be a much closer match for printed material. A 260 PPI display with pixel antialiasing will render even small intricate fonts in all their glory.

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The iPad with Retina Display will have a 2048 x 1536 resolution

Just as Apple doubled the vertical and horizontal resolution of the iPhone display, so must the iPad display be doubled. There are quite a number of technical reasons for this, not least of which is the need for existing iPad apps to run smoothly on the new display. It worked for the iPhone and it will work for the iPad.

As you can see in the comparison diagrams above, an iPad with a 3.15 mega pixel display would be in a class all of its own; notice how it would take a staggering 20 iPhone 3GS displays to match it in resolution. The benefits would be significant, but there is one massive technical challenge that may prevent such a display from making it to the iPad this year.

Check back later in the week for speculation on this challenge how Apple may have risen to it.

4 innovations that are guaranteed to be in your next iPad, and 2 possibles

There are some technologies that will almost certainly make it into the iPad within the next 5 years. So before the rumour mill starts its crazy spin leading up to the next Steve Job's keynote, we'd like to say what innovations we believe will find their way into the iPad soon.

Retina Display. Estimated Arrival Date: 2012. Getting the the pixel density of the iPad screen beyond the magical 300 pixels per inch barrier is surely a number one priority for Apple. As the iPad takes its place as the rightful heir to the print publishing empire, possessing a screen that looks almost like fine quality print will go a long way to cementing the iPad's place in history.

Dual Core CPU. Estimated Arrival Date: 2012. The current iPad is no slouch, but the Cortex A9 dual-core processor will enable Apple to give extra power to those developers that really need it, but at the same time keep a very close eye on power management. We expect to see the Cortex A9 at the heart of the Apple A5 chipset.

HDMI Output. Estimated Arrival Date: 2011. The Apple TV has HDMI output and with Apple pushing their new instant streaming service it seems likely that the iPad will get HDMI output too. The current iPad has VGA output but due to copy protection restrictions it's limited to 1024 by 768 resolution. HDMI will allow for full resolution output and copy protection.

FaceTime Camera. Estimated Arrival Date: 2011. This has to happen, and frankly, like many others, we were surprised that it wasn't included in the current iPad.

Rear Facing Camera with HD Video Capture. Estimated Arrival Date: 2012… perhaps! This is a tricky one. Using the iPad as a video or stills camera seems a little ridiculous, but if Apple should happen to make a smaller iPad then we see no reason why it shouldn't be endowed with an iPod touch spec HD camera.

Lenticular 3D Display. Estimated Arrival Date: 2015. Some say that the jury is still out on 3D. They would be the same people that say that the jury is still out on colour television. 3D will become a mainstream feature of all displays sometime before 2020, the only question is what technology will be used and how quickly it can be rolled out. Because of Apple's unwillingness to use premature technology, we don't see 3D making its way in the iPad for quite a number of years. In fact, we think Apple may well be one of the last manufacturers to include such a display, but one thing is certain, when they do it will be revolutionary.

Slide-out Keyboard. Estimated Arrival Date: Never. Forget about it, it isn't going to happen no matter how much the luddites rant on about it.

Over to you, what technologies and innovations do you think we'll see coming to the iPad platform? Please let us know in a comment below.