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Cellphones Displays Iphone Apple Technology

iPhone 4's "Retina Display" Claims Challenged 476

Posted by timothy
from the obviously-you-need-an-i-retina dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "Of the many things that buyers might need to know about the new iPhone, Raymond Soneira — president of DisplayMate Technolgies — added one more to the list. Soneira challenged Apple's claims that Apple's new iPhone contains a so-called 'retina display.' According to Soneira, the resolution of the retina is in angular measure, 50 cycles per degree, where a cycle is a line pair, which is two pixels, so the angular resolution of the eye is 0.6 arc minutes per pixel. So, if you hold an iPhone at the typical 12 inches from your eyes, that works out to 477 pixels per inch. At 8 inches it's 716 ppi. You have to hold iPhone 4 out about 18 inches before it falls to 318 ppi. So the iPhone has significantly lower resolution than the retina."
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iPhone 4's "Retina Display" Claims Challenged

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  • by craznar (710808) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:20PM (#32517096) Homepage
    It isn't meant to have the same resolution as the retina, it is meant to have sufficient resolution at reading distance, just that pixels are not detectable by the retina. Also remember, the colour resolution of the eye is far poorer than the b&w resolution of the eye, and the aim here is about colour. So I think the original statement by Steve is squishy enough to hold up to this scrutiny.
  • by war4peace (1628283) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:21PM (#32517122)
    So Apple basically measured their 300 ppi by looking at a monitor from 4 feet away, then took the hard number, applied it on an iPhone and there you have, the "retina display". Don't take me wrong, I couldn't care less, iWhatever products are not interesting to me for many reasons. I just am curious what makes Marketing tick :)
  • 12 inches? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ceejayoz (567949) <cj@ceejayoz.com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:22PM (#32517144) Homepage Journal

    Has anyone done actual studies on average distance of a smartphone from one's eyes, or is he making up the 12 inch stat?

    I'd say I range between 12 and 18 depending on how I'm using the phone.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:35PM (#32517272) Journal

    >>>so it may be 18 inches for "true" retina display versus 12 inches. Ok... Big deal.

    The big deal is that it's false advertising. Steve said it produces an image greater than the human eye can see, when held at 10-12 inches length but that's not true. The eye can resolve approximately 500 pixels per inch at that distance, and the iPhone is only 320 ppi, so Steve's claim is not true.

    If another company like GM or BP had made a false claim, you'd be all over them and demanding the government sue them, but because it's your corporate "friend" Apple, you ignore the sin of false advertising..... .....and speaking of false advertising, the new TV screen that advertises 4 primary colors (RB and yellow) is ridiculous. MPEG-encoded video only assigns values to the Red, Green, Blue, and Luminance (black-and-white). The yellow does not exist. The yellow phosphors will never light up.

  • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:35PM (#32517274) Homepage

    I suppose we can assume that they imply "at the typical distance at which you hold your iPhone" because otherwise the claim would be nonsense.

    Yeah, that's the thing: You can't really talk about this sort of issue with pixel density alone. You can only talk about it as a function of both pixel density and viewing distance. So the first question is, what is the expected range of viewing distance for an iPhone?

    If the claim becomes true when you hold the phone 18" from your eyes, then that doesn't seem like too much of an exaggeration to me. I'd estimate I usually hold my phone at about that distance. Regardless, the overall point is to say, "we put a really high-resolution screen in this phone", which is certainly true.

  • by Mad Quacker (3327) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:00PM (#32517594) Homepage

    Either that or he insists on using a third-party mouse with inadequate driver support for Mac OS X, so what he thinks is helping him is really causing his problem.

    Actually my solution is to not use any third party fixes, to use the default (or lower) mouse sensitivity setting, and then use a logitech mouse which will by hardware switch have a huge input DPI. This minimized the acceleration "step" behavior while still allowing me to cross two monitors with a very small and precise mouse movement. This is opposed to the normal mac mouse and user which consists of - elbow move the mouse across the desk, pick it up and move it back, repeat several times.

  • by BasilBrush (643681) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:16PM (#32517772)

    No, no, no! Mr. Soneira has it all wrong!

    It is of course just as possible that he has it wrong as that Apple has. But it's going to be easy enough to test when the new phone is out. Draw a graphic of alternate black and white lines. If it looks grey, that's higher than retina resolution. If it looks like alternate lines, that's lower. See what distance from the eye one perception changes to the other.

    I'd be surprised if someone at Apple didn't try out this simple experiment. I'd be doubly surprised if the display manufacturer's didn't.

    We shall see for ourselves who "has it all wrong!"

  • by vijayiyer (728590) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:18PM (#32517788)

    The only thing to say is "Not for Apple users". Notice how the mouse sensitivity is set at 80-year-old-grandmother level on Mac's? Apple's customers are not that distinguishing. They aim for lowest common denominator. They've made a successful business out of, and that's all there is to say about it.

    So faster is better? Lower mouse sensitivity is for people who aren't distinguishing?
    I can cross my 30" monitor without lifting the mouse (total of about 3" of movement), but it's fine enough for photoshop work. If I need to move the mouse that often, I'll use the command line instead.
    I would say the onus is on you to explain why we're all idiots and your preferred mouse sensitivity/acceleration curve should be the default.

  • Re:bad vision (Score:4, Interesting)

    by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:21PM (#32517834) Homepage

    I read books in dim lighting holding them 8-10 inches from my face all through high school. (Reading in bed ftw!) My eye doctor thinks that is why my eyes are so strong.

    When it comes to eyes, everyone's different. What works for you may not work for me, and vice versa.

  • by jbssm (961115) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:34PM (#32517978)

    the colour resolution of the eye is far poorer than the b&w resolution of the eye

    Hum, no, it doesn't work like that. Sorry but I think you are mixing angular resolution with light gathering capacity of the eye in colour and B&W, in that case yes, the cells that see in black and white (the bastonetes) have a better light gathering ability than the ones you use to see in colour (the cones). But you ability to discern 2 points, doesn't depend if they are black or white ... what happens is that you cannot see the colour in cases of very dim light sources, you see them white (a dim star for instance, in that case you cannot tell if the star is blue, red or yellow, you can only discern the colours of stars if they are bright enough).

  • by shellbeach (610559) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:42PM (#32518046)

    It isn't meant to have the same resolution as the retina, it is meant to have sufficient resolution at reading distance, just that pixels are not detectable by the retina.

    Uh, detectable resolution is the topic of the article. And the point being, unless you read your iPhone held 18 inches away from your face, your eyes can detect more detail than the iPhone screen has -- hence being able to see pixels. The colour argument is a little spurious, incidentally, since fine gradations of colour look fine on even much lower resolution screens -- it's the regions of high contast, i.e. black and white, that irritate with current screens.

    Mind you, 18 inches is about the right reading distance for me when reading books on my ipod touch, and it's still an awesome screen resolution irrespective of whether I can see the pixels ...

  • Re:Balderdash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:05PM (#32518234) Journal

    Down in the fovea it may be up at this guy's numbers, but much less everywhere else.

    The only place you really care about acuity is in the fovea. Try reading something more than one degree off center some time. Your eye will fight to put it in the center.

    That's why the old NTSC standard

    Comparing something unfavorably to NTSC is going to get you marked as a nutter.

    The iPhone, and every other LCD screen, has three color elements per pixel, while the eye has like 1/3. That's a NINE TIMES difference that this guy is glossing over.

    Not really. You can see those pixels, so they're relevant.

    We don't spend our lives inspecting individual pixels-- we let our brain process the images into coherent high-level objects, such as "letters" and "faces".

    And "grainy pictures" and "pixellated pictures" and "grids overlaid on pictures" and "crummy resolution LCD screens I wish I had a nice tight OLED like blair's nexus one has".

    The main thing to take away from this submission is that Steve Jobs got waxed by the Android handsets from HTC and ran scared into the hands of the "retinal" hypeword. He's cornered on the hardware, the software, and the network, and he's paddling as fast as he can because the water's rising. One good miss and his bloated stock price is going tank, and lop billions off his company's value.

    Doesn't take the Hubble Telescope to see that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:20PM (#32518846)

    Hint: People make a big deal about 20/20 vision because it's a minimum standard for having "normal" vision. At the DMV, they test that you have at least 20/20 vision, but most people can see better than 20/20.

    The Wikipedia article confirms that the normal range of human vision is from 20/20 (low end of normal) to 20/12 (high end of normal). The article doesn't say, but I'll assume it's a normal distribution, so 20/16 would be the median (yes, I'm ignoring the fact that a large percentage of the non-normal-vision population has their vision corrected to the bare minimum requirement).

    20/12 is 0.6 minutes of arc; 1 / tan(0.6 / 60) = ~5729.6 dpi * inches away, so someone with 20/12 vision can see 320 dpi at 5729.6 / 320 = 17.9 inches.
    20/16 is 0.8 minutes of arc; 1 / tan(0.8 / 60) = ~4297.2 dpi * inches away, so someone with "average" 20/16 vision can see 320 dpi at 4297.2 / 320 = 13.4 inches.
    20/20 is 1.0 minutes of arc; 1 / tan(1.0 / 60) = ~3437.7 dpi * inches away, so someone with "only" 20/20 vision can see 320 dpi at 3437.7 / 320 = 10.7 inches.

    Thus a typical consumer with normal (uncorrected) vision will need to hold the device 10.7 to 17.9 inches to have a "retinal" experience, and at least 50% of those will need to hold it more than 13.4 inches away. However, the typical consumer with exactly 20/20 corrective lenses (the minimum required by the DMV) can have a "retinal" display if they hold the device at 10.7 inches. Geeks have notoriously bad eyesight, so that probably shifts the average a lot closer to 12 inches (at least here on /.).

    p.s. I have natural 20/14 vision, so I would have to hold the device about 15.3 inches away.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2010 @02:28AM (#32520586)

    You're thinking of OLED (because of the comparatively high costs of red and blue cells). "RGBG" is uncommon to nonexistent on LCD.

  • by aliquis (678370) <dospam@gmail.com> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @03:34AM (#32520912) Homepage

    lol, wrong person to ask :D

    As of now I have no fucking clue. I'm betting a few thousand bath in Thailand would do it but maybe not them I'm old and desperate and don't care enough to actually do it.

    I'm 30 and got three phone numbers of 17-18 year olds last friday when they went out of school though :D, buuut the one I decided to ask out even though I knew she said she had a bf thought it wouldn't be a good idea for the same reason.

    Should had kept her while she was drunk instead :/

    And no, she don't know I'm 13 years older, so even if the "boyfriend" wouldn't had been a problem we would eventually have had one long-term when she found out :D

    (That step was easy though, new short synth-style haircut, shaved, moisturized, slightly drunk and then just walk to the park where all high-school graduates end up when the bars has closed (though there wasn't many of them and hence the one year younger ones.))

  • by GigaplexNZ (1233886) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @04:43AM (#32521262)

    The Apple panic advertising, where they are making extremely exaggerated claims, some claims so ludicrous as to come off really lame has nothing to do with hardware specifications.

    You mean like where they claim the iPad is widescreen [apple.com] at 1024x768?

  • by Muad'Dave (255648) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:14PM (#32524520) Homepage

    Their advantage is that they are extremely light sensitive, almost down to detecting a single photon.

    I read [scientificamerican.com] recently that the rods can detect single photons, but that the brain rejects any signal that was caused by less than 7 photons. How cool is that? Our brains have a built-in noise filter.

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