07 Nov 2012

iPad as a Reference Monitor?

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iPad Hero Shot with Hand of User iPad Hero Shot with Hand of User Apple

The new iPad  - now in its second generation only months after the first Retina device - has the highest resolution screen ever seen on a mobile device, with significantly more pixels than even a full HD (1080p) monitor. There's room for a full HD picture and other data or UI elements all round it.

It's not just the quantity of pixels that make this screen great, it's the quality as well. Display metrics specialists Displaymate have posted a report on their website claiming that the new iPad has a "virtually perfect 99% of the Standard Color Gamut".

Displaymate claim that with only a few adjustments, the iPad could be used as a colour reference monitor.

All of which is great news for professional users. But there is a minor issue for professional video users: the iPad lacks a video input.

Of course wireless streaming to the iPad would be one way to solve this, if someone could figure out a way to preserve the colour gamut through the necessary compression and to reduce latency.

Watch out, iPad

It's possible that tablets with better connectivity might overtake the iPad in this role, though. Google's recently announced Nexus 10 tablet has an even greater screen resolution that the iPads 3 and 4 (which RedShark will probably keep calling them).

It's too early to say yet what the actual screen quality is like on the Nexus 10, and how responsive it might be to calibration. But a distinct trend here: some of the highest resolution monitors on the planet are battery-powered, and available for a few hundred dollars.

David Shapton

David is the Editor In Chief of RedShark Publications. He's been a professional columnist and author since 1998, when he started writing for the European Music Technology magazine Sound on Sound. David has worked with professional digital audio and video for the last 25 years.

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