Someone Clarify The Truth About Retina Please

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Konvictz, Oct 18, 2014.

  1. Konvictz macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2014
    Firstly we must all understand that retina is not measured in pixels per inch, ppi, its actually more to do with the distance. This is the reason why apple has difference ppi requirements for different products to be classed retina.

    So lets stick to mobile phones for this thread. Apple believe that for a mobile phone display, around 326 ppi is retina, this is apparently the point where our eyes cannot see more detail if the ppi were to be increased.

    Of course Apple has increased the ppi of the plus to over 400. Well it was going to be 460 ppi because the software is actually operating at 2208x1242, but being scaled down to 1080p because apple couldnt be bothered putting in a proper 2208x1242 screen.

    Considering other manufacturers like samsung are now delivering somewhere like 500-600 ppi on smartphones, I mean does it really make a difference? Does it look better to the human eye?

    I mean companies like samsung are very successful especially their display technology, and surely they would not be putting in 500-600 ppi screens if it did not make a difference?

    So are Apple missing out with the "low" ppi numbers or does it simply not make a difference?
  2. KuchiKopi macrumors regular


    Sep 26, 2014
  3. Retired Cat macrumors 65816

    Jun 12, 2013
    Someone Clarify The Truth About Retina Please

    Answer: it depends on each person's eyes

  4. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    You lost me at the "very successful" part... Consider: Samsung Earnings Slump 60% as Galaxy Sales Struggle

    Not to most folks.

    What you have to understand is that Samsung sells phones with the very same operating system and ecosystem as several others. Thus they have to differentiate themselves on specifications and features whether or not they have any real effect on enhancing the user experience.

    Apple doesn't have to do this, and thus focuses largely on what you can do with the combination of software and hardware, without worrying so much about specific specifications / comparisons.
  5. samiznaetekto macrumors 65816

    Dec 26, 2009
    I believe it does make a difference. A few cases:

    1) Consider resolution for each color of the stripe pixel pattern. For 326ppi screen, it's only 326/3 = 109ppi. So if you have a small red, green, or blue text on black background, you only have 109ppi and it will look quite pixelated. If you had 600ppi screen, that's 200ppi per color - much sharper detail.

    2) Consider viewing a PDF that was created on a computer, with some small text, fine technical drawings, etc. At Note 4's 561ppi, the details will look incredibly small, but still sharp. On 326ppi, many hairline details will collapse into no pixel or interpolated into fuzzy halftone lines. Of course, you'd still want to zoom in, but seeing the whole page with such amount of detail is just super nice.

    3) VR headsets. Their lenses magnify screen so much that people said that even on Note 4 they can notice pixels. With 326ppi, it'll look like VGA display through the lenses.
  6. rGiskard macrumors 68000


    Aug 9, 2012
    DisplayMate's Dr. Soneira covers this here:

    AnandTech has a good article.

    Apple has good reasons to avoid a 1242x2208 461ppi display for now; efficiency nosedives over ~450 ppi, and 1080x1920 displays are common and cheap. I'd guess that Apple drops in a true 3X display once prices drop and efficiency permits it without a thicker phone.

    Anyways those quad HD displays are mostly marketing snake oil but if you get within a few inches you can see the difference between them and the 6+ display. For Google Cardboard they would be nicer but it's hard to think of another situation where quad HD would matter.
  7. Konvictz thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2014
    Il check the links later.

    I do not have a problem with 1080p display, in fact I would have been very happy to get native 1080p software and hardware wise, but obviously that is pretty much impossible for scaling reasons.

    But my concern is almost everything is being outputted in 2208x1242, even videos so 1080p videos are being upscaled, then downsampled and who knows what else is going on.

    1080p is good because it is compatible everywhere but iphone 6 is 2208x1242. So one would think there is extra 'effort' into doing all this from a hardware point of view.
  8. rGiskard macrumors 68000


    Aug 9, 2012

    On an LCD every pixel is composed of red, blue, and green subpixels, so on a 326 ppi display there are 326 subpixels per inch for each color.

    Different story on a pentile OLED display, since subpixel density differs depending on color, with red and blue being much lower than green.


    Well if Apple are using a dedicated hardware scaler built into the SoC then the performance penalty is minimal. Thing is I've seen a lot of reports of the 6+ lagging so that makes me think the downscaling is handled by the GPU. Since even the less powerful A7 could push more pixels on an iPad that leaves only the funky downscaling as an explanation for slower 6+ performance relative to the 6.

    I do wish Apple had enabled a way to directly display 1920x1080 content for movies and games. Seems like it would have given better performance and battery life.
  9. Steve686 macrumors 68040


    Nov 13, 2007
    US>FL>Miami/Dade>Sunny Isles Beach>Condo
    The truth. When I hold my phone and look at it, it looks great.

    No lie.
  10. samiznaetekto macrumors 65816

    Dec 26, 2009
  11. Konvictz thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 25, 2014
    man that is annoying.

    Everyone heard 1080p iphone 6 plus and got excited, but I thought it simply does not make sense to have a 1080p display on an iphone 6.

    I was pretty unimpressed with the cpu of iphone 6, even though I did buy one, because the increase was MINIMAL from the 5s. And also in some benchmarks, while the 6 and 6 plus still out performs most android devices except that nvidia thing, in some situations the 5s was out performing the 6 plus.

    You mentioned earlier that you think apple will begin to put a 2208x1242 resolution screen in at some point, any sort of clues as to why?

    I mean of course the iphone 6 plus was MEANT to have 2208x1242 like all other apple products which do not have 'standard' resolutions.

    It is insane to think how much upscaling and downsampling is going on, unless of course you are an android user so you would be very used to lag (cheap shot I know).
  12. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    For the most part it's marketing when you get up into the 400+ range. When a name like "quad HD" is stuck on it that is literally multiplying by four a term that has no numerical value -- both your 720p and 1080p TVs are HD, and I've never seen some defined resolution as HD -- it's pure marketing. It's just like the camera megapixel wars.

    Yes, Apple did it too with Retina HD. The term "HD" has pretty much been beaten to death and is mostly meaningless, about like 4G. When I see 4G pop up on my AT&T phone instead of LTE when I'm in a known LTE area, it means the signal has crapped out and might as well still say EDGE. But AT&T wanted Apple to have that 4G pop up instead because 4 is more than 3, so marketing.

    The xK monikers are a little ridiculous, but at least we're getting some measurements.
  13. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    Well our ability to resolve details does increase a bit with high contrast - which is why we can spot dead/stuck pixels even though the displays are retina. Beyond that, anything beyond 400ppi is overkill
  14. rGiskard macrumors 68000


    Aug 9, 2012
    Oh I just think Apple will switch to a true 3X display because the downscaling has (minor) drawbacks. Pure conjecture on my part, and I will qualify it by saying I've been wrong many times in the past about Apple's intentions. Also, the retina MacBooks use scaling so maybe Apple figures it's a good solution. And when the A9 shows up, the performance hit won't matter any longer.

    The main advantage I see to a 461 ppi 3X display is that it's just dense enough to make individual pixels invisible at 7 inches viewing distance. Then Apple can leave pixel density alone and focus on improving displays in other ways like dynamic color gamut. Imagine a display that responds to bright light with both an increase in brightness and an increase in color saturation. OLED could do that now, and LCD will have the ability in a year or two using quantum dots to achieve more pure R, G, and B backlight colors.

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