iPad 2's hi res display - ramifications

Discussion in 'iPad' started by maflynn, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

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    #1
    As the front page of MR is reporting a number of rumors regarding the possible 2048x1536 resolution of the iPad 2, I'm curious to know what people here think of the ramifications of making this change.

    First, there's the increased fragmentation of iOS. Now developers will be need to contend with 2 different resolution types.

    Second is the image size on a 10" display, that is how useful will 2048x1536 be the ipad, i.e., eye strain.

    Third is the processing power needed to drive the increased number of pixels, especially if you couple the increased res along with a retina display.

    Fourth is battery life because of issues #3 and of course the higher res display will need more power.

    I'm wondering if apple will offer this as an upgrade, that is, offer "standard" resolution and then a high resolution 2048x1536 display.

    Personally, I find the iPad 1 strikes a nice balance between display size and readability (for my 40+ old eyes). I'd be very concerned about how well the iPad 2 could fit my needs given this rumor.

    Opinions and concerns?
     
  2. Xenc macrumors 6502a

    Xenc

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    #2
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-gb) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Assuming this information is true, this is not a case of fragmentation. The double pixel density simply means that apps will be able to include higher resolution artwork. Pixel placement of interface elements remains the same. This is the same as the introduction of the iPhone 4's higher resolution screen.

    I'm not sure if eye strain will be a problem as it's only the pixel density that's being increased. On screen buttons will stay the same size in real world measurements.

    As for the technical concerns, I don't think the iPad 2 will suffer in terms of performance or battery. It would not make sense to release a product inferior to the one it is succeeding.
     
  3. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #3
    Forgive my ignorance but I'm not sure if this is the same thing.
    The iPhone 4's display had the same resolution as its predecessors, however the difference was that it used more pixels to create a retina display.

    From what I've been reading, the iPad is going to have a higher resolution, i.e., 2048x1536.

    So using the iPhone as the example, developers still wrote apps for the same resolution, but if the iPad's resolution is changing then they would have to update their apps for higher resolution.

    Am I missing something?
     
  4. MeAngry macrumors member

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    #4
    LOL yeah, how do you think the iPhone 4 is able to display more pixels per inch? With a higher resolution! :D

    iPhone 4 has a 960x640 screen vs 480x320 on the 3G(S). The beauty of this is that it's exactly double the resolution of the previous models. The current iPad has a 1024x768 screen, while the iPad 2 is rumored to have a 2048x1536 resolution, which is also, exactly the double amount of pixels.

    That way, old apps look exactly the same as they did before, but text and other default UI elements can be rendered at a much higher, thus sharper, resolution. Nothing will get smaller. Old-style OS'es were only able to do that, make things smaller with a higher resolution, but this is in no way necessary.
     
  5. rosalindavenue macrumors 6502a

    rosalindavenue

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    #5
    Read this: Techcrunch article stating that there is no content available for such a high resolution. The article says a standard def DVD quality video would he the size of a postage stamp, and asserts that pixel doubling would be had for video quality. Another reason I tend to think that this ultrahigh resolution thing is a false rumor.

    http://goo.gl/Das6m
     
  6. Shadow Runner macrumors regular

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    #6
    Just to clarify, it is quadruple the number of pixels not double. Double along the x and y axis but X4 total.
     
  7. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    No, you are misinformed.

    They would have this option but - assuming the doubling (or quadrupling, if you want to be totally accurate) rumors are true - it would not be required.

    The biggest benefit to such a hi-resolution display would be for reading text, e.g. web pages and books. If anything it would produce much less eyestrain and be a much more comfortable experience.
     
  8. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #8
    Ok, so based on responses to this thread, apple is doing the same thing to the iPad as it did to the iPhone 4 - correct?
     
  9. Dagless macrumors Core

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    #9
    Nope. iPhone 4 and iPod touch 4 all have doubled the resolution both horizontally and vertically (or would that be quadrupled?).

    I don't have concerns with eye strain. Never had a problem with my iPod touch and its high density display.
    But battery life and performance would be another thing entirely. Especially if it hopes to run UE3 and other high performance games - the iPad 2 will need a very powerful GPU. Those things use a lot of power and generate a lot of heat.

    Not saying it's impossible. But if Apple couldn't get a G5 in a laptop...
     
  10. ZilogZ80 macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    No one actually knows because Apple has released exactly zero information concerning the new iPad. So the only real answer is - probably.
     
  11. alust2013 macrumors 601

    alust2013

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    #11
    That's what the rumor is. I still can't see it though, that's just a lot of hardware improvements required to drive that display. The 9400m in my computer gets pissed if I try to play Sims on medium-high settings at 1680x1050, and they want to drive 2048x1536 with a dual core GPU?
    I believe the 9400m has 16 cores running considerably faster than the iPad's GPU, so I have no idea how that will work. It seems like that would create huge issues for games.
     
  12. dtlee1974 macrumors regular

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    #12
    Here's how this is going to work (assuming it happens.) They double the resolution from 1024x768 to 2048x1536. Just get "retina display" out of your head. That's marketing crap for "high dpi screen."

    The brilliant part about going with 2048x1536 is that you can run it in 1024x768 without any fuzziness from scaling because its scaling by an integer factor. Thus, current ipad apps can run pixel doubled and would look just like they do now. Games wouldn't have to run at the high res, they could drop down to 1024x768 and look no worse than they do now. While ebook apps could run at full res and give a much better experience. In other words, just because the display is higher resolution, it doesn't mean all the apps have to be.

    I'm still skeptical that they can get that dense a screen into the iPad 2 for a reasonable price, but if they can there are definite advantages. The rest of the tablet market would be dead in the water.
     
  13. colmaclean macrumors 68000

    colmaclean

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    #13
    Imagine a Flash game running in hi-res on an iPad. Asbestos gloves required! ;)

    Possibly a balkanisation too far, but what if Apple are going to offer two different resolutions of iPad? The "Retina" one coming in at a $1-200 premium?
     
  14. lilcosco08 macrumors 65816

    lilcosco08

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    #14
    Hehe. I wonder how fun it would be developing for such a high res
     
  15. fertilized-egg macrumors 68020

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    #15
    Not at all. As others have mentioned, developers are free to use the same old resolution and it'll show exactly the same on the new iPad screen. You get the option of going high resolution, not "be need to" With other platforms you have different aspect ratios and different visual sizes of icon and fonts, etc, none of them applies here. A 1 inch high picture on the old iPad will show as 1 inch high on the new iPad as well.

    That's the beauty of this "2x large" system. Things will show at the exactly same size, but with more detail which simply makes them look smoother. It's not like using Windows on a high DPI monitor which makes your eyes bleed because icons are so small.


    You cannot "couple" the increased res along with a retina display. They are one and the same. From what we've been reading about the new GPU, it looks like there will be more than enough power to drive this new resolution.

    The main battery eater is not the high resolution but the backlit light. If they improved the lighting somehow, it could even use less electricity. Look no further than the iPhone 4 which doubled the DPI but also had better battery life. However we don't know how good the processor will be regarding the battery management at this point.


    My personal prediction is they probably will not. To achieve a large volume production they'll try to put this screen on every new iPad. However I could very well be wrong.

    No, the new screen will make your eyes sing with joy because the fonts will a ton better than the old one. :) Let me repeat this: the text and images won't get smaller, just smoother.
     
  16. blackNBUK macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I can't really understand way Techcrunch reposted that blog; upscaling standard def content happens all the time. Whenever anyone plays back a DVD or watches a SD programme on a HD TV the video is being scaled up. As far as I can see it's a complete non-issue.

    Plus the enhanced resolution wouldn't be intended for video. The benefit of a "Retina" display on the iPad would be that the display would look much more like a printed page (i.e. sharper and more faithful font rendering, sharper vector graphics)

    On the iPhone4 the higher resolution display is something a developer needs to opt-into when dealing with OpenGL. If the developer doesn't do anything OpenGL defaults to rendering to the 3GS resolution and then upscaling. This meant that all the old games worked fine and newer/updated games had the option to use the higher resolution if they could get the framerate high enough. I'd imagine that there will be a similar arrangement should an iPad Retina display be introduced.
     
  17. nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #17
    No, just as iPhone 4 improved readability over predecessor, readability will be greatly increased with higher resolution screen.

    Desktop operating systems (such has Mac OS X and Windows) lack true resolution independence in that controls and text do not scale to accommodate higher resolution screen. In other words, if you compare 15.4" notebook with 1280x800 resolution and 1680x1050 side by side, the former will have larger text and controls. There are ways to override, but implementation is typically not automatic and flawed (i.e., some controls, graphics, and applications won't render correctly).

    Mobile operating systems such as iOS have true resolution independence. Text that measures 0.5" tall on iPad 1 will automatically measure 0.5" tall on iPad 2, but with crispier look to take advantage of higher resolution screen. Controls and graphics will look fuzzier when scaled, but no more so than iPad 1 (since everything is effectively doubled).
     
  18. maflynn thread starter Moderator

    maflynn

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    #18
    But iOS is built from OSX, and loading an iPhone app, and hitting the 2x button certainly produces fuzzy graphics, if iOS was truly resolution independent, I don't think we'd see this fuzziness.
     
  19. fertilized-egg macrumors 68020

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    #19
    While iOS shares the basement with OSX, its top layer is much different. Fuzzy graphics have nothing to do with resolution independence, the devs still have prepare graphics for higher resolution if they want something sharp. However that doesn't mean old iPad apps will look bad on a high res iPad; they'll just won't look any better.
     
  20. nutmac, Jan 17, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2011

    nutmac macrumors 68040

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    #20
    Existing iPads have a 132 PPI screen. When you run iPhone apps at 2X, which scales apps designed for 480x320 3.5" screen (165 PPI) over 8.7" (not 9.7") screen area, graphics get rendered at about 66 PPI. 66 PPI will look very fuzzy.

    If iPad 2 gets 9.7" 2048x1536 screen, you will experience text, native controls, and apps upgraded for iPad 2 at 264 PPI. Graphics from iPad 1 apps will be scaled and rendered at 132 PPI, about the same amount of fuzziness as what you see on existing iPads.
     
  21. GnillGnoll macrumors member

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    #21
    PC games are designed with PC GPUs in mind. iPad games are designed with the iPad's GPU in mind. And if developers care about sales, they will be made mostly with the current iPad's GPU in mind for quite a while.

    A "core" in your PC GPU is not the same as a core of the rumored dual-core SGX543 GPU.
     
  22. Usernames Suck macrumors member

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    #22
    If they don't run anything at full resolution but still put a 2048x1536 screen in the ipad, it won't be worth it because
    1. it would be useless to say you have a hi-res screen if you don't use it
    2. apps at standard-def would look the same, but you would still have to refresh 4x the number of pixels, so you'd still need a much more powerful gpu. (correct me if I'm wrong.)
     
  23. dtlee1974 macrumors regular

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    #23
    If they don't run anything at full resolution but still put a 2048x1536 screen in the ipad, it won't be worth it because
    1. it would be useless to say you have a hi-res screen if you don't use it
    2. apps at standard-def would look the same, but you would still have to refresh 4x the number of pixels, so you'd still need a much more powerful gpu. (correct me if I'm wrong.) ​

    1. I didn't say not to use it. I expect most thing *to* use it. Rendering high res bitmaps, text and other UI elements used by 90% of applications at 2048x1536 is well within the power of the GPU expected to be in the iPad 2. Video is probably not a problem either (but will be scaled from 1080p or 720p anyway). What they might want to drop it back down to 1024x768 for are 3d rendered games. Although, that GPU is pretty powerful and it might even render many of the current titles at full res. But, if some high end 3d game doesn't get an acceptable framerate at 2048, they can drop back to 1024 and it will look the same as it does now.

    2. Yes and no. Scaling is much less costly in terms of calculations than rendering. I suspect that there is probably some specific hardware that would handle the scaling.
     
  24. GnillGnoll macrumors member

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    #24
    Games could use pretty much any arbitrary resolution. 1600x1200, 1440x1080, 1280x960, 1024x768, you name it. With antialiasing and high pixel density they would still look great.

    Practically every SoC with a GPU made in the last few years also has a display pipeline that allows scaling of framebuffers or video overlays with zero performance impact and negligible power draw.
     
  25. redman042 macrumors 68020

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    #25
    This is all very good discussion and I like some of the new angles folks are taking in looking at this. I was a huge skeptic on the idea of a retina display in an iPad, but am beginning to think twice now.

    In particular, the idea that Apple may be aiming primarily to improve text readability and eliminate the screen-door effect, but not necessarily boost 3D gaming or video resolution, is very interesting. It's the most likely way Apple would do this, if they are doing this at all.

    Think about the insane storage space that a video or 3D game at native 2048x1536 resolution would take in the flash memory. You'd need an SSD crammed inside the iPad to store it all, and a RED camera to film the video in the first place. And I agree that even a quad-core CPU and GPU would struggle to run rich 3D graphics at that resolution. I just don't see that as feasible.

    But, as this thread points out, Apple doesn't need to do all that. Existing iPad apps are already pumping out at 1024x768, which is nothing to sneeze at, and displaying that pixel-doubled, with native super-smooth fonts, will look pretty great. Static artwork can be easily updated. And right out of the gate, the text will look far better than it does now.

    Apple has shown that they want the iPad to be a window into the web and a replacement for magazines, books, and newspapers (among many other things). Obviously, if the iPad is displaying text so smooth that it is indistinguishable from a magazine (just like the iPhone 4 does now), that goes a long way towards fulfilling this goal. It's just more inviting to look at text that smooth.

    Well, in the end, I'm just not sure. 2048x1536 is an INSANE resolution even for a massive computer monitor, let alone a flippin' portable tablet device. It sounds crazy. But then again, I never expected Apple to roll out the display that they did on the iPhone 4. When I first saw it, I couldn't believe it. It looked like a plastic overlay with a light shining behind it.

    This thread describes the first plausible scenario for how Apple would make this work. I'll tell you this: if they DO roll this out, along with the other improvements described, Android is DOOMED. And I'm so buying one, even though I have the first gen (hello, eBay!). There's no way I'm passing this up...

    And I might just have to double my Apple stock holdings...
     

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