Great Editorial on iPad's Resolution & Unifying Apple TV, iPhone, iPad & Mac Brands

Discussion in 'iPad' started by iPad 2, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. iPad 2, Jul 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

    iPad 2 macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2011
    By doing this, Apple would be integrating and interconnecting the apps designed for the iPhone 4, the Apple TV, the Mac App Store as well as the new iPad, into one unified development field, that is available over the cloud. I think this is a very attractive option for apple.

    Why Should The iPad 2 Adopt A 1920x1280 Resolution...

    Written by
    Desire Athow

    Could Apple adopt a 1920x1280 screen resolution for the iPad 2 tablet rather than a full 2048x1536 one? It's a possibility that some commentators have put forward, one that would bring the iPad 2 closer to the Apple TV and the iPhone 4.

    The overwhelming majority of full HD televisions on the market have a screen resolution of 1920x1080 pixels (16:9 screen ratio) while the iPhone 4 has a screen resolution of 960x640 pixels, one which can be scaled to 1920x1280 pixels.

    It would therefore be perfectly possible for the iPad 2 to accommodate full HD content with black 100px bars on each side. It would epitomise Apple's quest to deliver the same type of content regardless of the screen and would see the Apple TV, which plays full HD content, move closer to the iPad 2.

    In comparison, a 2048x1536 screen resolution would certainly require more resizing and come with much bigger black bars. In the case of a 21:9 widescreen movie, up to 43 per cent of an iPad 2 screen would be occupied by black bars; not particularly user friendly.

    For iPhone developers, moving to 1920x1280 would help to simplify cross-platform development since moving from the iPhone 4 to the iPad would "simply" mean doubling the horizontal and vertical resolution, something that is not as straight forward with a 4:3 screen ratio like the iPad.

    As an addendum...

    1. The resolution could display apps natively designed for the Mac App Store, specifically the Macbook Pro and/or iMac to run cleanly and crisply on the device. This is because 1920x1280 is very close to the 1920x1200 resolution found on most of the higher end Macbook Pros, and the 1920x1080 resolution found on most iMacs.

    2. With a resolution of 1920x1280, the ipad 3 would playback 1080p videos without any black frames or black borders on the sides. And most websites are formatted to support that resolution, but nothing beyond that resolution.

    3. By having a resolution that is exactly 4x the iPhone 4's resolution, the iPad 3 would be able to run 4 retina display iPhone apps simultanously, side by side. Now, that's multitasking! You could have the iPhone version of Safari opened up and browsing, while you have the iPhone's mail app open to check for new mail, all while you have the iPhone facebook app open (the iPad still doesn't have a dedicated facebook app), all while making a call on speaker phone.

    Basically, a developer could make one app that is designed to run natively at a resolution of 1920x1280 on the iPad, but is modified ever so slightly to run at a resolution of 1920x1200 on Mac (Sold over the Mac App Store), modified slightly to run on Apple TV at a resolution of 1920x1080, and also designed to run on on the iPhone 4 by simply downscaling the app's resolution by a factor of four.

    All four devices would finally share very similar aspect ratios and proportions. So images wouldn't have to be completely redone for each development environment, just a few small modifications would be all that are required to have an app that is designed to work on any apple device.

    Apple is also rumored to be building their own HDTV that can run apps and has Apple TV and iCloud built directly into it. There is no reason why that HDTV can't have a native resolution of 1920x1280, and Apple can also likewise upgrade all future Macbook Pro and iMac iterations to a resolution of 1920x1280. In an year or two, every single Apple device would be running the same identical apps at the same identical resolutions. There wouldn't be seperate iPad apps, iPhone apps, Mac Store apps and Apple TV apps, there would just simply be Apps, and they would be shared over the same iCloud. Pure, simple and very Apple like. Well, the iPhone/iPad version would automatically downscale those native 1920x1280 apps exactly by a factor of 4, to 960x640, but that would be a remarkably easily task that really doesn't effect anything.
  2. blackNBUK, Jul 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

    blackNBUK macrumors 6502a

    Feb 19, 2010
    I just can't see them doing this because it would change the iPad's aspect ratio. As well as changing one of the fundamental parts of the iPad's design this would also force a lot of work on iPad App developers.

    I think Apple screen stratergy is pretty obvious now. There are normal/low DPI screens that range from 166 DPI for the original iPhone to around 100 DPI (I think) for the iMac. In time there will also be a range of high DPI screens that have exactly double the DPI of the respective low DPI screen. The iPhone4 retina display is just the first of these.

    The unknown is how long it will take before double resolution displays become cheap enough. If it takes a long time and the competition starts making gradual increases then Apple might have to change the plan.

    Edit: Just thought I'd note that I wrote this before the OP edited and copy-and-pasted a whole load of stuff from an old thread on the iPad's screen resolution.
  3. iPad 2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2011
    black, Apple clearly can't stay at a resolution of 1024x768. That's a lower resolution than some competitors already, and that's only going to become more prominent by next year.

    People like Eso are saying that the pixel doubling (upgrading the iPad to 2048 x 1536) isn't the only option, that Apple could go to an intermediate resolution and use interpolation to make images look better than they would with simple pixel doubling.

    Also, by upgrading to a resolution of say 1280x960 (the current resolution x 1.25) or 1920x1440, the iPad could play back 720p or 1080p content in it's native resolution without any scaling. And it could display two or three iPhone apps (640x960) side by side for multitasking, once again without any scaling. Both those resolutions maintain the exact same 4:3 aspect ratio as the current iPad.

    I would be fine with that. What about you guys?

    To the people saying Apple going to 1280x960 or 1920x1440 would make things harder for developers, or would cause old apps to look bad, I found this article (about interpolation, something the A5's GPU can easily do on it's own without taxing developer's time) particularly insightful...

    Apple's Embarrassing Predicament

    Some wager that the upcoming iPad 2 will pixel double both axis, similar to what the iPhone 4 did relative to its predecessor, while others believe that it will keep the resolution of the current generation.

    Doubling both axis is a formidable technical challenge and would be a unique, likely expensive display. Continuing with the current resolution would represent a significant competitive disadvantage. As people acclimate to high density smartphones, such as the iPhone 4, the iPad's low density is really starting to stand out.

    Few believe it will do anything in between. It won’t, the common wisdom goes, go to say 1920 x 1440 or 1280 x 960, or any other fractional improvement less than an outright doubling or quadrupling. The logic is that pixel scaling issues eliminate the possibility of such a half measure.

    This harkens to discussions that occurred over 20 years ago.

    It should be an embarrassment that such a discussion is occurring in 2011.

    In the TiPb article linked above the author leads off with a slur towards Android, saying “Either iPad 2 will have a standard 1024×768 display or a doubled 2048×1538 Retina Display, or developers and users will be in for the type of frustration usually ascribed to Android.”

    That makes for an odd, if not outright ignorant, statement: I can’t recall ever reading anyone complain about the density independent pixel of Android, or its awareness and accommodation of a wide variety of profiles. That’s a problem that it has solved very well, and a large ecosystem of sizes and resolutions of displays exist in remarkable harmony.

    Consumers like being able to choose between 3” – 15”+ devices with a wide variety of densities. Choice is good.

    Because of course the DPI issue has long been solved. Otherwise you would be lamenting that your 72dpi word processor isn’t compatible with your 300dpi printer: “Everything prints out all tiny-like”. Is that the case?

    Vector fonts with pixel independent abstractions have been around for a long time (in TrueType and Postscript form), with Apple as one of the primary inventors. Most GUI frameworks, including iOS, have the ability to scale UI rudiments to virtually any resolution and pixel density with ease.

    That is an ancient problem, long solved.

    But what about icons? What about bitmap graphic artifacts?

    In an ideal world icons would come in vector graphic form. That isn’t the case on Android (the platform doesn’t support SVG, including in the browser, which is a huge deficiency), but it is still shocking that Apple, which usually takes the lead on such innovations, doesn’t use them for iOS, as had been widely speculated as a given before the iPhone OS was first released.

    With a vector graphic the rendered image is always perfect for the target, ideally with hints that suppress decorations at very low sizes.

    Even with bitmap graphics, however, while it’s easy to contrive ridiculous examples to demonstrate the worst of scaling, the reality is that given that text should always be UI generated from vector fonts, perfect for the target, and graphics are usually just supplementary decorations, where scaling up or down by partial multiples is often perfectly adequate.

    For your consideration below are some iOS icons (used for fair use purposes but owned by Apple) at their original pixel size, and then scaled to 125% and 150%. Scaling was done using Sinc (Lanczos3), which is a good algorithm to use when scaling up and you want to maintain fine detail.




    The horrors! Just to be clear (as it's hard to imagine what the larger images would look like when shown in the same physical space), we're comparing this to simply pixel-doubling, which would look like the following (cropped to avoid exceeding most reader's screen bounds).


    There is no universe where a straight pixel-doubled image looks better than an interpolated image, unless you have fine detail in the image (like text) which shouldn't be in the image to begin with.

    Not only do they still look great, but remember that in such a case the actual viewed sizes would also decrease proportionally, so the marginal artifacts would be rendered completely irrelevant. Reading some of the blog entries on scaling you would think you’d end up with some sort of blob.

    Not to mention that most iPad apps would be fixed up to handle the new platform shortly after the SDK were released...​

    Also, Eso's post on this was insightful...

    I just don't see 2048x1536 happening. Such a high resolution display at 10 inches with multitouch would cost as absurd amount of money and I don't see how they could do that and still sell the iPad at $500.

    But I'm very unhappy with the current resolution, that is lower than most competiting tablets. I would feel much better even with an upgrade to 1280x960 which would bring it more in line with competing tablets (many of which offer a higher resolution than the current iPad). 1920x1440 would completely leap frog the competition while still maintaining compatibility with most websites and images on the web.
  4. blackNBUK macrumors 6502a

    Feb 19, 2010
    What exactly are you trying to do here? How about you stop editing your posts and stop posting huge chunks of text that you grabbed off other web sites. Maybe then we could have a conversation about this topic.
  5. jb1280 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2009
    This is only an issue concerning competition so long as all things are equal between iPad and competing products besides resolution. This clearly isn't the case.

    Unless Google is going to rev Honeycomb in a significant manner this calendar year, 2011 is essentially over in the Tablet market and there is little meaningful competition to iPad.

    I would argue that Apple can stay at the current resolution through 2013 and be just fine in the tablet market. If someone is really going to buy a different device based on screen resolution alone, more power to them.
  6. radiogoober macrumors 6502a

    Jun 7, 2011
    I do think an iPad screen change is coming in the next version. I don't think Apple is going to be compelled by an argument of playing HD video in a native resolution. Let's be honest, playing video on the iPad is really only useful when traveling or in a hotel or something.

    Also, the idea of running multiple iPhone apps on the iPad, side-by-side, will never, ever, ever happen. The whole point of iDevices is that the device becomes the app. When you load a game, the whole device is now dedicated to playing that game. When you're creating a document, the whole device is now dedicated to creating that document.

    Changing the screen ratio means redoing every app in the app store to look native. That's a pretty big undertaking.... :)
  7. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Jan 31, 2010
    Midlife, Midwest
    Never mind the purely technical issues of going to a high resolution screen. Lets also leave aside also the issues of cost and platform fragmentation such a move would create. Even if Apple were to magically solve all those problems, there is one factor I feel argues pretty convincingly AGAINST any near-term change in iPad resolution: Bandwidth.

    In simplest terms, there is no convenient means of getting high-resolution video material onto the iPad to begin with. (And, lets be honest, high resolution video is the main - if not exactly ONLY - reason you'd want to do it.)

    How would you get high-resolution video on to the iPad?

    You can't rip it from Blu-Ray or DVD discs. At least not legally. And while many people feel the Digital Millenium Copyright Act is b/s - Apple, through its partnerships with content providers, cannot explicitly encourage its widespread contravention.

    You can't get it via the Internet. Or, more accurately, you can't get it quickly enough to be practical. Given the current state of broadband service in much of the USA, downloading high-resolution video simply takes too long. People will wait ten minutes or so for video to buffer. Asking them to wait an hour or so? Never going to happen.

    If you were to look at two of the breakout successes in Internet video over the past ten years, YouTube and Netflix, they are both formats which favor speeds and variety of content, over high resolution. Consumers have shown, pretty convincingly, that they prefer to quickly get a a huge variety of material.
  8. iPad 2, Jul 4, 2011
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2011

    iPad 2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2011
    That was what people said about the rumors that the iPhone 4 was going to have an absurdly high dpi of over 300. People were convinced that squeezing that many pixels into each inch is prohibitively expensive on a mainstream device. Compared to that, pulling off 200-250 dpi screen in the iPad over an year later, is a much easier task.

    You act like everyone is the same and technology is at a standstill, they aren't and it isn't. Blu Rays are actually selling very well, theaters are continuing to make record profits, plenty of people do care about quality and resolution. Not everyone is alike, there is a huge market out there of people who care about quality and resolution and will happily pay a premium to download a 1080p quality video from itunes to have with them on a trip they are going on tomorrow. Plenty of people already regularly download 720p quality video off of iTunes to use on Apple TV, they will happily do the same on the iPad if it was actually capable of displaying that resolution.

    Besides, wifi is actually really fast. I have no difficulty streaming 1080p video off my wifi network with barely anytime spent buffering, and 4G is actually a lot faster than my wifi.

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