Yes, the iPad also got a beastly, new three-core processor and an eight-megapixel camera, but you aren't going to appreciate those as much. There really aren't any programs that can even make last year’s A7 chip really break a sweat let alone this new A8X. And who really uses their iPad much for taking pictures? But I guarantee that every single time you use your new Air 2 you are going to love that gorgeous screen. Whether you are just checking your e-mail, surfing your favorite blogs, or shopping online, this screen will wow you with how nice everything looks. Especially if you’re sitting outside or in your car on a bright sunny day. Outside in the shade, everything looks great. In the direct mid-day sunlight, it looks about half as good as an e-ink Kindle, which is a huge improvement over last year.
Apple excels at prioritizing improvements by how much they impact the user experience. While Samsung was striving to win the spec war in color saturation, Apple was aiming for the most color-accurate display. While Amazon was trying to "out-PPI" Apple in terms of resolution, Apple made their tablets brighter and less reflective. Going for higher and higher resolution is like a contest of seeing who can whisper the quietest; after a while, it doesn't really make a difference. And according to various tests against other brands, the Apple displays have the quickest response to touch. Apple decided to focus their efforts in the areas that customers don't ask for, yet would really be delighted with.
It's hard to explain how exactly having a low-reflective screen helps; but it makes all the colors appear deeper, and you have the illusion of being in a dark room when it's not dark. It's kind of how your television looks better at night with the lights off. Who cares if Samsung's tablet has a broader gamut if a simple overhead light washes it all out? Whatever is displayed on the iPad looks better—a lot better. With my 4th-Gen iPad, lights behind me would reflect onto the screen. I would always have to adjust the angle so that the light wasn't reflected directly into my eyes. Now, by removing a layer of glass and incorporating the digitizer directly into the LCD, there is less reflection. But that's not all. There is also a new anti-reflective coating applied. According to Displaymate, a third-party display testing group, Apple has the least reflective screen in the mobile world in the iPhone 6. I gotta think the iPad is at least in the same ballpark, probably even better.
Look at this side-by-side comparison between my iPad Air 2 and my retina iPad Mini 2. Note the glare reflecting from my kitchen light behind me in the photo. It is so much better on my new iPad. Do reviewers actually use these devices before they write stuff like it's no big deal?
I've read a lot of reviews from some of the big tech websites and came away wondering if they ever laid their hands on the new iPad. It's almost as if they are deliberately playing down how good this new screen is. Why would they do that? To avoid making the owners of last year's Air feel the need to upgrade? To avoid appearing like too much of an Apple cheerleader? I hope not. Because first and foremost, a writer has to be honest. And yes, this new iPad screen alone is worth ditching last year’s iPad Air for.