Apple’s new iPad (third generation) comes out on Friday and will bring with it support for retina display graphics. Early reviews are in and they all seem to agree that the screen is simply amazing. Gorgeous, stunning and other adjectives of this sort are commonplace for these reviews. For those not taken in by the wow of the display, the iPad 2 still has plenty of fight left it it when directly comparing it to the newer model. A good number of folks will sit this upgrade out. Those who plan to stick with their iPad 2 will unfortunately find themselves negatively affected by apps that will undoubtedly support the iPad 3.

iPad release

Much has been written about the massive swelling of app size for these new retina graphics. For those who pre-ordered or plan on hitting the Apple Store on Friday, they are able to take into account the increased need for storage. I for one jumped to the 32GB model, simply because of the increased storage space I anticipate for my favorite applications. (Editor’s Note: When I say jump, I’m referencing a jump from my planned purchase of the 16GB model. I currently have a 64GB iPad 2, which was too much for my needs.) I tend to be on the conservative side when it comes to installing apps on my iPad, yet I’m still concerned about not having space for photos, videos and music. I currently have 9.7GB in apps, so I suspect I’ll be clocking in around 20GB of apps once all of my apps are updated to include retina display support.

iPad storage

Our friend Patrick at iPadInsight breaks down how the new retina size graphics will impact storage space.

  • Tweetbot: 22.2MB before the retina display update – 40.9MB after update
  • Numbers: 207MB before – 401MB after
  • Pages: 153MB before – 364MB after

Based on this small sample size, let’s just say double. If you’ve been delicately managing a mix of apps, music, videos and photos to get under the mendoza line, that storage equilibrium is going to disrupted in a major way.

When Apple was building this amazing new display, they should have thought about their existing customers and how it will have impact their iPad experience. Perhaps develop a way whereby retina graphics download only to devices which have that capability.

I’ve yet to see the retina display on the new iPad, but I expect it will bring the wow factor. I also expect to pay for it in required storage. For existing iPad owners, they cannot add storage space. They pay the price, but don’t receive any wow in return. When they purchased their iPads, app size wasn’t as big of a consideration as it is today. They have no options, other then to upgrade their device or start paring down their content. Tomorrow will be a great day for new iPad 3 owners, but others will be paying the price by way of increased storage space for apps that won’t look different then they did last week.