Wednesday, June 9, 2010

iPhone 4 - Retina Display

Although not a secret, one of the most innovative things about the iPhone 4 (besides the gyroscope) is the new high resolution, high density screen: the Retina Display.

No, it's not an OLED screen like the ones in high-end Androids; but don't let that put your down. It's a brand new LCD IPS with 960x640 resolution, four times the resolution of previous iPhone models. (Besides, the pentile OLED pattern still isn't "quite there" in some aspects.)

It's the highest resolution screen used in a smartphone this size, and beats the 800x480 resolution used in most "high-end" models out there today. Should also be enough to remain untouched during the coming years.

To put it simply, it's like going from standard definition to HD "High-Definition" Television!

This isn't the kind of thing you can truly appreciate in images and is better seen "live", but let me try and show you the differences:

Just like a 3GS user now finds previous models unbearably slow, playing around with a iPhone 4 for a while will be anough for you to wonder how you were able to look at that "lowly" screen resolution on the previous models for so long!

The touchscreen is now part of the display itself, no more "separate" panels - also meaning the screen looks like its closer to the surface, instead of "behing a glass panel".

[Easier reading with much sharper text! video here]

You can simulate the difference by opening the next two images each in its own tab, and switching back and forth between them:

Another way to put it, if you were to visit a webpage on a 1:1 scale resolution, see just how much more you can see with the iPhone 4.

[Yep, that's what 4x more resolution means]

Just think of all the Apps that will become much more useful with the extra screen real estate: remote desktop, VNC... it will be amazing!

Though I'm sure there's still a lot to do to improve display technology, as far as resolution goes we're reaching the limit where "more" won't be significantly better. The 326 pixels per inch in the iPhone 4 screen is getting close to what we can actually perceive - though I won't mind replacing it for a 600dpi screen three years from now. :)

So, I believe the next step will be to improve brightness, color accuracy, power saving, contrast in the screen (maybe even OLEDs... with 3 subpixels per pixel instead of the pentile pattern?)
But until then, iPhone 4 users can rest assured they have one of the best displays around!


  1. Had it, the thrill whore off after the first week ultimately went back to my 3gs so that I’m not locked in to AT$T for another year.
    My next phone will be unlockable and an open platform.

  2. Well, the Galaxy S in an excellent alternative to the iPhone 4, right now. :)


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