iPad iOS4.2 and iPhone 4 retina display support - good or bad idea?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by rhildinger, Sep 14, 2010.

  1. rhildinger macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2006
    For starters, let me say that I'm not trying to stir up FUD here, and I have no insider information into Apple's plans regarding iOS4.2...

    I've noticed that the topic of running iPhone 4 apps with retina display support on an iPad with iOS 4.2 hasn't really been specifically covered by Apple, unless of course I'm an idiot and I completely missed it, which is entirely possible. Currently these apps are run at 320x480 res, with the option of pixel-doubling to 640x960. It is my belief that iOS 4.2 will bring support for running retina apps at their native 640x960 resolution, but I haven't seen any direct confirmation of this.

    I wonder though if it would be in the best interest of the iPad to allow this. Do you think it would take away the impetus for developers to create iPad native resolution apps if they could just create retina apps and display them at close to the native resolution of the iPad?
  2. Coukos34 macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    I've wondered the same thing. It would seem to me that this would be easy to support, the only problem being that it will only fill 80% of the screen (because of the ipads slightly larger res). I'm fine with that and its not as if iphone apps don't already not fill all the way anyway...seems plausible
  3. goinskiing macrumors 6502a


    Jun 25, 2008
    Meridian, ID
    I would say it's plausible, but what would stop this would be what you stated at the end of your comment, that instead of making in iPad version developers would call the retina graphics good enough and not bother making an iPad app.
  4. sapporobaby macrumors 68000


    Sep 27, 2007
    3 earth minutes from your location....
    However if they can find a way to charge money for it they will.
  5. EssentialParado macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2005
    Something that stood out to me was how the new App store submission guidelines, under the functionality section, states: "Apps must run on the iPad at native iPhone resolution and 2x iPhone 3GS resolution."

    Why do they say it twice? And why is 3GS resolution referred to separately from just "iPhone"? Does the first mention of iPhone mean current iPhone 4? Maybe I'm reading into it too much, but I found it interesting and wondered about it when I saw that.
  6. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Maybe running perfectly at 2x size on the iPad has to be specifically addressed. If not, perhaps some bugs pop up.
  7. rhildinger thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2006
    They just released the first iOS 4.2 beta for developers, so I guess I'll have my answer for this issue shortly...
  8. ssdeg7 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2010
    Can you install the beta without being a developer?
  9. rhildinger thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2006
    There are ways of doing it, but I wouldn't recommend it. Apple can block your iPhone or iPad from re-activating if your device isn't registered as a test device. I don't think they've ever actually done this, but it is certainly within their power.
  10. tekchic macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    I just noticed the 4.2 beta is out -- thanks for the tip :) Wonder if anyone's tried it yet? I'm planning to install it tonight just to check compatibility on a few personal apps I've coded.
  11. smetvid macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2009
    I do think support the higher res apps is a good idea for the ipad. I also see no reason why it couldn't be done.

    I do not think this would discourage ipad developers either. There is a lot more to ipad apps then just more pixels. It is the screen size you have to take into consideration as well. A retina display ios device may have more pixels but this just helps with clarity. The physiacal touch size is still the exact same that it was before. This means all of your buttons still need to be the same physical size. You cannot decide to make your content, text and buttons half the size on a 3.5" screen because it would be impossible to use.

    The ipad is a different type of device because it does have a larger screen. You can make your elements and text smaller so it is still a totally different structured app. Think of it like DPI or dots per inch in print graphics or photography. you can print a 5x7 photo with 150 dpi or 300 dpi but they are still a 5x7 photo. Both photos are the same physical size but one just has a bit more clarity and richness to it's fine details. You still wouldn't want to look at a group photo of 100 people however regardless of the dpi in the 5x7 photo.

    Finally I don't think the iPad was ever designed to just work with iPhone apps. Of course it wasn't but what I'm saying is that there is little to no point to remake half the iphone apps that are already out there. It is also likely that we will never see as many native iPad apps as we did for the iPhone. Since the iPad works with many websites the way you would expect a computer to work there just is not as much need to make special apps to make up for limitations. The iPhone had a lot of apps because they were a bit more user friendly way of sharing information instead of zooming around a large webpage. This is something you just do not need as much on the iPad because web pages look great.
  12. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    The huge difference in the physical size of the screen between the iPad and iPhone means that iPad apps can and usually should have a significantly different UI layout than their iPhone counterparts. This fact doesn't change regardless of whether the iPad supports retina display-sized iPhone apps, since those apps will still be designed for the small physical screen of the iPhone.
  13. rhildinger thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2006
    Alas, this is disappointing:

    From iLounge:

    "iPhone/iPod touch Games on iPad. At least for now, games with high-definition Retina Display support do not appear to be capable of running in Retina Display mode on the iPad. They still display with 1X/2X buttons at lower 480x320 resolution."

    Hopefully this is something that will be added to later beta releases...
  14. BaronStein macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2010
    I always thought the same and I firmly believe that Apple will allow such thing sooner rather than later. I think that it is more related with the app itself that the app has to be updated with a version compatible to iOS 4.2. Yes, I know that they already have high resolution graphics in iOS 4.1 for iPhone 4 but it might be related with the SDK or API's .
  15. Luke Redpath macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2007
    Colchester, UK
    A double-size iPhone app, even at retina display resolution, will still just look like a blown up iPhone app just not so blurry.

    Not that it wouldn't be a good idea, as pixel doubling does look pretty naff, but they still aren't a substitute for a properly designed native iPad app. (with one exception: games and other immersive apps that do not use native controls)
  16. tekchic macrumors 65816


    Apr 19, 2010
    Phoenix, AZ
    The idea is actually not to double the iPhone app resolution at all. iPhone at "retina display" resolution is 960x640. The idea is to play that 960x640 resolution on the iPad at 1x with a small border around the edges. It'd look much better than the blown-up 2x that we have to deal with now.

    The only things I run at 2x these days are the odd game here and there that still looks pretty good doubled. All text-based iPhone apps look terrible on the iPad at 2x, I don't even bother installing them.
  17. surge macrumors newbie

    Jul 15, 2009
    I'm really suprised they did not address this in the latest ios4 beta for the iPad.
    Here's the problem explained for boons...

    1.) The iPad has a native resolution of 1024x768
    2.) The iPhone 4 has a native resolution of 960x640
    3.) iPhone 4 Apps that have been updated to use the iPhone 4's "retina display" were re-done to support the new resolution.
    4.) When you run an iPhone App on the iPad, it runs at 480x320 resolution (like the 3GS and all iDevices before it), even if this app has been updated to support the "retina display" (meaning it has support for 960x640 resolution!).

    What we want is for the iPhone 4 Apps that have been updated to use the "retina display" to run at 960x640 resolution on the iPad. They currently do NOT. They run at 480x320 resolution, even on the latest ios4 for iPad beta.
    This is a must have feature Apple...Running iphone apps in 2x mode on the iPad looks like ****..and 1x mode? Please.

    if the app has support for running at 960x640 without being pixelated, then let it! Surely it's gotta be something simple like 3 or 4 lines of code to get this to happen?
  18. admanimal macrumors 68040

    Apr 22, 2005
    Spoken like a true non-software engineer.
  19. Xero910 macrumors member

    Oct 8, 2003
    ^ He's not far off. The iPhone 4 automatically detects images with "@2x" in the name and uses those instead. This "iPhone simulator" on the iPad needs to do the same thing. Its not much work.. more than 3-4 lines, but it's not hours of work.
  20. Coukos34 macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2009
    Maybe, but if you were one, you would realize how stupidly easy this actually is to do. It's either one of two things. It's either apples slowness to implement, or it's the decision not to, in order to force devs to make a true iPad version.

    I personally believe in the latter. I can very easily see being more than happy with an iPhone app running at the 960 x 640 res on my ipad. I know that I would feel the obvious: "So what if there is small border?". I know personally, I would be perfectly happy with just retina support. I certainly wouldn't want to pay for an ipad version, especially just to gain 15% of screen size.

    Apple knows this, thats why they dont turn that feature on. It gives an incentive to a dev to make direct support for the ipad. Because if the dev doesnt, they may lose customers who arent willing to live with the pixel doubling. You always hear that the ipad appstore selection is lacking, and I think that apple turning this type of feature on would not be in their best interest in helping out that issue.

    All that being said....hopefully I'm wrong and they are just slow to implement. 4.3 maybe? :D
  21. ssdeg7 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 15, 2010
    The problem with this is that buttons in apps with retina display in the iPad look BIG and apps still have the same iPhone keyboard, also graphics with 2X look huge and ugly!

    I hate using 2X apps on my iPad
  22. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    The reason devs won't cop out and just make a retina version is simple.

    Any new apps will clearly go +. There isn't any reason not to go universal with iPhone and iPad resolutions built into the app. And it really isn't that much extra work.

    Any apps that are being transitioned to Retina and/or 4.x multitasking support are likely to see either iPad universal support or separate iPad versions, which is to the discretion of the dev but can also alienate the user base.

    The main problem is with the legacy apps. July, Aug, Sept - 3 months since the release of the iP4 and even longer since devs have had their hands on the 4.x sdk and many many apps simply aren't being updated for any 4.x features, namely multitasking and retina display. If they did, they would probably go universal too, but since they are that lazy and don't see and reason to code for free for their existing user base, they also are not inclined to make a universal app. If anything they may or may not create a separate iPad version simply for the opportunity to make more coin.
  23. Don Kosak macrumors 6502a

    Don Kosak

    Mar 12, 2010
    Hilo, Hawaii
    I'm in the middle of two Universal App migrations.

    The biggest reason that you don't see a one-to-one mapping of apps from retina display to iPad display resolution is the UI element issue.

    A control for the iPad and original iPhone/Touch is about 40-44 pixels big. (square, oval, rectangular, etc.)

    A control for the iPhone 4/iPod Touch 4th gen needs to be 80-90 pixels big. The pixels have gotten much smaller, but your finger is still the same size.

    If you just mapped the iPhone app, pixel by pixel, the controls would be 4x the size. (80x80 vs 40x40 for a square icon for example). Tool bars, Headers, etc would also be very large and unusual looking.

    It's best for developers to take the extra time and add in the code, and IB files to support both device styles.

    That being said, it's not a small task to make an iPad app work on iPhone. There are a lot of iPad features (Popovers, SplitViews, etc) that don't work on the iPhone/iPod Touch. Also, Toolbars that work fine on the iPad's big screen need to be broken up to work on the much narrower iPhone screen. (As explained above, the Retina display didn't suddenly make fingers smaller, so all the controls take up twice the number of pixels.)
  24. juwanh macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2008

    ...in the Cydia Store, in case you guys were still looking for a solution to this ;-)

    This turned into a debate about whether it was necessary or not, instead of whether it could be done or not. This answers the question that yes it can be done, and it makes apps designed to run at 960x640 look the way they are supposed to look.

  25. nomik2 macrumors regular

    Jul 14, 2010
    I was gonna say as I read the thread...thanks for bringing this back. Retinapad looks amazing.

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