Why Gruber and author of "Moore's law and iPad-sized retina displays" are wrong

Discussion in 'iPad' started by samiznaetekto, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. samiznaetekto macrumors 65816

    Dec 26, 2009


    Here's why this guy's argument is wrong. (which may possibly be not surprising at all as though he mentions that "I have some actual knowledge (from a brief foray into working at a semiconductor company, some time ago)", he doesn't say in what capacity he worked at that semiconductor company. He might have worked as a janitor.)

    Since when Moore's law applied to displays?


    "The capabilities of many digital electronic devices are strongly linked to Moore's law: processing speed, memory capacity, sensors and even the number and size of pixels in digital cameras."

    CPUs, memory, digital cameras - but NOT mainstream DISPLAYS! For many years, 0.28mm pitch (~90dpi) remained standard, some more expensive monitors then had 0.25 or 0.22mm pitch (115dpi), iMac 27" still has 0.23mm pitch, MacBook Air 11.6" 2010's display has the smallest pixels of all Apple computers - 0.19mm.

    So in the last 15 years or so, pixel density for mainstream displays hasn't changed much. While if you believe this semiconductor janitor and his "Display Moore's Law", pixels would have shrunk from 0.28mm to about 0.0085mm since then (15 years divided by 1.5 doubling cycle = 10 cycles, so Moore's factor is 2^10 = 1024, so linear pixel density factor is then about 33x) and we all are now sitting in front of our beautiful 26,400x19,800 displays (and that's starting from modest 800x600 display, times 33).

    Instead, displays have been growing in size while keeping the pixel size about the same or only slightly decreasing. The progress in displays, like anything else, is driven by demand and capability of current video cards, so instead of making displays increasingly dense, they are getting bigger in terms of total pixel count, but still in line with what most mainstream video cards can handle.

    When the large touch screen mobile war started, pixel sizes "magically" jumped from 0.22-0.28mm to 0.155mm (iPhones 2G to 3Gs) and even to 0.078mm (iPhone 4) with no regard to Moore's law! How come?! Well, the industry was long able to produce such small pixels, it is just there was not enough demand for such displays. Nobody wants to see their 16x16 pixels icons in Windows toolbars be 1.25x1.25mm dots on such a screen. Yep, an icon 1/20th of an inch in size - will you see anything on it unless you use a loupe?


    iPad 2 at 2048x1536 will have pixel pitch of 0.096mm. We know from iPhone 4 that this pitch is technologically achievable, so why wouldn't be possible to make a 9.7" display with it?

    Oh, defects. Dead pixels. But how come Sony Vaio P Series (which is now several years old) has an 8" screen with 0.11mm pixels and dead pixels are not a problem? I'm sure there are millions of people carrying iPhone 4 who don't realize they have a few dead pixels. Why? Because with such tiny pixels, it's almost impossible for average human who's not specifically looking for them, to see them. Think about it: if 4 dead pixels on iPhone 4 magically happened to be next to each other, they'll be at most as much visible as 1 dead pixel on iPhone 2-3. Since for given brightness of the screen, with 4x pixels of the retina display, each pixel has to emit 1/4th of the light emitted by "non-retina" pixel, one dead pixel on retina display is so faint and so tiny that you probably need special equipment to see it.

    So, a few dead pixels on a 2048x1536 9.7" displays won't be noticeable by 99.9% of users, only 0.01% (anal-retentive ones) will see them using expensive electron-scanning microscopes :D

    The technology to have 2048x1536 9.7" display is here, no need to wait for superconductor janitor's Moore's law. The leaked $100 increase in iPad's price, 2x resolution of artwork in applications, parts' vendor's display leak, and other rumors all point to the same conclusion: iPad 2 will have 2048x1536 display.

    It has to - to kill competition DOA. It cannot stay at 1024x768, period! You stand still, you die in this market. Processor speed/RAM size improvements are not enough to survive.

    It will be stunning. It will be nothing like you've seen before. With Apple's huge cash reserve to secure the manufacturing of such display at affordable price, they'll have the market all to themselves for another couple of years.

    iPad 2 will be TRULY a magical and revolutionary product at an unbelievable price.
  2. DeathChill macrumors 68000

    Jul 15, 2005
    Except Gruber has a lot of inside sources. If it wasn't him saying it I'd be less likely to believe it, but he seems pretty confident.
  3. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Jul 4, 2007
    Atlanta, GA
    Gruber has a better track record at being correct than you do.
  4. samiznaetekto thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 26, 2009
    Don't be so sure, iPad 2 hasn't been introduced yet. Everybody can be wrong... including Gruber :)

    And never underestimate the power of Apple's disinformation efforts. Including disinforming Mr.Gruber via "reliable inside sources".
  5. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    i dont think you get the concept of "track record" lol
  6. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    When Steve Jobs knows your name, then you have clout


    If Apple does not have a headliner feature for the iPad, like this uber display, it will be a hard and long year until 2012. The banner feature from Honeycomb based tablets is price and variety of sizes/features. What new thing does Apple have to answer back w/o this display? More RAM, a vibration motor, a faster CPU? All of these things are nice, but its boring to Joe Schmo. When they see Honeycomb coming in for hundreds less, with a comparable screen to the iPad, they will be more inclined to go home with the Droid.
  7. yodaxl7 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Gruber has his shares of being wrong. His contacts are not always right. Apple is already using retina display for the iphone 4 and ipod touch 4. iPhone 5 is more than likely have retina display, too. So, it is not a stretch for the iPad 2 will get it, too. Apple could order several millions of screen at 3.5 inch and also some for ipad screen size. It would not cost much, because the company LG would use the same material and order them at huge amounts, too. So, I don't think cost is an issue.

    I do agree Apple want to keep the margins, but the retina screen will not cost much due to large order. Apple has sold more than 160 mil ios devices. Some say they will sell 100 mil iphones this year. All of these phones will have retina displays. I don't see an issue for apple to order more for ipad.

    iPad 2 needs to be more than iphone 3gs equivalent. The rate of technology has surpassed that kind of incremental improvements in the mobile space. Competitions are bring out tablets with dual core.

    Apple has huge advantages: 1st one out, huge library of apps, hugh amounts of music and decent library of movies, etc.; already sold 14.8 mil and counting.

    competitors: psp2,nintendo 3ds, honeycomb os android tablets, web os hp tablets, etc.

    For apple to gain even more shares: front/back cameras, dual core chip, retina display (would be nice), more RAM.
  8. shazzam macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2010
    What do you see when you see an iPad? The screen.
    Where do you look when use an iPad? The screen.
    What is the biggest thing consumers instantly recognize? The screen.

    What should Apple be focused on for iPad 2?
  9. yodaxl7 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2010
    Not likely, galaxy tab is much more expensive. Xoom will not be cheap. There were a few cheaper android tab but they were crap.
  10. jb1280 macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2009
    Hundreds less than $499 and is actually worth buying? Let's get real.

    Do we know anything about the price of really good Honeycomb based tablets yet? I think the only proper interpretation of the banner feature of Honeycomb based tablets right now is that it allows OEMs who would have otherwise relied on Microsoft software to enter the tablet market.

    An important number that came out with the recent earnings report was the ASP of iPad being around $600. People are buying the two low-end models. If an Android OEM thinks that they are going to gain incredible market share by offering a device that is subsidized through a contract or only offer models that have built-in telecom radios, they are probably going to have a painful year.

    Do we know if Samsung, Blackberry, Motorola, et. al. are going to mandate that Verizon or Best Buy change their websites and retail stores? If you go to either website, there is a section for iPad and there is a section for Tablets. This variety of size within OEM lines and the number of OEMs will most likely be problematic. Does a consumer want the 7" Samsung or the 10" Samsung, does a consumer want the 10" Samsung or the 10" Motorola?

    I think the fact that people seem to be buying the low-end iPad models mean that people are not buying tablets like they are buying phones. This could place immense pressure on the OEMs who are now in the tablet market who have previously relied on telecom companies to sell their devices.

    The state of the mp3 market for the last few years has been "iPod and other mp3 players." The state of the tablet market right now is already "iPad and other tablets." In three quarters, Apple sold over 14 million iPads. It took until 2005 for Apple to sell that many iPods and 2009 to sell that many iPhones.

    Android OEMs will sell a lot of tablets, but I think it is more likely than not that Apple maintains 70%+ market share in US tablets and over 30% in the rest of the world.
  11. Travisimo macrumors 6502a

    Dec 22, 2009
    Not only does Gruber have a good track record, but the timing seems awfully like Apple could have purposefully gave him this one in order to stop the hype on this particular rumor. I mean, Apple certainly doesn't want everyone to think there's going to be a super hi-res Retina display in the iPad 2 if it isn't going to happen! They obviously aren't going to come out and say it themselves, but they certainly could be leaking to sources like Gruber.
  12. bbydon macrumors 6502a

    May 18, 2005
    Gruber has been wrong before.

    The track record of Engadget is pretty good as well.... and they are saying the opposite and sticking to it.
  13. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago
    The price on the Galaxy Tab keeps dropping. It's a good deal now with its camera and GPS and speed.

    No idea what the Xoom will cost.

    Definitely a lot of cheap tablets out there right now. And most feel cheap, too. Their quality is slowly inching up, though.

    I got an Archos 101 tablet (10") for $299 a couple of weeks ago. IMO, it's nowhere up to Galaxy Tab class, but it does have a capacitive screen and is pretty usable. (It's my daughter's new favorite Angry Birds platform.)

    By mid to end year, I think we're going to be seeing some great Android tablets, at really good prices.

    What they're missing, is cool tablet-oriented software. That's an advantage of the iPad.
  14. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    I'm putting my money on Gruber on this topic.

    One reason is that apple generally updates its products incrementally. Changing a 2nd generation's device's display so much does not seem to fit apple's M.O.

    Plus the cost differences being bantered around for these displays. I think the recent rumors had them at 75 to 100 bucks more then the cost of the current display panels. I don't think apple will be going with a display that will increase the cost by nearly a hundred dollars. This is especially sensitive given the increasing competition of tablets.
  15. kdarling macrumors P6


    Jun 9, 2007
    First university coding class = 47 years ago

    Also, it's not like other tablets have much higher resolution screens.

    When Apple finally updated the iPhone 4 screen, their device had been behind many other phones that had WVGA resolution. So a leap just past that made sense.

    No such need in tablets right now.
  16. rdowns macrumors Penryn


    Jul 11, 2003

    Honeycomb tablets at hundreds less. That's funny.
  17. gloss macrumors 601


    May 9, 2006
    This is reasonable, but I think that there are enough people looking at their iPhone 4s right now and wondering why the iPad has such a pronounced screen-door effect by comparison. I don't think it'd be completely out of left field for Apple to try and unify screen quality across their touch devices. When the iPad released, it was being compared (favorably) to the 3GS. Now that Apple's own mobile game has changed, as far as screens are concerned, it's a lot less impressive. I see some sort of resolution change, though per Apple's own internal logic, nothing other than doubling is an easy fix. Personally, I'd be happy with even a moderate bump.

    Also, the OP is right as far as Gruber's stupid Moore's Law comparison.
  18. URFloorMatt macrumors 6502

    Jul 4, 2010
    Washington, D.C.
    This is backwards thinking. Increased competition means lower margins for the seller and more aggressive pricing that benefits the consumer.
  19. baummer macrumors 6502a

    Jan 18, 2005
    Southern California
    All will be revealed within the next 6 months. So, everyone just keep your money in your pocket and use it to buy the new iPad.
  20. deeddawg macrumors 604

    Jun 14, 2010
    Only if the competition is based on Price, which is typical if there's little differentiation between competing products. Apple hasn't really gotten into this fray in the other areas of its business, focusing instead on differentiating their products from the rest of the market. Can they continue this? That's the key question.
  21. fertilized-egg macrumors 68020

    Dec 18, 2009
    Sometimes Apple does play pricing game, not in the low-end sector but in the mid-to-high end segments. The first example I can think of is the iPod Nano where Apple bargained their way into a dirt cheap supply of Flash memory. iRiver, the premier maker of the Flash-based MP3s before Apple jumped into the market, was literally shocked at how cheap Apple was able to make the Nanos. Interestingly, Samsung's own MP3 people were even more shocked, seeing how they had just announced their goal to become the #1 MP3 brand in the world by 2007 and it was Samsung's own memory chips that let Apple shatter their dream before it even began.
  22. maflynn Moderator


    Staff Member

    May 3, 2009
    Please define how my post is "backwards thinking"

    Taking what apple continues to do and apply that history to the iPad. Apple has shown many times that they do their own thing regardless of the competition.

    While its possible, I think its unlikely that apple will drastically alter the iPad and increase the price (I don't think apple will reduce their margins any further and so any cost increases would be passed on to the consumer).
  23. Stetrain macrumors 68040

    Feb 6, 2009
    You aren't taking into account the software. Most operating systems and applications aren't resolution independent. The reason most monitors stick around 90-120dpi is because otherwise the elements on screen would be too physically small to be useful. Apple doesn't have this problem with its iOS devices because it only tends to make dpi jumps when it can do so by exactly double in both dimensions.

    The article you linked to is also about screen size, not just dpi.
  24. Kris400 macrumors member

    Jul 14, 2008
    When has Gruber been wrong before when he's actually quoted a reliable source? If you can link me to a time I'd appreciate it.

    Usually he's only ever "wrong" when he explicitly makes guesses as to what Apple will reveal, just for a bit of fun, and always makes it clear that he is doing so at the time.

    When he lets us know that he has had an actual tip off from one of his sources he is almost always correct.

    Engadget on the other hand, has been wrong before with specifics - ie saying the apple tv would run apps - I think it will do in time and that this was a tip off concerning a future version, not the 'next' one, as it will be with their iPad info.
  25. Piggie macrumors G3


    Feb 23, 2010
    Common sense must tell you that Apple desperately want to totally quash the rumour of a 2048x1536 display via letting news slip out of official/unofficial channels.

    The least thing that they want is for the new super resolution stories to gong round and around, even finding their way into printed magazines, so there are millions of people all around the world, tech and not tech people all expecting it, only to feel let down when the launch happens.

    You can imagine the massive sigh of disappointment and gloomy faces at the launch event the moment Steve reveals the resolution is the same.

    No one, not even Apple, would want that to happen. They must want to, without being seen to, do their best to try and kill these stores before launch to avoid this happening.

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