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New iPad Sets New Creative Bar for Tablets
CNBC.com | March 14, 2012 | 09:00 PM EDT

The first thing to know about the new iPad is that it's different. Not just different from the first iPad: different from other products on the market.

A key part of that difference is the screen. It's an illuminated plane that Apple's marketing whizzes have dubbed a "Retina Display." The screen's defining characteristic is that when you look at it from a typical distance — Apple says 15 inches, I say about 18 because my vision is slightly better than 20/20 — your eyes literally can't distinguish the pixels on the screen.

The reason? The pixels themselves are so small and close together that the eye can't tell they're dots. The effect is a little like you're looking at reality through a pane of glass. It doesn't feel as though you're interacting with something computerized. It feels like you're controlling an analog reality beneath the glass.

When I first saw the display up close at the iPad launch event last week, the Retina Display struck me as a cool invention that shoppers would probably notice and enjoy. An analyst I spoke with this week, one who's reasonably bullish on Apple, referred to it as an incremental improvement.

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