If an upgrade to 2048x1536 screen is prohibitively expensive, would 1280x960 be okay?

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

  1. iPad 2, Mar 4, 2011
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011

    iPad 2 macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2011
    Apple should make the iPhone 5 1280 x 960 and the iPad 3 1920x1280.

    The iPhone 5 would have double the resolution of the iPhone 4s to display two iPhone 4s apps side by side, and the iPad 3 would have double the resolution of the iPhone 5 and four times the resolution of the iPhone 4s.

    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.
  2. Davichi macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2011
    People are so obsessive about retina display on iPad.
    If apple cannot do retina display without maintaining the price at 499, I do not want it.

    10 hours battery life, slimmer design and reasonable cost.

    Retina display is not reasonable at this point. Xoom resolution is higher than iPad, but it's not OMG Better resolution.

    Retina display is not coming anytime so soon. It took apple 3 years to update iPhone resolution.

    I don't expect retina until iPad 4.
  3. iPad 2, Mar 4, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2011

    iPad 2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2011
    Exactly. I 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.

    Plus it would cause a huge performance hit for the system, and eat up the battery as well. Games with decent graphics like Epic Citadel would run like crap on a 2048x1536 resolution. The amount of space needed to store such high resolution textures alone would be very high.

    I also think web browsing would look worse. So few websites and content is designed to support such a high resolution. Few images are at such a high resolution. And the frame buffer would also really eat up all the ram fairly fast.

    And I'm very unhappy with the current resolution. 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).
  4. Lukeyy19 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2010
    England, UK
    1280x960 would not display 1080p without scaling, but it would be able to display 720p fine, i would like a few more pixels on the iPad, after using my iPhone 4, you do notice the lower resolution a bit more, but as you say it doesn't necessarily need to be doubled, as you don't use the iPad as close to your face as the iPhone
  5. iPad 2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2011
    Yes, I meant that 1920x1440 would display 1080p content in it's native resolution, and even an upgrade to 1280x960 would be welcome since it would let you play 720p content in it's native resolution.

    I really think the gpu and battery would have difficulty supporting playing games at a resoultion of 2048 x 1536 though. That just seems too high.
  6. Davichi macrumors 6502

    Feb 23, 2011
    How do you expect iPad resolution to be higher than 13 inch MBP? 13 MBP is right now at 1280X800.

    It will be very unlikely that apple will change iPad resolution anytime so soon. Current iPad display is fine compare to competitions. Xoom only has 150PPI and iPad has 132PPI. That's not bad. There isn't a huge difference.
    Apple has never promised retina display on iPad, period.

    You are better off that they will go into OLED display than retina display.
  7. dlewis23 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2007
    There is a very simple reason why 1920x1440 wouldn't work. It would piss developers off.

    The reason why 2048x1536 works so well is because all devs have to do is scale up there images 2x for width and height and drop it into the app. It makes it super easy.

    Going to any other resolution would just make things more complex.
  8. LiloThePleo macrumors 6502

    Aug 8, 2010
    What exactly is wrong with the current screen? It looks beautiful to me. The only way I can see individual pixels is hold it four inches from my face! Is everyone complaining short sighted :rolleyes:
  9. iPad 2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2011
    Apple is trying to dominate and completely own the tablet market. They also want to be known for high resolution displays, and yet the Xoom has a really nice 1280x800 resolution display.

    The one thing that the Xoom has over the iPad 2 is that it's capable of playing back 720p video natively without any downscaling. I think that would be a really neat and welcome capability.
  10. iPad 2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2011
    I still think this is a great idea worth pursuing.

    Or they could upgrade the iPhone 5 to 1280 x 960 on a 4" Super AMOLED Plus display and make the iPad 3 1920 x 1280.
  11. Yr Blues macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    Once you go retina, you can't go back. :D Seriously. They spoiled all of us.
  12. verwon macrumors 68030


    Jul 26, 2011
    Forget it! The same poster is also trolling with similar stuff about the iPhone in that forum. Thus the only conclusion can be that they want to start trouble and arguments.
  13. iPad 2 thread starter macrumors regular

    Mar 4, 2011
    How is this thread in any possible way considered trolling?

  14. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010
    Yeah still a marketing term rather than actual technology though. It's interesting how much phones and mobile devices are driving display technology at the moment.

    2048 x 1536 probably won't happen just yet. When you go up in density you run into both quality control and engineering problems partially due to the sheer number of pixels that need to function correctly. Even the 27" panels manufactured by LG currently top out at 2560 x 1440. I want to see retina like dual link desktop displays :mad:. It would be awesome to fit high resolution photos across my screen close to 100%. Given that the quality is somewhat seductive on the iphone, I think seeing this on displays in excess of 20" could really look incredible. Viewing high resolution photos at 100% would be completely awesome.
  15. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
    1280x960 = Not worth the upgrade, and really just too small of a resolution bump from the current one.

    1920x1440 = Could might as well just be good enough.
  16. realitycheck69 macrumors member

    Sep 24, 2011
    Current resolution is simply not good enough. Ipad 3 will have a higher resolution, guaranteed.
  17. palpatine macrumors 68040

    May 3, 2011
    The current screen is beautiful. But, it is also blurry, and I can make out pixels from a couple of feet away (the edges of my icons pixelate and text is blurry). When I sit the iPad next to my iPod the difference is remarkable. I don't think I have absurdly good eyes, either (20/20).

    I don't know enough about the competition, scaling, or anything else to predict what Apple will do. I do know, though, that the iPod is gorgeous, and I really want to see a screen like that on the iPad.
  18. thekev macrumors 604


    Aug 5, 2010

    That isn't just a resolution dependent thing. Manufacturers simplify these things quite a bit for consumers. In the end you want a display that looks better and is easier on your eyes regardless of how they achieve this :). The resolution numbers are just part of it.

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