Apple Testing GPU Drivers for Higher-Resolution iPhone Screens?

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Macerkopf.de reports [Google translation] that it has learned from an Apple software engineer that the company is currently testing fourteen different GPU drivers for iPhone hardware, including several drivers for running displays at higher resolutions of 1280 x 720 and 1440 x 800. The iPhone 4 and 4S currently utilize a 960 x 640 display.

According to the report, Apple is testing two sets of seven drivers each targeting either dual-core or quad-core chips. Within each set, Apple is said to be testing four drivers targeting the current 960 x 640 display size, two targeting 1280 x 720 displays and one targeting 1440 x 800 displays.

The report notes that these drivers are only in testing and thus not necessarily indicative of any shipping product. In addition, the higher resolutions are not clean multiples of the current iPhone resolution, meaning that developers would have to offer newly-scaled content to fit the new size, with Apple having to use a non-ideal automatic scaling to allow current content to display on the new device. In the transition to the current Retina displays, Apple doubled the screen's resolution in both the vertical and horizontal directions, allowing lower-resolution apps to be easily scaled up using pixel doubling techniques.

Macerkopf has not been a frequent source of rumors, and most recently incorrectly claimed that iOS 5.0.2 would be coming in late November to further address battery issues. The claim was later retracted after it was said that memory leaks were delaying the public launch. The original report also cited major enhancements to Siri for the first significant update for iOS 5. But with the first developer build of iOS 5.1 being released last week, there is yet to be any evidence of such Siri enhancements.

Article Link: Apple Testing GPU Drivers for Higher-Resolution iPhone Screens?
 

///M5

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The iPhone's screen is just fine. Now do something for the iPad's.
 

Gemütlichkeit

macrumors 65816
Nov 17, 2010
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Great, I'm curious if there would be that much of an improvement. My eyes can't detect any pixilation right now on the iPhone 4's screen when viewing at a normal distance.

The iPad however...
 

Feltzem

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I didn't expect Apple to be content with a lower resolution screen than the competition, even though most have a lower pixel density. 1440x960 would be the most logical of the two.
 

fjanderson94

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Even though these are only drivers I think this adds additional information supporting the iPhone "5" with a 4" screen at a higher resolution to continue making the iPhone display a retina display. 1440x960 sounds good to me, but I think the iPad's display needs more attention than the iPhone's however.
 

HiRez

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Does this calculate to a larger than 4" screen?
It doesn't calculate to any specific screen size, they can make a screen any size in whatever resolution they want. But it makes zero sense to increase the iPhone's resolution without increasing screen size. Based on Apple's own "retina" designation, there would be no perceptible difference to the user.

So it does suggest a larger screen, but it's unclear what size. Somewhere around 4" would seem to make sense. Any less and it's not worth the fragmentation issues, nor can I see Apple producing a gigantic screen that won't easily fit in a pocket. Personally I would be fine with a 4" screen at the current 960x540 resolution, I think it would still be plenty sharp, but it wouldn't then technically qualify to be called a "retina" display, something Apple probably wants to keep.
 

HiRez

macrumors 603
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... Resolution Independence?

:apple:
If you mean true, continuously variable resolution, it's very unlikely. Apple's been working on it and talking about it (to developers) for years, and they still can't get it to work like they want it to. There's just a lot of issues with it if you want to do it well. It looks like they're basically scrapping it and going with the simpler double-resolution technique, although that does force some restrictions. Basically why they need the new iPad to be 2048x1536. Something like 1440x1080 or 1600x1200 would be a lot easier to produce, but it would really mess up the software (not just Apple's, all the third party apps as well). Which is why I don't believe this rumor about a different iPhone resolution. I think a larger screen keeping the existing 960x540 is more likely.
 

marcusj0015

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720P would be a great res for the iphone, but i'm thinking these other resolutions are for an A6 based Macbook Air.
 

McGiord

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In addition to the bigger screen, maybe the iPhone graphics will be capable to drive bigger screens, and things like the rumored Apple TV sets, or docking stations like patent that looked like an iMac?
Remember there will be something "we currently don't need"...
 

fjanderson94

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720P would be a great res for the iphone, but i'm thinking these other resolutions are for an A6 based Macbook Air.
I'm pretty sure the iphone display is much greater than 720p
 

nurnim

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Sep 3, 2010
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Hmmm, I did some math. I'm not that good at math, so feel free to check my numbers.

The current iPhone screen is 960x640 at roughly 3"x2". 1280x720 is 1.33x1.125 that resolution, 1440x800 is 1.5x1.25 that.

If Apple wants to keep the same ppi, the higher resolution would mean a screen that is larger by those factors. My rusty brain and my calculator came up with 4"x 2.25" and 4.5"x2.5", the first being roughly 4.6" diagonal, the second 5.1".

Interestingly, the first one would pretty much work out to a screen that would cover the whole front of the iPhone4/s.
 

blackcrayon

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Mar 10, 2003
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If you mean true, continuously variable resolution, it's very unlikely. Apple's been working on it and talking about it (to developers) for years, and they still can't get it to work like they want it to. There's just a lot of issues with it if you want to do it well. It looks like they're basically scrapping it and going with the simpler double-resolution technique, although that does force some restrictions. Basically why they need the new iPad to be 2048x1536. Something like 1440x1080 or 1600x1200 would be a lot easier to produce, but it would really mess up the software (not just Apple's, all the third party apps as well). Which is why I don't believe this rumor about a different iPhone resolution. I think a larger screen keeping the existing 960x540 is more likely.
You'd still have a problem with a larger screen with the same res though, since the physical size of screen elements would be affected. It's interesting which compromise Apple will take - different size elements, or same size but different resolution elements.

I thought that they might be making the next iPhone have the same ppi as the iPad 3, which would mean the same resolution (or thereabouts), but a physically larger screen - but have the same ppi as the iPad 3. This would at least allow using the same size (res and actual size) bitmaps for each of those. Guess it's also possible they could change the shape of the iPhone to be 3:4 to match the aspect ratio of the iPad but that seems much less likely.
 

the8thark

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Apr 18, 2011
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I do believe this is not for iPhones. I think it's for retina iPad displays. If you change the resolution ratio on an iOS screen. You piss off a lot of developers who have to remake their apps for the new screen size ratios. Apple is not dumb and would not do this.

Also what's the point between the current retina iPhone screen and some super retina screen when the human eye at the average viewing distance can not tell the difference? Wasted pixels if you as me.
 

marcusj0015

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Aug 29, 2011
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Hmmm, I did some math. I'm not that good at math, so feel free to check my numbers.

The current iPhone screen is 960x640 at roughly 3"x2". 1280x720 is 1.33x1.125 that resolution, 1440x800 is 1.5x1.25 that.

If Apple wants to keep the same ppi, the higher resolution would mean a screen that is larger by those factors. My rusty brain and my calculator came up with 4"x 2.25" and 4.5"x2.5", the first being roughly 4.6" diagonal, the second 5.1".

Interestingly, the first one would pretty much work out to a screen that would cover the whole front of the iPhone4/s.
Aspect ratio is completely independent of resolution and diagonal screen size.
 

the8thark

macrumors 601
Apr 18, 2011
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Aspect ratio is completely independent of resolution and diagonal screen size.
This is correct because a pixel is not a fixed size. It's as big or small or whatever shape as you want to make it and as current technology allows.

Stating this cause a few people here do not seem to realise this.
 

nurnim

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Sep 3, 2010
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Aspect ratio is completely independent of resolution and diagonal screen size.
This is correct because a pixel is not a fixed size. It's as big or small or whatever shape as you want to make it and as current technology allows.

Stating this cause a few people here do not seem to realise this.
Which is why I didn't base my calculations on any specific aspect ratio, but on the relative size of the screen, IF Apple wants to keep the ppi the same in both directions. I don't think Apple would want to change the ppi or the size or overall shape of the individual pixels much, because that would lead to distortions with existing graphics. With a screen with a higher resolution and a bigger size relative to that resolution, existing apps could run and look just like they do in the iPhone4/s with the rest of the screen remaining blank and optimized apps could take advantage of the additional screen real estate.
 

runningman1228

macrumors newbie
May 3, 2008
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I'm pretty sure the iphone display is much greater than 720p
Not the case.

720p refers to number of pixels present on the shorter side of the screen. So in the case of the iPhone I guess you could say it has "640p"

So compared to a 720p or 1080p television the iPhone has fewer pixels, but since these pixels are crammed onto a 3.5in screen instead of a 55in the image quality is spectacular due its high pixel density. (326 pixels per inch for the iPhone).
 

leukotriene

macrumors regular
Aug 1, 2008
148
0
Umm...
Nobody's noticed that 1440x800 and 1280x720 both represent different aspect ratios from the current 1.5 aspect ratio of 960x640?

That suggests not just a higher resolution, but a completely different screen design and probably a completely different form factor. This could be the future "iPod": a 5 or 6 inch media player with an aspect ratio of 1280x720 that could AirPlay to an HDTV set without having to letterbox. It would be more like a long rectangle (like an HDTV) and less square-ish than the current iPhone aspect ratio. Perhaps this could also be the future remote control for an AppleTV set since the content on the TV set would scale down perfectly (in terms of aspect ratio) to match the content displayed on the remote control.
 
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