Apple’s iPad and the Myth of the HD Screen

Posted Mon Feb 1, 2010 at 11:10 AM PST by

“When I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck.” The obvious logical flaw of that statement is made nice and clear by the debut of the iPad.

The latest gadget from Apple is being hotly debated on every tech website and forum. Is it useful? Is it just an upscaled iPod? Does it cost too much? Is it worth getting if it doesn’t do Flash and will it do Flash in the future?

What seems to be flying under the radar are the strange statements coming out of apple about high definition video. Information about the screen uses terms familiar to those who have shopped for an HDTV. It’s an LED backlit LCD display, just like the newer crop of HDTVs.

The press conference and the press release are both filled with statements about watching HD video right on the iPad. That’s true, technically. You can download high definition video from iTunes or stream HD content from YouTube and watch it right on your tablet.

The problem? The iPad’s screen isn’t HD. It’s not even in a 16:9 aspect ratio. To play 720p video at 720p, you need a screen that supports a 1280 x 720 resolution (921,600 pixels) . The iPad’s got a 1024 x 768 resolution (786,432 pixels) with the old-school television 4:3 ratio.

You can download all the high definition video you want on the iPad, but you can’t “Watch movies, TV shows and YouTube, all in HD,” like the press release says. You can watch HD content in SD, just like you can if you hook your Blu-ray player up to an old computer monitor.

Source: Apple

See what people are saying about this story in our forums area, or check out other recent discussions.

Tags: iPad, Apple, Industry Trends (all tags)