A Few Thoughts On True Tone

Back when I received the 9.7" iPad Pro I published some of my thoughts regarding the True Tone display technology. And while I won't really be going over the topic in great detail again, I do have some additional thoughts on the technology after having using the new iPad Pro for quite some time.

Something I wanted to clarify from my original article is the purpose of my greyscale measurements. Some readers interpreted it as evidence that True Tone didn't work as intended. In actuality True Tone works exactly as intended by providing good relative accuracy. As you move to different environments the color temperature of the display shifts to match how your eye adjusts its perception of white depending on the temperature and brightness of the light around you. This obviously leads to inaccuracy relative to the sRGB standard, but that's missing the point of True Tone entirely. My tests were simply meant to demonstrate how much shifting occurs in different environments, along with a clarification on some misunderstandings I had heard regarding the relationship between True Tone and the DCI-P3 gamut, which are really unrelated technologies.

True Tone works very well, and in a way Apple has proven me wrong here because I was initially skeptical. I've seen this attempted before, particularly by Samsung, and the implementations have not been good at all. When I first got the 9.7" Pro I felt like the True Tone mode shifted too far toward the red. However, after using it for some time I began to realize that this was the product of me using other devices that all shift toward blue, which ruined my perception of the display. When using the iPad Pro on its own for reading or doing work, pulling out another device with a blue shifted display is absolutely jarring, as the iPad has adjusted to match how my eyes perceive things in different lighting, while all my other displays are forever blue. In a way, the biggest problem with True Tone is that it's not in everything, and I think this is something Apple should be bringing to all of their portable devices. 

Apple's Simulated True Tone Image

It's difficult to photograph True Tone, as depending on where your camera's white balance lands the iPad Pro will look too red, or the other display will look too blue. I really recommend checking out True Tone for yourself, although if you decide to do it in an Apple Store you probably won't see the benefits because Apple's other products are designed to look neutral under the same sort of fluorescent lighting as those stores. If you have a chance to try the 9.7" iPad Pro outdoors or somewhere with warmer lighting I think you'll see why this tech is one of the small things that nobody really asks for, but everyone appreciates once they have it.

Display Analysis: Uniformity Camera Performance
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  • zeeBomb - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    About time! As a Canadian: to buy or not to buy... That is the question.
  • sachouba - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    It's funny how the iPad Pro 9.7 is compared with the Galaxy S6, the middle range Nexus 5X or the 6 months old Huawei Mate 8 instead of the Galaxy S7, Huawei P9, Xiaomi Mi5 or other 2016 flagships when it comes to performance, display accuracy, recharging time, storage speed, etc.

    Even with a multicore CPU performance that is not as good as the best CPUs on smartphones right now (the Galaxy S7, for instance), a mediocre contrast (what is the point of having accurate colors if blacks cannot even be rendered properly ?), a price that is way too high, and a battery life that is far from impressive, the iPad Pro is praised in your review...

    When it comes to the conclusion, it looks like Apple has invented the "True Tone Display", although it is only a copy of the 2-year-old and not-much-marketed Adapt Display from Samsung – which works great and adapts the white point according to the surrounding environment. You have fallen in Apple's trap of making people believe they invented everything that is known and unknown to Man thanks to aggressive marketing, which is disappointing, to say the least...
  • Brandon Chester - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    You must have missed the LG G5 in the charts, which is a Snapdragon 820 device. I can't compare to devices that haven't been fully reviewed.

    Also, you may want to re-read the article to find out why True Tone is not the same as Adapt Display, and to clarify some other things that it seems you missed.
  • jlabelle2 - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    Quite condescending statement when what you wrote was : "As you move to different environments the color temperature of the display shifts to match how your eye adjusts its perception of white depending on the temperature and brightness of the light around you."

    Which is exactly what Sachouba describe about Samsung Adapt Display...
  • jlabelle2 - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    Since departure of Anand, Apple product reviews look like PR marketing speech, although the tests and content itself of the review do not match the speech :
    - "It’s not hard to conclude that the display on the 9.7” iPad Pro is the best display on any tablet" : except that the Surface (Pro 4) has be shown as having a better display (proven also by Displamate) and the Surface 3 is also shown to have a better display or at least as good with the huge avantage for someone really after color accuracy that they can be calibrated.
    - "However, the significant hardware upgrades that Apple has made with this new iPad Pro are enough to make up the difference. the 9.7” iPad Pro is only $50 more than the 128GB iPad Air 2 used to cost" : an argument that makes no sense. EVERYTIME the year passes and a new phone or tablet is released, we used to have more power or a better camera or better performance ... for the SAME price. Otherwise, what is the point of the new model ? Except that here, it is more expensive than the previous model. And it is between 100 to 200$ more expensive than the iPad Air 2. And if you want really to take advantage of the real benefit of the Pro (the keyboard and / or the pencil), you need to spend 100 to 270$ !?! Just insane.
    - "As far as performance goes, A9X is still the fastest chip that you’ll find in an ARM tablet" : why restricting tablet to ARM processor ? What does it change for the end user if a tablet is running an ARM chip or a x86 chip ? Especially when even a fanless core M smokes the A9X ? And this is good to make the apology of the power of the "small" iPad Pro but what application is taking advantage of this power versus the iPad Air 2 ? Especially with the 2Go of RAM only ?
    - "In the end, the 9.7” iPad Pro is clearly the best standard-sized tablet on the market." : and here it is. How can it be objectively labelled like this ? It seems an excellent tablet but making this universal statement when it is the most expensive, it has not the best display (when it really counts for some), it does not have the best keyboard implementation, it is limited by its RAM, and the biggest asset is also its biggest issue of course as it suffers from limited external peripheric support and of some powerful application / program that people who want a powerful tablet with a good display usually are after (photo / video editing, graphist...). So the hardware strengths are constrained by the software capabilities.
    Strange wordings and conclusions regarding a overall very nice tablet but with its share of drawback for its intended audience.
  • Lochheart - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    Do you know any 10" Tablet with Core M ?
  • digiguy - Wednesday, June 1, 2016 - link

    Have a look: http://www.onda-tablet.com/onda-v919-3g-core-m-tab...
  • kmmatney - Thursday, June 2, 2016 - link

    I would not recommend an Onda tablet - I bought one myself and it was a bit of a nightmare. There is very little support. A windows update reversed my touchscreen and was a pain to fix. The glass on the screen cracked with very minimal pressure, and finally one-third of the touchscreen simply stopped responding to touch. This was all within 4 months. I finally just sold mine on ebay, with a cracked screen, and telling the buyer that it could only be used with a mouse and keyboard. At least mine was a lot cheaper than the one you linked to, but cannot recommend an Onda tablet...
  • digiguy - Thursday, June 2, 2016 - link

    I am not recommending either, just showing that it's feasible
  • Lochheart - Friday, June 3, 2016 - link

    Feasible... but does it works ? Throttling, Heat, 1h battery life...
    And... Windows !

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