Questions about the new iPad and Color

iPad 2 gamut in White, sRGB gamut in Green

Apple has made a rather difficult to understand statement about the color of the new iPad. They say it has “44 percent greater color saturation.” That is not a technical definition. Saturation is a linear (gray to high saturation) function, but an increase of 44% on a linear scale would mean a huge increase. If they are referring to the more common “percentage of sRGB” type of figure, than that would be more likely, but is still a pretty large increase in the color gamut of the device. If its in a three dimensional color space, then a 44% increase would be smaller still.

The various generations of the iPhone have all had fairly similar color gamuts (though the whitepoint tends to jump around a bit), and that same, rather quirky, gamut is also what the first two generations of the iPad offered. Reds fall short of sRGB red, green is twisted towards yellow, and blue is high, not offering a deep blue.

This type of small colorspace is all we have ever seen on an Apple mobile device, so the new iPad will indeed be interesting, and has the potential to be a much superior device for photo portfolios and other color sensitive uses; in addition to the unquestioned superiority that its higher pixel count screen will provide. I have a new iPad slated for delivery to my studio on Friday, March 16. So I will take a look at it then, and measure its primary colors, whitepoint, luminance, and other factors, to compare it to other devices. I will put up a post with some of that data once I’ve had a chance to test it.

So stay tuned for another post on this topic at the end of the week. Perhaps I’ll name it “Answers about the new iPad and Color” for the sake of consistency…

Credits: C. David Tobie, Copyright 2012.   Website:   Return to Blog’s Main Page

Published by cdtobie

This blog covers a range of issues of interest to photographers and those involved in the digital photographic workflow, digital tools and platforms, and fine art output.

7 thoughts on “Questions about the new iPad and Color

  1. I’m looking forward to your post tomorrow as I too am excited to know how my portfolio images will look on this new iPad. If the new, greater colour saturation is anything like the Samsung Galaxy Tab, however, I’ll be pretty disappointed. I saw one of those in a store the other day, and the colour saturation was WAY too saturated. (I tested my own website so that I could assess images that I know the approximate saturation of offhand!)

    1. Yes, excessive gamut in non-color managed situations can be very unattractive, as display manufacturers found out when they released wide gamut displays for use under Windows, where color management is relatively rare. Datacolor is working towards a color managed solution for Android, but the wide variety of devices and OS versions there will make it much more challenging than it is under iOS.

      I expect the new iPad to be a stellar portfolio device, the only question I have is whether an update to SpyderGallery may be necessary to support it. Please be patient tomorrow; I’ll need to sync the device once it gets delivered, and run some tests on it, before I can post any information.

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