The much heralded Retina Display on the new iPad may seem to be of advantage purely to those viewing films or editing photos. However when looking at the iPad’s accessibility this display is a major advantage. One of the functions in the iPad’s Accessibility Options is Zoom. This magnifies the entire screen and allows you to turn it on and off with a three finger double-tap. You can also change the level of zoom very easily without having to return to the settings.
While Zoom is a great feature, the further you zoom in, the more ‘grainy’ the images on screen become. I only have an iPad 2 and while I was hopeful that the retina display on the new iPad would improve this graininess, I had no proof. After a few futile attempts to get answers out of new iPad owners on Twitter I was forced to go to the Glasgow Apple Store to find out for myself. Armed with a camera I managed to avoid all the blue-shirted staff and change the settings on an iPad to see if my theory was correct.
The evidence is shown in the pictures above. On the left a zoomed in Maps icon on my iPad2. On the right, same icon, same level of zoom on a new iPad.
As you can see the zoomed image on the new iPad is much sharper and the text much easier to read. For someone with a visual impairment, this significant difference might make that extra £70 worth it.
Assistive Technologist, BRITE