We Have Met the Future

smartphone radioloy

I can’t wait to “pinch and drag” to get a better look at potential abnormalities on a mobile screen!

The New iPad for Radiology

The 2048 x 1536 which you will read in all the current write ups on the newest Apple iPad should be meaningless to radiologists. The 3.1 million pixels are fine and dandy, but those are numbers which bring a yawn to most practicing rads who have been reading on 3MP monitors for ages. The real kicker when looking at the stats for the new iPad is when you realize what the pixels per inch (PPI) means for this device – it’s an eye-popping 264 PPI which really makes things interesting for what I believe will be the mobile PACS platform of tomorrow.

Retina Display Catches Imaging Subtleties

Taking the cue from the iPhone, which has a ridiculous 326 PPI, the “Retina display” on the third generation iPad is shockingly beautiful to witness. It literally makes my iPad 2 resolution seem grainy and antiquated. The Retina display is really what radiologists deal with on an everyday basis with their high-resolution monitors, in order to catch the subtle findings of pathology in medical imaging. The inherent contrast and brightness abilities of the iPad’s graphics processor do fit the needs of both CR and DR modalities. In addition, with a more powerful processor and graphics processor, with improved in-plane switching and color saturation (for looking at the device at different angles), the tablet will do justice to radiologic images.

The New iPad is Home Run

Now, in hindsight, it is absurd to realize that the Retina display on this device is not as groundbreaking as it should be. It is a barrier which could have been pushed earlier. After all, this Retina display was supplied by many companies to Apple, including Samsung, LG and Sharp. Apple, for some reason, has always capitalized on making higher than usual displays, and I am surprised that resolution in commercially available monitors hasn’t taken on the same constant battle of increasing megapixels in the camera market. For the American consumer of electronics, bigger/more usually means better. However, when I recently saw the reaction of consumers to seeing the display of the new iPad in the local Apple store (which is really the biggest update to the device), I knew that it was going to be another home run.

Healthcare Breakthrough

That being said, what Apple has done by pushing this envelope, is to create a 10-inch space where there is just enough screen to look at plain film imaging as a single image. For example, a radiologist wouldn’t having to pan to properly see the whole chest on a chest x-ray. Add in the 4G LTE high speed network, and the breakthrough that this represents for healthcare becomes clearer. The speeds available on 4G beat many home network Wi-Fis currently in existence.

And yes, Apple generously included a Dragon-based dictation system into the new device.

Wow – it’s as if they were thinking of us all along!

In what other healthcare specialties do you think the new iPad  will be useful?

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