Last month (October, 2012) Apple released the fourth-generation iPad with retina display, as the company is calling it. Reviews of the product are favorable, especially owing to the retina display feature. Before researching what the new iPad feature is, let’s try and get our feet on solid ground with our understanding of the retina of the human eye.

Your retina is the light-sensitive layer of tissue at the back of the inner eye whose diameter is about the size of a nickel but filled with over 150 million light-sensitive cells called rods and cones. Rods help you to see shapes and work best in dim light. Cones have the job of identifying colors and work best in bright light. Both of these cells send the data to your brain through your optic nerve. Light reflected from images enter the eye through the lens and focus onto the retina–very similarly to what happens with the film in a camera, which, when developed, we expect to look like what we saw in the viewfinder. The retina converts the images to electric signals and sends them via the optic nerve to the brain.

Now, of course this physical process is what’s happening when we are looking at an iPad with retina display. And just why is the new iPad described as “with retina display?” Is this anything like one of those standard computer terms, “What You See Is What You Get?” Remember that, WYSIWYG? So just what do we get?

As they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, CNET UK’s reviewer says, “Feast your eyeballs on the new iPad’s retina display…and compare it to the pixelated icons of the iPad 2. Here, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, well, when the subject is a retina, maybe the saying “seeing is believing” is right on. You can click on the link below to access the CNET UK review, scroll down to the screenshots of the newer and older iPads, and follow the instructions: http://reviews.cnet.co.uk/ipad-and-tablets/apple-ipad-with-retina-display-review-50009645/

What do you see? Deferring to the appropriate experts to explain what’s driving the new technology, what we can say from a vision point of view is that the iPad with retina display emerges from the vision examination with a 20/20!