iPhone 6 4K Video

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by macduke, Jul 10, 2014.

  1. macduke macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Below I lay out a possible case for 4K video on the iPhone 6.

    Before we begin, allow me to define what 4K video means in this context. I'm referring to consumer 4K, which is 3840x2160 (16:9) running at 30fps.

    There are a few hardware related reasons why we might see 4K in the upcoming iPhone 6:

    • Much faster A8 processor
    • Base-level storage increase
    • Optical image stabilization

    Following the trend year over year, using a synthetic benchmarking software such as Geekbench, we see iPhone speeds nearly doubling (or even tripling) year over year using the multi-core scores tab:

    • iPhone 4: 206
    • iPhone 4S: 406
    • iPhone 5: 1276
    • iPhone 5S: 2378

    Eventually mobile chips will hit a wall much like desktop processors, slowing their growth considerably. But I'm not quite certain we're there yet. There's also an outside chance that we might see a quad-core A8, although I admit the possibility is more likely in an upcoming iPad or iPad Pro model. Even so, we should see considerable speed improvements with the A8 processor, which would allow for higher rates of video capture. Combine this with Apple's purchase of Anobit a couple years ago, and we might start seeing much increased NAND (flash) memory speeds—much like we saw the benefits in their A-series processors a couple years after they bought P.A. Semi in 2008. These increased NAND speeds would be able to more easily cope with the high-speed writing and reading operations of 4K.

    Speaking of NAND, the rumored base-level storage increase also points the potential for 4K video. If the iPhone starts at 32GB and also comes in 64GB and 128GB sizes, the iPhone would now have much more capacity to store larger 4K videos. iCloud Drive in sizes up to 1TB would also go a long way towards easily pushing large video files off of your device, but at the cost of massive data usage (and long upload times) that would absolutely be limited to WIFI.

    The last rumored piece of hardware that points to 4K video is optical image stabilization (OIS). When recording video at such a high resolution, even small hand movement negates much of the benefit of the increased resolution because it causes motion blur on a smaller scale. Having OIS in the iPhone 6 would provide fairly sharp 4K video.

    Now that we've talked about the hardware, let's briefly talk about the software. Apple has been buying up companies that specialize in faster image recording, and posting many job positions for experts in this field. It's quite possible that they could further optimize their software to record images even faster, negating at least some of the need for faster hardware.

    I'm about to jump into the numbers, but first let's talk about slow-mo video capture. When the 5S was announced, I found it interesting that the slow-mo features was limited to 720p at 120fps. They were really pushing the hardware as far as they could go. Many people (myself included) have thought that the iPhone 6 would likely bump this up to 1080p at 120fps. Surely with the A8 chip, optimized software, and everything else they can do it, right? Let's look at the numbers. Hopefully my math is correct!

    • iPhone 5S 720p 120fps: 110,592,000 pixels/s
    • 720p 240fps: 221,184,000 pixels/s
    • 1080p 120fps: 248,832,000 pixels/s
    • 2160p (4K) 30fps: 248,832,000 pixels/s

    Interestingly enough since 4K video is double 1080p in width and height (therefore 4X the number of pixels), but running at 1/4 of the frames per second, they end up running at the exact same fill-rate of 248,832,000 pixels/s. Neato. Another fun fact is that 720p at 240fps is a lower rate than 1080p at 120fps, so perhaps in the slow-mo interface of the camera app, they could have it default to 120 and have a button toggle for 120/240? And the fill-rate is roughly twice as much as 720p in the 5S, so if the 6 is twice as fast with optimized software then it may be able to handle it.

    Another possible benefit we could see is pixel-doubling video. I'm not sure if it's a bandwidth issue, but the iPhone currently only pixel-doubles photos in lower-light conditions for photographs and not video. This halves the resolution, but boosts the light sensitivity. In theory if you can now record 4K video then you could also record 1080p video with much greater light sensitivity.

    So what do you guys think? Will we see 4K video on the iPhone 6? Or will Apple take their time, in typical Apple fashion, because the 4K TV market has yet to take off? I for one would like to have 4K for future archival purposes. I just had my first child a few months ago and most of the video we take of her is on our phones. It would be great to be able to play them back on our wall-sized TV when she is older without them looking very pixelated. I know, first world problems!
  2. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    Given how long Apple clung to 720p when the bulk of the rest of the market had moved on to 1080p, I doubt Apple would now jump to 4K ahead of much of the rest of the market.

    If they do go there, a <$1000 handheld from Apple (that is also a phone and handheld computer) will be about half the price of the current mainstream consumer 4K camcorder, making this particular benefit a bargain for those wanting to shoot 4K at 30fps.

    I could make a similarly big case of why they SHOULD go 4K ASAP but I'm pretty cynical when it comes to Apple's focus on leading the industry in video capture. They certainly could do it but I think they lack the focus on this kind of thing. I think they'll go there when the rest of the space is most of the way to being there.
  3. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
  4. wilky76 macrumors regular


    Oct 9, 2013
    Best you can hope for on the 6 is 1080p at 60fps & maybe HDR video, as for 4K not a chance the bitrate alone with be around 48mbps which will eat up a chunk of space in no time at all.
  5. Xeyad macrumors 6502

    Nov 19, 2012
    while I would LOVE recording 4K from an iPhone, I don't think it's ready for primetime yet. As a film maker and a tech geek, I've tried 4K recording on the Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5. With these Samsung devices, the image stabilization is turned off when shooting 4K because the device can't handle all the processing power. So while you end up with high resolution, unless you got incredibly steady hands or a stabilizer, the video will be very shaky.

    I think Apple goes with the notion of introducing technology to people when it's complete. 4K on phones is still a stretch. The iPhone 5s certainly wasn't the first phone with slow motion, but it perfected it. For 4K to become usable on phones, I think Apple needs to work on the processing power to record full 4K with image stabilization, and figure out some sort of compressing to take less storage. The iPhone is meant for the absolute average consumer, and you need to give them the best experience possible with the least hassles.

    While it'll probably won't be built in, I think there is a huge chance for 4K video to happen with the iPhone 6 with third-party apps! SloMo was the first app on iPhone to have real 1080p @ 60fps for the iPhone 4S and above; way before the 5s. Ultrakam Pro has already introduced real 2K (2240 x 1672) and 3K (2592 x 1936) video @ 24fps and @30fps to the iPhone 5s, but those currently take a massive chunk of storage as the bitrate is 32MB/s.

    iOS 8 also allowed developers full access to the camera hardware and software, meaning with iOS 8 to come, we'll see even more impressive camera apps.

    So in short, the iPhone 6 probably won't have 4K video built in, the magic of the app store and the developers will probably add it in. :rolleyes:

    Great thread.
  6. The Doctor11 macrumors 603

    The Doctor11

    Dec 15, 2013
    New York
    I hope so that way I can sleep peaceful at night. But no it will not have 4k :(
  7. Bobby Corwen macrumors 68030

    Jul 16, 2010
    I stopped reading at "wall sized TV"

    What makes you think that is possible or going to happen.

    Btw we also already have 4K Sony Light Cannons that can make a wall sized (140 inch) picture at 4K for about 10K$.

    But no, not LED (or whatever) panels that huge, not even in the future.

    (How will you get them through the door?!!)
  8. Narien macrumors member

    Jul 24, 2011
    Here's my take on phone-cameras.

    I dont need those rediculous numbers "10000 mega pixels" and 4K resolution filming in 1 frame per second.

    1080p is basically what my other screens support, 60 frames is much more important then higher resolution. While I would love a 4K tv, the first thing i'm going to watch will NOT be some stupid video filmed with a mobile phone.

    The current resolutions are fine as far as phones go, what they need to improve is picture/video quality.
  9. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    The amount of electronic video stabilization that can be done at 4K would make it a worthwhile option.
  10. Cod3rror macrumors 68000


    Apr 18, 2010
    If they move up to 4K, I'd like them to privde 1080p and 720p recording options.
  11. macduke thread starter macrumors G3


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    True, but Apple has always been a leader in video compression technologies. Don't have time to look it up right now, but I think I read somewhere that h.265 or something will be a lot smaller in size?

    Thanks! What I'm thinking is that OIS wouldn't require extra processing power because it's just using mechanical parts to stabilize the image. Not like tracking and moving the parts, just holding them steady via some kind of tiny gyroscopes or something?

    Haha, well if you stopped reading there then you read 99% of my post. Well, in elementary school 20 years ago my parents had this TV:


    And now their TV is about this size and flat:


    These new 4K displays have approximately 38 times more pixels than TVs back then.

    What makes you think that a giant TV 20 years from now can't fit through a door? I've seen stories about new materials being printed such as flexible displays. I imagine future TVs might even be rolled up in a tube and applied like wallpaper, and receive display signal and power wirelessly. Even if they're not rolled up in a tube, I'm sure they could be made modular and printed on a 3D printer by then. You'll just fill your material tanks and download your TV.

    Honestly I think the bigger advance in the future will be the ability to record the entire light field around you, including light reflected around corners from various surfaces or behind objects (Lytro can capture a good portion of the light field now and researchers have already had some early success doing the latter). Then you can walk through videos like you're in the actual memory. I expect to be able to do this before I die, but the technologies to record the memories won't be too old so I won't be able to re-live my childhood, but my future grandkids might be able to. Many experts expect that we will reach the singularity of computers surpassing all human knowledge and brain processing by around 2045. Thinking that we won't have wall-sized displays 10 years short of that milestone is kind of strange. ;)

    Yeah, I agree that in many situations lower resolution is perfectly fine. I'm hoping that Apple would have some crazy new compression algorithms so that it's not too burdensome. I'd just like to be able to have archives at 4K of certain videos of my new baby daughter.
  12. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I'm curious why you would say this?
  13. iSage macrumors newbie

    Jul 11, 2014
    Probably H.265 support and maybe that will mean 4K playback too. But I really doubt they'll have 4K recording. There's a lot of of things they can do to improve the picture quality before upping the resolution. I think Apples focus will be uploading everything to the cloud and keeping everything at 1080p and using H.265 will cut file sizes in half.
  14. ctdonath macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    Sounds like one of those game-changers that :apple: could, and sometimes does, pull off just to yank the rug out from under the competition. Given their small and tight product base, they could drop a 4K camera into the phone, and open the rest of the chomping-at-the-bit product line to that content via Mac Pro, retina displays (even the tablet is well past HDTV dimensions), 4K "cinema" displays, and even complement the long-awaited iTV.
    Aye, there's the rub. The largest-capacity iPad's 128GB would store just 2 minutes of uncompressed video, and even with substantial 1000:1 compression any smaller device would not, given a sensible usage by other apps, leave much for meaningful capacity. That most cellular data plans are capped in the single-digit GB/mo range is quite stifling (yea, use WiFi only, but _sometimes_ you'll want to ship a video clip _right_now_).

    Still, interesting theory. Incredible that the hardware for 4K video is just about all in place on a pocket phone and even the largest desktop configuration takes up little more space than a shoebox and a small whiteboard. It's not the hardware that's at issue now, but the user experience.
  15. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012

    Do you mean 4k recording like other smartphones on the market or something else?
  16. ctdonath macrumors 65816


    Mar 11, 2009
    Yes ... but done with Apple's penchant for high quality and good UI, not just throwing a gazillion pixels in there and proclaiming "4K!". I've other cameras which tout high pixel counts but produce lousy results unless I use a lower resolution setting (Sony, I'm glaring at your repeated betrayals...).
  17. DesterWallaboo macrumors 6502


    Sep 7, 2003
    Western USA
  18. Jalopybox macrumors 6502a


    Nov 13, 2012
    No chance and not needed on any small screen device.
  19. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    iPhone 6 4K Video

    Recording. The iPhone can't even display 720 but can still record. Lol
  20. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
  21. Trius macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2008
    I stopped reading one sentence after that.. so.. the whole post.


    Yet you're still compelled to post a reply..
  22. Izauze macrumors 6502

    Oct 13, 2013
    A 4k screen is a waste on a screen that size. Hopefully Apple knows that and uses their resources on something that's actually useful.
  23. dlewis23 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 23, 2007
    The iPhone 4 was the only one to record 720p on the back camera. The 4s did 1080p.

    They didn't clung to it for that long.
  24. HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    I was talking about the time between :apple:TV1 and the launch of :apple:TV3. iPhone adopted 1080p before :apple:TV3 was available to show it. Then, finally, out came :apple:TV3 with 1080p.

    The main implication was that hoping for Apple to go there so soon doesn't match up well with their history of tending to jump on the next big thing in video late. Sure they could go 4K with the 6 but, based on their history, I would expect it to show with the 8 or 9 at best, maybe even later than those.

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