Gizmodo posted a clever comparison today on how the pixel density of the new iPad compares with that of the original Macintosh, released in 1984. A single app icon would take up more screen space than the first Mac ever had.
The original Macintosh had a 512 x 342 pixel display with 72 pixels-per-inch. To put that into perspective, the iPhone 3GS has 480 x 320 pixel resolution with 163 pixels-per-inch. The new iPad has a 2048 x 1536p display screen with 264ppi, that’s about 3.14 million pixels or about three-and-a-half as much pixel density as the original Macintosh.
Gizmodo makes a few more comparisons. An icon on the original Macintosh was 16 x 16p and took 32 bytes of memory. That is bytes, not megabytes or gigabytes, just bytes. Currently, iOS apps must be 512 x 512 and take four times as much memory to represent the icon at full size. The icons are only represented at 114 x 114 on the iPad, but even that is seven times as big.
What is remarkable is that the absolute size of the icons remains more or less the same. It’s an amazing increase in the density of information required to represent the exact same object with the exact same meaning. Eye candy is expensive.
Check out the comparison pictures made by Jesus Diaz at Gizmodo below to see just how far technology has come in the past 30 years.