Why can iPad still not run iPhone apps at full "retina display" resolution?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by neiltc13, May 8, 2011.

  1. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    When iPhone 4 came out I thought the most logical and obvious next step for iPad was to allow it to run iPhone 4 applications designed for the 960x640 "retina" display at full resolution.

    iPad's display is 1024x768, so why isn't this possible yet?
  2. FutureStan, May 8, 2011
    Last edited: May 8, 2011

    FutureStan macrumors member

    Mar 17, 2011
    A "Retina" screen, which is a genius marketing name by Apple is defined as any screen with over 300ppi (Pixel Per Inch or Pixel density).

    The iPhone 4's screen is 3.5" with a resolution of 960x640. Which is about 330 ppi.

    The iPad's screen on the hand, is 9.7" with a resolution of 1024x768. And thats about 131 ppi, Therefore the iPad's screen is not qualified as a "Retina" display.

    Hope that helped.

    Edit: Scratch everything I just said. That obviously was not your question. I need to sleep.
  3. JasonHD macrumors regular

    Jul 23, 2010
    I think you mis understand what the op is on about. When u run iPhone app on iPad it only runs at low res. Not even the res of the phone 4.
  4. jabingla2810 macrumors 68020

    Oct 15, 2008
    So people buy the HD iPad version, which is usually more money.

    Its good for developers, and makes understanding that there is 2 different app stores, iPad/iPhones stores, that sells apps for different devices very easy for customers who aren't tech savvy.

    As it is, iphone apps run in a small window or x2 mode on ipad.

    And mums and granny's (not meaning to be sexist) understand this.

    Thats it.

    There are jailbreaks out there that show the iPad can run these retina apps at their native resolution, Apple choose not to allow it.
  5. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    i believe it is to discourage developers from thinking a retina app is good enough for the ipad instead of building a universal app.

    apple really wants a different interface built for the ipad's size.
  6. 4DThinker macrumors 68020

    Mar 15, 2008
    Screen ratios, mainly. 480x320 and 960x640 are 3:2. 1024x768 is 4:3. You'll need to distort the iPhone app to make it fit the iPad screen.
  7. Phil A. Moderator

    Phil A.

    Staff Member

    Apr 2, 2006
    Shropshire, UK

    Screen ratio doesn't come into it: At the moment, if you 2x scale an iPhone app on the iPad, it takes up 960x640 pixels on the screen, but uses the 480x320 assets (buttons, pictures, etc), and simply pixel doubles them. The OP's question is why haven't Apple made it so that iPhone apps with 960x640 assets are displayed using them on the iPad instead of the pixel doubled 480x320 ones.
  8. TheyCallMeSaint macrumors regular

    Oct 17, 2010
    Probably cuz some developers would say their retina iPhone app looks "alright" on the iPad, and then wouldn't create an iPad version.

    Edit: Whoops, you beat me to it :D

  9. nwcs macrumors 68000


    Sep 21, 2009
    Personally, I think that would be nice to have the retina iPhone apps show at full size on iPads but the reason is mostly marketing. It forces differentiation between the product lines which protect developers' interests. But a minor side note of that is that the iPad flavor of iOS has features not found in the iPhone flavor. And if you displayed a retina iPhone that nearly filled the iPad screen people might assume its a native iPad app and expect certain UX that isn't there.
  10. Skika macrumors 68030

    Mar 11, 2009
    What will hapen when the support for previous gen iphones is gone from iPhone apps? When the app will only have the iphone 4 resolution? Will the support for iphone apps on the iPad cease to be?

    Because from my understanding, the only way iPhone apps show at resolution they do on the iPad is becouse they run in non retina iphone resolution/version that is in the app itself?
  11. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    i think by the time non-retina iphones are obsolete, running iphone apps on the ipad as an acceptable standard will not be an issue.
  12. Don Kosak macrumors 6502a

    Don Kosak

    Mar 12, 2010
    Hilo, Hawaii
    Well, the short answer is that it would be "possible" but not optimal.

    The UI Elements on iPad and non-retina iPhone/iPod touch are scaled work with a finger "touch area" of about 40 x 40 pixels.

    The UI Elements on a Retina display iPhone/iPod Touch 4 are scaled to work with a touch area of 80x80 pixels.

    If you just put the retina display App (960x640) on the iPad screen as-is, the various UI elements would be too big and look awkward. The UI's really need to be retooled to look right on iPad. As some Apps draw a lot of their own UI, Apple couldn't just "automatically" rescale the UI elements.

    This is basically the same weird look you get with a lot of iPhone Apps that run at 2x on iPad.
  13. rikbrown macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2010
    Surely they'd look identical to how they do now when blown up, except not pixellated? That's certainly what happens when I use RetinaPad to enable it on a JB'n pad.
  14. My name is Alex macrumors regular

    My name is Alex

    Sep 5, 2010
    Gold Coast, Australia
  15. Blakjack macrumors 68000


    Jun 23, 2009
    It was never supposed to run iPhone apps at full resolution. Did someone tell u it was eventually going too?

    I mean it would be nice, but hey....
  16. gatearray macrumors 65816

    Apr 24, 2010
    Don's post is spot on, that it would be possible to run retina apps 2x on a pixel-per-pixel basis but it's not optimal and furthermore, not sensible. Not for most users, and by consequence not for Apple. Does anybody honestly like using 2x apps on their iPad?

    If the answer is no, then would the reason be because they appear pixelated, or because the UI looks and feels sort of cheesy compared to using a real iPad app?

    Smoothing out all of those "jaggies" wouldn't "magically" make the "2x app experience" acceptable, now would it? The 7" Galaxy Tab and the soon to be running 2.3 Android apps Playbook comes to mind.


    Let's face it, the "blown-up phone app experience" is bogus and no place any one of us really wants to be, and so Apple made some philosophical rules with their product to nudge developers to do the right thing and either choose one of two screen sizes for the application, or make it a universal binary.

    At the end of the day, this "rule" and the path it will forge moving forward is the best thing for everybody, although there may be some casualties along the way because the philosophy at Apple is that the user experience wins out at the end of the day.

    Mo' magic, mo' money. :)

  17. gorskiegangsta, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 9, 2011

    gorskiegangsta macrumors 65816


    Mar 13, 2011
    Brooklyn, NY
    That is not what having "Retina" display means. A retina display, as defined by Apple, is a display where a person will not be able to discern individual pixels while holding it at "normal" distance. Normal distance would be defined differently with different types of devices (laptop, tablet, smartphone, television, etc..). Having a specific pixel density has nothing to do with it.

    EDIT: Also, there's no reason the iPad cannot run apps of iPhone 4's resolution, pixel-for-pixel.
    Like this:

    Which, I'm sure, is what OP was trying to say.
  18. redman042 macrumors 68030


    Jun 13, 2008
    As others have stated, I think Apple sees no reason to give app developers a short cut. They want iPad-specific apps made. So far, it's paid off. I'd much rather use an iPad-specific app than a scaled-up iPhone app.

    Also, I doubt Apple wants to dedicate engineering resources to rewrite the scale-up code.
  19. spiderman0616 macrumors 68040


    Aug 1, 2010
    I don't even bother with the blown up iPhone versions. They are lame. I'd rather just not use them.
  20. MickeyDK macrumors newbie

    Feb 8, 2011
    Manchester, UK
    +1 !

    I only have a few of them installed, to have the functionality in kind of the notification system, fx chat and so.
  21. Cantisama macrumors member

    Feb 27, 2011
    I don't think the primary reason is to prevent devs from being lazy. Allowing iPhone retina apps to run on iPad would discourage sales of much more expensive iPad versions. Apple rather have you pay for the "HD" iPad version at a higher price since they get 30% of each app sale.
  22. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    it works both ways: it also forces consumers to buy the iPad version of an App instead of just using the iPhone version they have already. So Apple protects their developers business.
  23. fizzwinkus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 27, 2008
    about half the ipad apps i have are universal. they are, shockingly, a single app that works on both the iphone and ipad. those devs must have circumvented apple's devious plans and decided to save me some money.

    apple couldn't care less what devs priced apps at, they want to make sure customers get the best experience. everything else will work itself out.
  24. TheWheelMan macrumors 6502a


    Mar 15, 2011
    I'll use them when they are the only choice, like my ESPN Fantasy Baseball app. But honestly, I hate it (the app itself could be better too).
  25. kuebby macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2007
    Same. If the app would scale up ("2x") into 960x640 resolution instead of just doubling the pixels though I wouldn't have a problem. Even if it had black bars on the sides it would still be much preferable to how it is now.

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