New iPad Is Messing Up Magazines

Images seem blurred on the tablet

Despite its many bells and whistles, Apple’s new iPad 3 has been the subject of complaints since the device’s March 16th release date.

Most recently, Mashable noted that magazines have a poor appearance on the iPad 3’s high-resolution screen. The reason is relatively simple. The magazines are not formatted to the iPad 3’s 2048 x 1536-pixel resolution—a huge upgrade from the previous model, which had a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.

The complaint was first registered by tech blogger Jamie Billett. He noticed that The New Yorker’s text could show up as HTML, or even pop in as an image. This problem is not isolated to the famed literary magazine, but the deficiency is noted in other Condé Nast publications as well as Time Inc. and Hearst titles.

The problem lies in how these magazines export their pages. When the tablet launched two years ago, they published content as PNG files, as they load faster and still remain clear to the reader. However, now with different screen sizes, the images do not appear the same on the iPad 3, and worse, can be pixelated or blurred.

An exception is Vogue, which launched its new iPad edition at the same time the new iPad hit stores. What did Vogue do differently? It used a simple PDF for its content. Now, it’s up to the other publications to catch up.