One of the all time greatest examples of how Apple likes to screw its customers by not implementing features that seem obvious is the whole iPhone app resolution issue. When the iPhone 4 was released, most iPhone apps were updated to 640 x 960 pixels. Most people thought that this would eliminate the pixelation when iPhone-optimized apps are used on the iPad, allowing them to be run in 1:1 instead of blown up four times. Apple, however, “forgot” to put this feature in iOS 4, 5, the iPad 2, etc. To this day, iPhone apps run at a blown up 320×480 pixels on the iPad. If you ask me, Apple is saving this feature for the iPad 3, which with its supposed 1536 x 2048 resolution definitely needs a higher input resolution for iPhone apps, or be stuck with upscaling apps 16 times.
The history lesson on the issue aside, the solution has been available for jailbroken iPads for a while, and with the recent release of untethered jailbreak on the iPad 2, owners of it can finally get this issue resolved too. A $3 app called RetinaPad in the Cydia jailbroken app store fixes this issue by forcing apps into iPhone 4/4S mode. This is done on a per-app basis, either by toggling the apps in the RetinaPad settings menu (in main iPad settings) or by activating it with the pop up prompts when you first start an iPhone app after installing RetinaPad. From then on out, apps will show in the higher resolution. It will still look weird because of screen size scaling (huge text, huge buttons etc), but at least it won’t look like Minecraft.
RetinaPad was the first jailbroken app I installed, and it’s well worth the $3. The fact that Apple hasn’t done this on its own is just another reason why I’m starting to give up on Apple products altogether, even though I still love the iPad itself.
Hit the jump for some full sized images showing the difference between the two modes.