iPad mini retina image retention

I first read about image retention on iPad mini retina on Marco Arment’s blog. His iPad mini retina had a slight case of image retention which he discovered by [creating and] running an image retention test on his iPad. I used the word slight to describe Marco’s case because his was a minor problem, something had he not run the test explicitly would not have noticed during normal use. Because it didn’t seem something that would get in the way of enjoying the beautiful screen of the new iPad mini, I didn’t give it much thought.

The very first thing, after hooking it up online, I did on my new iPad mini retina was run Marco’s image retention test. It passed, which elated me and squashed what little fears I had. In hindsight I forgot to run the test for ten minutes, hastily choosing a minute instead. I basked in the magnificence of the retina screen and the weightlessness of the device for two whole weeks. It was the perfect tablet: light-weight, just the right size, with a beautifully sharp and crisp screen, a lot of computing power packed inside a small form factor, and a lovely OS to make it all work seamlessly. Then, one unfortunate night after work when I pulled out the iPad from inside the drawer I keep it in when away, I was dreadfully shocked to look at the mess the screen had become. The image retention clearly visible on the screen was horrible. There were crooked lines everywhere, and swiping on the screen caused them to flicker grotesquely. If Marco saw it, he would jump up his chair.

Home screen on my iPad mini with severe image retention.

Home screen on my iPad mini with severe image retention.

I managed to get the iPad returned to Apple. To my surprise, and a little disappointment, Apple outright refunded me the device.

Macro in his post explained why he thought the issue was there. Apple buys retina panels from a couple of manufacturers. Panels from at least one manufacturer exhibit image retention. I think AppleĀ is fully aware of it, and it’s the reason why iPad mini with retina displays are in short supply.

I loved that thing. I cannot emphasise that enough. I will buy it again, when the next batch from manufacturing hits the market.

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iPad

I own a Nokia E72 mobile phone. While I have not owned mobile phones longer than five years, I have in that time span been through two mobile brands. My very first mobile phone, gifted to me by father when I was early on in the University, properly convinced that I didn’t need a mobile phone, was a Sony Ericsson. It was a small mobile phone, the name of which escapes me now. I may still have it, somewhere, in some drawers, lost but not forgotten. I used it until it nearly died out. The engravings on the buttons grew muddled, colour on the handset faded out, the battery dead, replaced and dead again, etc. It would be safe to say, in hindsight, that I used it heavily.

My second mobile phone was another Sony Ericsson. It was the first mobile phone I bought. I was immensely excited the night I bought it, on way from work. The excitement of buying a new gadget is one that doesn’t ever diminish in its intensity, never goes away, no matter how many gadgets you buy. It is there right around the time you decide to buy a new gadget, and lasts well until after you’ve bought it. That was my second Sony Ericsson phone, and would be my last.

After I had made heavy use of it, I slowly moved away from it over to Nokia. I had a mammoth but reliable Nokia E61 lying around, which I was using for testing Symbian applications. Yes, this was roughly the time when I worked on Symbian application development. And that is all I am going to say of it.

My fourth and current mobile phone is a successor to E61: Nokia E72. I loved that phone when I bought it. I still love it in some ways. While E61 could be said to be too, E72 is what you would call a proper smart-phone. It features a lot of things that could help you do all sorts of things on the Internet, besides the usual functions of phone. It also has a full QWERTY keyboard. While I had owned an iPod Touch, I’d not been a big fan of touch screen and touch phones. I strongly believed that I could never be able to reliably use a phone with touch screen as the only form of input. This bias was in part due to my reliance on and affinity for physical QWERTY keyboards on phones.

Over the past couple of months, I was growing a little frustrated with my E72. While it worked as anyone would expect of it, I found that as far as applications that let me run wild on the Internet were concerned, it was severely limited. Sure, there were applications to do anything from using Facebook to Twitter to Foursquare. But I felt stifled. There were browsers but I didn’t feel the urge to browse anything on my mobile, unless it was an absolute emergency. I could post tweets on Twitter, but I didn’t enjoy interacting with others’ tweets. The same could be said of my experiences with Facebook (as far as I can tell, there is no native, official application for Facebook from Facebook for Symbian S60) or Foursquare applications. It just wasn’t fun, or even comfortable.

So for the past couple of months, I had been strictly debating getting an iPhone. iPhone 4S was out by then and it made no sense to get anything below that model. Some friends suggested time and again to go for the iPad instead. Where I was almost convinced that iPhone 4S would be my fifth phone, the recommendations for iPad threw my mind back in a state of confusion. Naturally, I compared the pros and contrasted the cons of both devices. Of course, one is a phone, the other a tablet, but when I compared the iPhone to the iPad, I actually compared it with iPad and my E72. That is, if I were to get an iPad, I would continue to use my E72 for the phone needs. There was a big difference in price as well, with a factory unlocked iPhone 4S coming at an exorbitant 67k PKR locally, while an iPad2 with WiFi cost only 48k PKR.

I still remember clearly the night I was at the club on the courts, playing tennis with my partner. He had finally bought the iPhone 4 a day before, after having looked for the white one for under a week. That night, I came home, and finally made up my mind.

The next afternoon, I was at the Apple Store I regularly buy from, purchasing an iPad2 WiFi with 16GB disk space. I had decided it. As I would find out, it was one of the best decisions I had made in my life in a while.

Those familiar with the different iPad2 models available will know that there’s a WiFi + 3G one available. Apart from having to pay under 10k PKR more, the main reason why I decided against getting the 3G model was the unavailability of 3G in the country. I know that you don’t necessarily have to have 3G to be able to use the connection, because any type of data-plan from your provider, such as GPRS or EDGE, will work. However, as I will explain, iPad is a content consumption device. When I say that it is a content consumption device, I mean it in a massive way. It has been designed for consuming a lot of content, including in the form of video, audio, and text. When I decided to buy it, I imagined myself using the iPad like I do my laptop. And I can’t ever imagine using my laptop over EDGE/GPRS in a way that satisfies me. Similarly, I didn’t think the iPad would shine on an EDGE/GPRS connection.

In the next post, I will explain exactly how the arrival of iPad has changed my life, how it has affected it, how I use it, where and when I use it. I will also list down the wonderful apps I use frequently, and make an argument for iPad being an awesome device for reading books/content in particular.