Why can't iPad Pro drive 4K display at 60Hz?

hajime

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Jul 23, 2007
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Any idea? The technology is not there (which I doubt) or Apple does not want to make it?
 

gobikerider

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I think the gpu is more then capable of that but unfortunately I don’t think the lightning connnecter is capable. Hopefully well see USB C in iOS devices future or a Lightning 2 port.
 
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TheRealAlex

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Sep 2, 2015
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Any idea? The technology is not there (which I doubt) or Apple does not want to make it?
Probably because oh heat and thermal throttling. It’s is capable just not for a very long time. Especially without a power source.
 

Truefan31

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Aug 25, 2012
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I think it has to do with the gpu pushing those pixels constantly. I'd rather have 120hz like it is now vs 4k at 60hz if it means reduced performance/heat.

I'm trying to understand why 4k on a 9.7/12.9 inch screen would be that much of a difference.
 

rui no onna

macrumors G3
Oct 25, 2013
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What do you mean by driving a 4K/60 display? Like via HDMI out or something? If so, that's likely because of Hollywood.

The built-in LCD panel? Likely panel cost and aspect ratio.
 
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hajime

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Jul 23, 2007
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If Apple thinks that the IPad can replace a computer, then the IPP should be able to connect to an external 4K monitor ideally running at 60Hz. I need two displays working at the same time.
 

ericwn

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Apr 24, 2016
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Probably because oh heat and thermal throttling. It’s is capable just not for a very long time. Especially without a power source.
That’s guesswork. A 2003 Apple notebook was perfectly able to drive a 30” Cinema Display already. Reality is we don’t know why this functionality is not available in iOS right now.
 

ericwn

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Apr 24, 2016
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If Apple thinks that the IPad can replace a computer, then the IPP should be able to connect to an external 4K monitor ideally running at 60Hz. I need two displays working at the same time.
iPads are computers. Wether they are personal computer workstation replacements for everybody is highly debatable, it’s just marketing talk to sell more product. Sounds like in your scenario Apple prefers you to purchase a Mac with those capabilities.
 

ActionableMango

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Sep 21, 2010
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If Apple thinks that the IPad can replace a computer, then the IPP should be able to connect to an external 4K monitor ideally running at 60Hz. I need two displays working at the same time.
Tablets are meant to be portable devices. When you start talking about tying it down to external 4K monitor setups for dual display, I think you are well outside the intended use case of the iPad in its current form and forseeable future. For now, and probably for several years, you'll still need a Mac or a PC.

When Apple says iPad can replace the computer, it has done exactly that for some use cases (Facebook, email, browsing, point of sale, light field work, etc). It is not meant to replace computers in all use cases.
 

muzzy996

macrumors 6502a
Feb 16, 2018
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iPads are computers. Wether they are personal computer workstation replacements for everybody is highly debatable, it’s just marketing talk to sell more product. Sounds like in your scenario Apple prefers you to purchase a Mac with those capabilities.
Yup all marketing . . just like I'm sure people out there are "Lovin' It" at McDonalds but I'm not one of them. To each their own.
 

Banglazed

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Apr 17, 2017
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There are many factors to drive such:

  1. Is graphic chip capable to drive 4K with DRM support?
  2. Does iPad Pro has enough processing power to maintain 4K stream?
  3. Is lightning port capable of transmitting high speed data required by 4K?
  4. Is 4K output cannot be achieved by hardware limitation?
  5. Is WiFi chip capable of maintaining faster speed for uninterrupted stream?
I believe all of the above.
 

gobikerider

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Apr 15, 2016
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There are many factors to drive such:

  1. Is graphic chip capable to drive 4K with DRM support?
  2. Does iPad Pro has enough processing power to maintain 4K stream?
  3. Is lightning port capable of transmitting high speed data required by 4K?
  4. Is 4K output cannot be achieved by hardware limitation?
  5. Is WiFi chip capable of maintaining faster speed for uninterrupted stream?
I believe all of the above.
It is all the proof is the Apple TV 4K
 

Newtons Apple

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Mar 12, 2014
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If Apple thinks that the IPad can replace a computer, then the IPP should be able to connect to an external 4K monitor ideally running at 60Hz. I need two displays working at the same time.
Just because Apple claims it is a computer does not mean it should have the ability run an external 4K monitor. There are many "real" computers that can not.
 

hajime

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Original poster
Jul 23, 2007
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I think it is cool to play iOS games or watch 4K videos on an external large screen 4K monitor.
[doublepost=1526673817][/doublepost]
iPads are computers. Wether they are personal computer workstation replacements for everybody is highly debatable, it’s just marketing talk to sell more product. Sounds like in your scenario Apple prefers you to purchase a Mac with those capabilities.
Unfortunately, it sounds like I have to wait and see if Apple comes up with a better MBP in June.
 

ApfelKuchen

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Aug 28, 2012
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Between the coasts
If Apple thinks that the IPad can replace a computer, then the IPP should be able to connect to an external 4K monitor ideally running at 60Hz. I need two displays working at the same time.
iPad certainly can replace a computer, for many users. However, Apple doesn't say that iPad can replace every computer. That would be like saying that every PC can do the same work. They obviously can't - you buy the capabilities you want and need, and you try to avoid models that offer features you don't need. Otherwise, there'd be just one model of PC.

Let's get specific. The 2017 MacBook Air can support two external Thunderbolt displays up to 3840 x 2160 (that's 4K UHD). The 2017 iMac Pro can drive 4 external displays at that same resolution. If you need to drive more than two external displays (regardless or resolution), the MBA is the wrong computer for you.

Here's what iPad Pro's spec sheet has to say about iPad Pro video out:

Video mirroring and video out support: Up to 1080p through Lightning Digital AV Adapter and Lightning to VGA Adapter (adapters sold separately)
In this case, the reason is pretty straightforward. Apple's Lightning Digital AV Adapter does not support 4K. Maximum output is 1080P. https://www.apple.com/shop/product/MD826AM/A/lightning-digital-av-adapter

If Lightning is capable of driving 4K and Apple finds there's sufficient market to justify producing a 4K Lighting Digital AV adapter, they may do it.

Apple didn't have a 4K Apple TV until September 2017. The 2015 and 2016 MacBooks could only do 4K UHD at 30 Hz (the 2017 now does 60 Hz). MacBook Air didn't support 4K until 2015. MacBook Pro started supporting 4K UHD at 30 Hz in Late 2013, didn't move up to 60 Hz until 2016...
 

TheRealAlex

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Sep 2, 2015
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In short IPad Lacks the HDCP 2.2. Licensing to display 4K 60Hz for copyright material.
[doublepost=1526679509][/doublepost]
Any idea? The technology is not there (which I doubt) or Apple does not want to make it?
In short IPad Lacks the HDCP 2.2. Licensing to display 4K 60Hz for copyright material.

Also someone tried to run a 10-bit HEVC 4K HDR10 video on their 9.7” IPad Pro when it first launched and it Just could Not Handle the decoding. To be fair neither could Macbook Pros Until KabyLake released. So even much more powerful CPUs could not run such a rich file.
Here is proof in case you need it.

 
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rui no onna

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Oct 25, 2013
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In short IPad Lacks the HDCP 2.2. Licensing to display 4K 60Hz for copyright material.

Also someone tried to run a 10-bit HEVC 4K HDR10 video on their 9.7” IPad Pro when it first launched and it Just could Not Handle the decoding. To be fair neither could Macbook Pros Until KabyLake released. So even much more powerful CPUs could not run such a rich file.
Here is proof in case you need it.

Don't the 2017 Pro models have HDR? I expect the new chipset (A10X) does support hardware decode acceleration for 10-bit HEVC. But yep, likely no license for HDCP 2.2. Quite possible bandwidth via the Lightning connector is lacking, too.
 

TheRealAlex

macrumors 68020
Sep 2, 2015
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Don't the 2017 Pro models have HDR? I expect the new chipset (A10X) does support hardware decode acceleration for 10-bit HEVC. But yep, likely no license for HDCP 2.2. Quite possible bandwidth via the Lightning connector is lacking, too.
Just try and upload a 10-bit HEVC HDR video clip to your 10.5” IPad Pro. Not sure if it can even play it it’s possible.
 

scottrods

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Jul 30, 2017
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Garland, TX
I suspect you could also factor in Battery capabilities and battery life as well. I suppose if you ran it with the iPad plugged into a power source this would be less of a problem as well... but I I also think there would be heat problems that would be troublesome as well... This coupled with al the above possible reasons for not being able to... It's purpose is not to be a base station for all your computing and entertainment items... it's supposed to be internally capable of handling all of it without physical connection. They obviously think ONE connector is all needed with the exception of Audio. Audio is super simple to connect to though, so I don't consider that all that "awesome" and I also think there will be iPads in the future with no headphone jacks as well.
 

acorntoy

macrumors 68000
May 25, 2010
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It is all the proof is the Apple TV 4K

[doublepost=1527060693][/doublepost]
Exactly. The A10X and Apple’s GPU is more than capable, it’s a matter of license and software at this point.
Apple was forced to put a better cooling system including a fan in the ATV 4K.


The A10X can do it, but it needs better cooling than what the iPad provides is my guess. You’d probably encounter major throttling after a short while.

https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Apple+TV+4K+Teardown/97511
 
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macduke

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Jun 27, 2007
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Central U.S.
Hopefully well see USB C in iOS devices future or a Lightning 2 port.
USB-C will never happen. It's about twice as thick and more prone to damage. If a USB-C Micro standard was put forward that was very similar to a lightning connector then I could see Apple potentially adopting that. But right now I don't think it's something that is concerning Apple because they are clearly moving away from wires entirely. I bet 802.11ax and AirPlay 2 will probably enable 4K60 streaming with some fancy compression algorithms. I don't see 4K being replaced by 8K any time soon (aside from large, high-end monitors that you sit close to) because for most consumers 4K doesn't even provide much benefit over 1080p at typical viewing distances and display sizes so I feel like we're finally at an end point of this race for some time. This will allow wireless to catch up and provide a better way.
 

06tb06

macrumors regular
Sep 12, 2017
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2,711 miles from Apple Campus
Apple was forced to put a better cooling system including a fan in the ATV 4K.
The A10X can do it, but it needs better cooling than what the iPad provides is my guess. You’d probably encounter major throttling after a short while.
Agree.

Battery drain would occur much faster on a 4K-enabled iPad Pro. Not to mention Apple would have to re-engineer the internals to accommodate the increased heat dissipation.
 

Anarchy99

macrumors 6502a
Dec 13, 2003
977
989
CA
Apple has never released raw bus speed details on the lightning cable/protocols but currently the main reason is the Lightning Digital AV Adapter is based off the Samsung S5L8700 series of SoCs which have a video output limit of upto 1600×900 resoultion upscaled to 1080p with visible compression artifacts.

so assuming the physical cable and protocols can handle it a new lightning to HDMI adapter is needed.
 
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masotime

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Jun 24, 2012
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Any idea? The technology is not there (which I doubt) or Apple does not want to make it?
4k = (3840 x 2160 pixels) x (4 bytes per pixel for 32bit color) = 31.6MBytes
4k60fps = 31.6MBytes x 60 images per second = 1.9GBytes / second

1.9GBytes / second = 15.2Gbps (gigabits per second)

You'd need at least a Thunderbolt 2 cable to carry it (maxes out at 20Gbps) - HDMI 2.0 could do it theoretically (max 18Gbps) but you can see you're reaching the upper limits of throughput, and real life throughput is rarely that high.

You want to drive 2 4K@60 monitors? You're going to need Thunderbolt 3 levels of throughput.
 
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