I saw it in person out on the road around late afternoon 4~5PM. (not from a motor show with all bright lights on the ceiling)
From my view, it was wider and clearer (probably some resolution upgrade)
Previous (up to '11) I-drive screen used to be "embedded", and this one is "sticking out" of the dash, so it "feels" brighter than previous ones without all the surrounding bit of dash.
A lot of people say ipad sticking out, well the screen itself obviously was a lot thicker towards the bottom connecting to the dash.
I really can't say which is better, although i believe previous (upto '11 models) display looked better, flows well with overall dash design, and is somewhat more practical. Considering the new F30 interior design just being BMW (less fancy, more traditionall always), I am the one who believe E90 interior design was BETTER than this current one. This current one just looks cheaper with pretty much same design of layout but bigger buttons and display sticking out...and it is equivalent to 1 series interior...
I honestly can't say this was an "improvement" design, because i don't see any big improvement on this "stick out screen" display. Like many companies do, it's just a natrual change of design on new models (companies designing their screens from flip-up, embedded on top of the dash, put right in the middle of the dash, to sticking out displays)