Yellow iPad Display Lottery: Apple Customers Shouldn’t Have to Play This Game

The new iPad has a horrible yellow hue on its Retina Display…or does it? It all depends if you’ve won the iPad display lottery or not. Apple customers shouldn’t have to play the Retina Display lottery when shelling out up to $829 on a new iPad.

A lot of new iPad owners immediately noticed their new iPads had a yellow tint or “warmer” white, especially compared to their older iPads. I did not notice a problem even though I spent all day playing with a shiny new iPad as I wrote our new iPad review. Why not? Because the iPad I bought from a San Francisco Apple store displayed nice bright whites. The Retina display on the black iPad (64GB Verizon 4G LTE) looked absolutely fantastic. In fact, the new iPad display’s whites looked more accurate to me than the whites on my iPad 2, which has a cooler white (blue hue) than the new one.

But that’s not the end of the story. I bought a total of three third-gen iPads for review purposes. I picked up a black 64GB iPad 4G LTE (Verizon) and a white 64GB iPad 4G LTE (AT&T) from the Stownstown Apple store. I used the black Verizon iPad as I wrote the review since I prefer dark bezels and Verizon’s 4G LTE signal is stronger than AT&T’s in my neighborhood. I didn’t the iPad I pre-ordered from Apple until about 8pm on the iPad. After setting up my personal iPad and switching back and forth between all of the iPad floating around my office I began to see what all the fuss was about.

iPad 3 Yellow Retina Display

Good new iPad (top left), iPad 2 (top right), Yellowish New Black iPad (bottom left) and Yellowish New White iPad (bottom right)

As you can see in the above photo, each of the three new iPad displays have a different hue. I set all four, including the lone iPad 2 (top right) to maximum brightness with auto brightness switched off. I shot the photo in a completely dark room.  The iPad 2 (top right) has a bluish hue relative to the new iPad (top left) that I’m using as my personal tablet. The white iPad with AT&T 4G LTE (bottom right) isn’t quite as yellow as the Verizon iPad that I pre-ordered (bottom left), but much more yellow than the black one I bought from the Apple store (top left). I unknowingly won the Retina Display lottery with the Verizon iPad I use the most (top left). Instead of returning or selling it as I’d planned, that iPad is now my personal iPad.

Some people are blaming uncured adhesives, others are blaming manufacturing defects. Whatever the cause, the sample variance is unacceptable. The iPad with the best display out of the bunch happened to have the right capacity, wireless carrier and color. I won the Retina Display lottery by buying three iPads. That’s something that most iPad users don’t have the flexibility nor budgets to do. If you return your yellowish iPad there’s certainly no guarantee you’ll get one you’re happy with. Not to mention you won’t have your old iPad on hand to compare it to.

Many users probably won’t notice the color shift until they compare it to other iPads. However, the yellow displays are enough of a problem to cause people to return them and tarnish Apple’s reputation of consistency. The yellow iPad display issue is very real and Apple needs to do something about it as soon as possible.