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Iphone Technology

A Professional Perspective On Apple's Retina Display 346

Posted by kdawson
from the eye-for-an-eye dept.
Reader BWJones, who is a retinal scientist, sends in this detailed analysis of the iPhone 4's "retinal display," which includes photomicrographs of the display pixels of earlier generations of iPhone as well as the iPad. Well worth a read. "... as you can see from these images of the displays I captured under a microscope, the pixels are not square. Rather they are rectangular, and while the short axis is 78 microns, the long axis on the iPhone 4 pixel is somewhere in the neighborhood of 102 microns. ... While [an earlier analysis by] Dr. Soneira was partially correct with respect to the retina, Apple's Retina Display adequately represents the resolution at which images fall upon our retina. ... [I] find Apple's claims stand up to what the human eye can perceive."
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A Professional Perspective On Apple's Retina Display

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  • Too literal (Score:5, Funny)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:11AM (#32690218)

    Apparently we should never ask a scientist, "How do you like *them* Apples?"

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      It seems I saw this story last week here? Or was that a different guy? TFA is slashdottet so I can't tell. At any rate, "retinal display" is meaningless. Your retina can only resolve as good as what your cornea and lens can accurately focus on it. Someone in their 40s will be holding the thing at arm's length, while someone nearsighted might have it six inches from their face without their glasses. And like focusing, retinal density will vary at least slightly from person to person.

      It's meaningless hype, go

  • Heck, even with my glasses off, I can usually see human beings, and they're generally less than 2m in any direction.

    • For some stupid reason Slashdot filters out greek letters such as , , , , and . That was supposed to say 2m.
      • by idontgno (624372)

        That was supposed to say 2m.

        And it did. It said "2 meters". (or 2/3 of 3M, if for some reason you were referring to a majority fraction of Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company [wikipedia.org]).

        Greek letter. like, mu? as in micro? as in ?<--note the missing letter

        Slashdot doesn't accept either the unicode or HTML entity for any of the Greek alphabet, as far as I can tell.

        Makes many scientific discussions pretty difficult, really. That's the ol' Slashdot we know and love.

        • by hedwards (940851)
          It's oddly ironic that /. doesn't allow such nerdy things as Greek letters and proper SI units.
          • by Khyber (864651)

            No, it's just crap following of standards. Something we all scream about yet our favorite overlords can't seem to ever get right.

      • you mean 2m...
    • by wjsteele (255130) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:26AM (#32691262)
      Some say it's impossible to see a target that small, but I used to bullseye womp rats in my T-16 back home. They're not much bigger than two meters.

      Bill
  • by seanadams.com (463190) * on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:12AM (#32690248) Homepage
    People love to whine about all the Apple stories. I would defy any of them to submit their own stories about all the other computer companies that are breaking new ground with this type of research. Do you think Dell for example has a team of physics PHDs figuring out these technologies and pushing their vendors to tool up for them? No, THOSE are the guys just packaging off-the-shelf reference designs. Or waiting for the exclusivity on Apple's deal with [insert obscure pacific rim manufacturer here] to expire so they can make a similar looking phone a few years later.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      People love to whine about all the Apple stories. I would defy any of them to submit their own stories about all the other computer companies that are breaking new ground with this type of research. Do you think Dell for example has a team of physics PHDs figuring out these technologies and pushing their vendors to tool up for them? No, THOSE are the guys just packaging off-the-shelf reference designs. Or waiting for the exclusivity on Apple's deal with [insert obscure pacific rim manufacturer here] to expire so they can make a similar looking phone a few years later.

      Do you think Apple has a team of physics Ph Ds figuring this out? (Hint: no.)

      Apple deserves credit for identifying this technology and bringing it to market. That's a worthwhile and necessary pursuit, no matter what the Slashdot detractors say. But Apple is not doing groundbreaking research into materials science or manufacturing here; it's merely bringing them to market in an attractive way.

      • by seanadams.com (463190) * on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:29AM (#32690504) Homepage
        I'm guessing you have never actually worked with Asian manufacturers. New stuff doesn't just fall out of the sky for whoever is lucky enough to "identify" it. For a customer the size of Apple it is a very close partnership and seldom does the manufacturer fully own the resulting technologies. So either you help them develop the next big thing and you get some degree of exclusivity, or you wait for someone else to pioneer it and then you get it a few years later.
      • by Khashishi (775369)

        I dispute the claim that Apple doesn't have a team of PhDs working on technology. My former coworker, a PhD in particle physics, left our company to work for Apple. He now works on super secret stuff that he can't tell his wife about.

    • Why would dell? they don't make electronics. They build computers byu assembling other peoples electronics.

      I have submitted stories about real ground breaking technologies from:
      Intel
      Giga-Byte
      Nasa
      Chevy
      IBM
      MS.
      and many, many others. I stop submitting 2 years ago because I had not had a submission accepted since 99.

      Now, I don't mind the apple stories. It's not like this is a limited space newspaper.

      BTW that tech isn't as ground breaking as you seem to think. It's like there isn't much there in regard to new tech, so people are glomming onto and straws they can grasp to justify waiting hour to buy a product that they could walk in and buy in 2 weeks. Hell it might even be fixed by then.

      • by snowgirl (978879)

        people are glomming onto and straws they can grasp to justify waiting hour to buy a product that they could walk in and buy in 2 weeks.

        Yeah... there's a crazy mentality about being "the first" sometimes. Waiting for a movie, waiting for a product, etc. People just have this "first post" mentality in just about everything. (I am particularly not immune, myself.)

        I have however gotten through a lot of the hype around Apple stuff. I still really like their products, but as with most people who have been with Apple for over 5 years, I'm always holding out for at least the second generation. I want an iPad, but I know the second generation

    • by jeffmeden (135043) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:34AM (#32690574) Homepage Journal

      This is just buying into the hype. Apple came out with a new phone that happens to have the highest pixel density yet (325 ppi). The next closest is the Motorola Droid at 265 ppi. About 20% higher than the competition... Not really a groundbreaking move by Apple, just them taking another step toward higher density displays. It's what any company would have done. Where was the news story when the Droid came out, besting Apples then best display on the 3GS (of 163ppi) by 40%?

      Disclaimer: I don't have an Iphone, or a Droid, but I do have a brain and I tend to use it when I smell hype.

      • by Petersko (564140) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:04AM (#32690996)
        "Where was the news story when the Droid came out, besting Apples then best display on the 3GS (of 163ppi) by 40%

        Didn't Droid come out 7 months ago? The only way it would have been a story is if it hadn't been able to top the resolution that the iPhone has had since what... 2007?

        Note that Apple didn't market their device as having higher resolution than a competing device. They are marketing it as being so high that it no longer matters.
        • Well, my old HTC Universal had a higher pixel resolution (VGA) and higher DPI than the iPhone - and the device was released two years before the first iPhone.
          But, alas, that was not newsworthy even back then.

      • This is just buying into the hype. Apple came out with a new phone that happens to have the highest pixel density yet (325 ppi). The next closest is the Motorola Droid at 265 ppi. About 20% higher than the competition... Not really a groundbreaking move by Apple, just them taking another step toward higher density displays. It's what any company would have done. Where was the news story when the Droid came out, besting Apples then best display on the 3GS (of 163ppi) by 40%?

        Disclaimer: I don't have an Iphone, or a Droid, but I do have a brain and I tend to use it when I smell hype.

        There probably wasn't a news story specifically on that feature, but there probably was a story that listed that as a feature. The reason the Retina Display (is | may be|) worth a story is that is surpasses an important threshold (they eye's ability to see distinct pixels). Similarly if when movies came out (this is totally made up, do not take this as a history lesson) they started at 10 FPS, an increase to 20 would be a 100% increase, but wouldn't be as interesting as the increase from 20 to 30 (which i

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by zdzichu (100333)

        There are few contenders between Droid's 25 and iPhone's 325: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_displays_by_pixel_density [wikipedia.org]
        There are entries about and over 300 dpi.

      • by sjonke (457707) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:33AM (#32691346) Journal
        Why does this make the Retina Display simply hype, as opposed to something pretty impressive? I don't recall Motorola making any mention of their display's ppi. Apple has made a mention of it and made it clear what this brings to the table for the user - a display that produces images that look like print. What exactly should they have done? Not made it? Not mentioned it? So, yeah, Apple is a lot smarter then Motorola, and the Droid had previously bested the iPhone = 3GS's display ppi. Congrats on that.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by jeffmeden (135043)

          Because it's not "like looking at print on paper"... if you hold the thing a x inches your retina will not be able to distinguish the pixels. The same went for the Droid (albeit at a slightly farther distance) and the same has applied for any LCD at any point in history. It's not as good as print, for one because modern printers use 600 dpi; 300dpi is 80's technology. For two because even when you print at a given DPI, there is chemical dithering that takes place to make the edges indistinguishable. A L

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            the iPhone is better than print. I can hit the center button and no one can tell I was looking at porn while at work/on the bus/etc. You do that with a copy of Juggs, Hustler or Nasty Asians

        • by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:13PM (#32691840)

          It's impressive, but it isn't super impressive. The Toshiba Portege G900 already had a screen at 313ppi, and Sony Erickson X1 is 312ppi.

          What makes it newsworthy, is Jobs said (I paraphrase) "It's as good as the human eye can perceive." That's why he named it the "retina display".

          A scientist with a Ph.D. came along and called bullshit, saying that the human retina can perceive pixels much higher.

          The Ph.D. in this article respectfully disagreed, and said the previous scientist:

          A.) Used the wrong figure for retinal resolution when he made his calculations (0.5 arcminutes instead of the 0.78 arcminutes established by a recent, authoritative study) and

          B.) Failed to factor in losses in the optics of the human eye regarding how much light will actually hit the retina.

          With A fixed and B factored in, the scientist concludes that the practical limit of the human retina (what it can distinguished given the amount of light that hits it) is 286ppi when held at 1 foot away from the eye (the ideal distance for viewing detail). The iPhone is well above this, at 326ppi, which means Jobs was right, and the name is apt.

          It's worth noting that there are quite a few phones that beat the 286ppi limitation, but the iPhone has the highest.

          Basically it looks like we don't need any higher resolution than what the iPhone and others have achieved, anything more would be pointless.

          That, to me, is very impressive.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:41AM (#32690652)
      1. High pixel resolutions are not groundbreaking.
      2. Apple did not invent any of the technology in the iPhone and does not have a team of PhDs working on designs
      3. Apple is great at designing and marketing products that feature the inventions of other people
      4. IBM, Intel, AMD, etc. all design new technologies
      5. Have a nice day
        1. High pixel resolutions are not groundbreaking.
        2. Apple did not invent any of the technology in the iPhone and does not have a team of PhDs working on designs
        3. Apple is great at designing and marketing products that feature the inventions of other people
        4. IBM, Intel, AMD, etc. all design new technologies
        5. Have a nice day

        So things only count as technologies when they're hardware and not when they're software?

      • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:35PM (#32692190)

        High pixel resolutions are not groundbreaking.
        Apple did not invent any of the technology in the iPhone and does not have a team of PhDs working on designs
        Apple is great at designing and marketing products that feature the inventions of other people
        IBM, Intel, AMD, etc. all design new technologies
        Have a nice day

        Apple's an integrator. They assemble cool parts made by others, add some magic sauce, and generally come up with something interesting. Another company working with the same parts might come up with something less compelling. You know, you could compare Apple to a chef. It's not like he's got a proprietary lock on ingredients like meat and vegetables but a good chef can do things with those ingredients that lesser chefs can't touch and people are left guessing as to what he does with the spices to give the food his characteristic zing. You know, the chef comparison really works. Apple is the Soup Nazi. Everyone wants his soup because it's the best on the block but you are in no position to argue with him about anything. You accept what he gives you how he gives it to you with no debate. You complain, "no soup for you!"

        The position Apple's in is that it has to maintain standards and be the best out there or else people will stop putting up with Soup Nazi tactics.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Pieroxy (222434)

          The magic sauce is called software. That's where all the other vendors have failed BIG TIME, thinking that beating whatever phone on raw specs and CPU cycles would be enough. But if your software sucks, then your product sucks, no matter how fucking gorgeous your phone may be.

          It's a wonder no one thought of that one before Apple. It really is.

    • by Low Ranked Craig (1327799) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:43AM (#32690678)
      I like Apple, but let me be the first to say they they do need a team of physics PHDs to work on antenna design...
    • by Trufagus (1803250) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:44AM (#32690694)

      Hummm, I thought IPS was developed by Hitachi? And I assumed that Apple just brought this to market (and probably did some final work on it). So yes, I have exactly the attitude to Apple that you think I do.

      Relative to other companies their size Apple has a massive marketing budget and a puny R&D budget. Recently we've been hearing about how Apple has grown bigger then MS, but their R&D budget was 10% of Microsoft's in 2009. Investors have became angry with other companies for spending so much on R&D and they point to the example of Apple that makes better much money by spending their money on marketing.

      In the case of this display, Apple's problem was that they couldn't get Samsung's Super AMOLED display. If they had, I"m sure you would be telling us about Apple incredibly ground-breaking R&D on reducing the power consumption of a display. Apparently though, now that the iPhone 4 is using IPS, we've decided that 'retinal' resolution is the key and giving thanks to Apple for inventing that.

      • Recently we've been hearing about how Apple has grown bigger then MS, but their R&D budget was 10% of Microsoft's in 2009. Investors have became angry with other companies for spending so much on R&D and they point to the example of Apple that makes better much money by spending their money on marketing.

        So do Coke and Pepsi and other basic consumer brands.

        Apple is not the next Lockheed Martin, its trying to be Coke; ubiquitous and popular, not particularly innovative.

      • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bashibazouk (582054) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:51PM (#32692538) Journal

        Or so the apple haters would have you believe...

        2009 apple advertising was 1.37% of revenue or $500 million

        Microsoft the same year: 2.4% of revenue or 1.4 billion
        Dell: 1.3% and 811 million.
        RIM: 2.4% and 337 million

        Sounds to me like they are less of a "Marketing" company and more of a hardware company putting out better selling products...

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by tknd (979052)

          First of all, marketing is not just advertising. There is a lot to marketing that is not advertising like focus groups, surveys, strategies, and measurement.

          And although you claim that Microsoft spent more as a percentage of revenue on advertising, they also spent way more than Apple on R&D:

          all numbers in millions

          AAPL (52 weeks ending 2009-09-26)

          Total Revenue 42,905.00
          Research & Development 1,333.00
          R&D percentage of revenue: 3.1%

          MSFT (12 months ending 2009-06-30)

          Total Revenue 58,437.00

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Odd, there are no comments above yours whining that there are too many apple stories.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:13AM (#32690252)

    And since you can't actually HOLD the fucking phone to make calls, looking at it is all you're going to do with it.

  • by mattdm (1931) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:13AM (#32690256) Homepage

    I'm really happy to see screen resolution getting attention. My Vaio U101 had a pretty decent ppi, but it's long in the tooth and that that class of system -- always a niche -- has basically been displaced from the market by netbooks. And I'm sick of netbooks with low-res screens. Hopefully this will catch on as an important feature.

    (I'm double-sick of people saying: "But if there's a higher-resolution screen, everything gets tiny and hard to see. So low-res is better for small screens." Ahhhh! You're doing it wrong!)

    • by Timmmm (636430) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:22AM (#32690394)

      I agree, imagine if we had computer screens with this pixel density! We could finally have smoothly scalable *and* sharp fonts. It would also stop the need to add hinting to fonts, which is apparently really tedious and difficult.

      • by bhtooefr (649901)

        Given the viewing distances necessary, we already do - the IBM T221. 3840x2400, at 22.2". Straight from 2001. (And discontinued in 2005 or 2006, depending on market.)

        204 PPI, but again, the viewing distances make it such that the T221 would have similar effective density to the iPhone 4.

        My main machine is a ThinkPad T60p with a 2048x1536 display retrofitted, that's "only" 171 PPI, but it gets the job done, and it's more flexible than a desktop.

        • by nojayuk (567177)

          The T221 display had crap colour definition, low contrast especially off-axis, slow refresh and it required four video channels to drive it. Video and photo reproduction wasn't its forte though, what it was great at doing was putting a lot of numbers and graphs in front of someone's eyeballs. It mainly sold into scientific and engineering environments (CAD, PCB and chip layout etc.) and financial trading houses but it was never aimed at Joe Public.

          You see them turn up on Ebay occasionally, still commandin

  • Gotta admit (Score:2, Offtopic)

    by Pojut (1027544)

    Regardless of my thoughts on Apple as a business, the new iPhone is an attractive bit of hardware. If only Jobs wasn't being such a bastard [arstechnica.com] about the antenna problems...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You don't get it. How do you hold your stick is very important when you're casting spells! Remember: this is a magical device!
  • I remember the HTC Fuze, when it came out it had a full VGA (480-by-640-pixel) resolution 2.8-inch LCD. Wouldn't be not only fair, but also interesting to compare to other brands in the market? I mean from the scientific perspective?
  • by gig (78408) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:21AM (#32690380)

    ... which is why "laser quality" is 300 dpi. We knew fax looks like shit because it's 200 dpi. It's why chemical photo prints are almost 300 dpi. Why print artwork is done at 300 dpi. The "300 dpi pleases the retina" thing is like 25 or more years old. 300 is the most important point on the resolution scale.

    But of course if Steve Jobs says it, then the Nerd Police have to say it's wrong. If it didn't happen in a video game or a Windows patch then they don't fucking know. As if Apple doesn't know about graphics and publishing!

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by dtassinari (1418761)

      Good point: I never actually thought about that.

      Also, I never bothered to do the math, but if I'm not grossly mistaken a full-HD screen with 300 dpi resolution would have to be 7"-7.5" big.

      I'd hit that.

    • by lxs (131946) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:48AM (#32690752)

      There's a huge difference between 300dpi in printing where your C,Y,M or K is either on or off, and 300dpi in systems where the C,Y and M or your R, G and B come in 256+ levels. (chemical photo printing and color displays respectively)

      Print artwork is vastly inferior to a good photo print at the same resolution.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Graff (532189)

        There's a huge difference between 300dpi in printing where your C,Y,M or K is either on or off, and 300dpi in systems where the C,Y and M or your R, G and B come in 256+ levels.

        That's not actually how halftoning [wikipedia.org] works in print. You have various levels of ink coverage at each "pixel" location, what they do is vary the dot size from large enough to cover all of the paper at that location to no ink at all. You easily achieve 256 levels of intensity at each location when halftoning.

        • Your 300dpi color inkjet (or laserjet) doesn’t print halftoned images, and that’s what GP was talking about.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:49AM (#32690770)

      .. which is why "laser quality" is 300 dpi. We knew fax looks like shit because it's 200 dpi. It's why chemical photo prints are almost 300 dpi. Why print artwork is done at 300 dpi. The "300 dpi pleases the retina" thing is like 25 or more years old. 300 is the most important point on the resolution scale.

      As someone that used to work for an agency:

      300 DPI represents an reasonable economics tradeoff between accuracy and cost. You can have 1270 DPI (professional photo typesetters run that high), but how much do you want to pay for it? Those machines are $500k+. And yes, your eye can tell the difference between 300 DPI and 1270 DPI.

      Artwork developed by print agencies is done at 300 DPI and no higher because of limitations on file transfer size and professional printer RIP speed. Trust me, if an 8" x 10" photo could be squashed into 3-5MB and rasterized in a short amount of time at 1270 DPI, there would be printing equipment and printers offering that as a service overnight.

      Finally, standard 35mm film is around 10,000 DPI, dude.

      • by omnichad (1198475) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:26AM (#32691264) Homepage

        Finally, standard 35mm film is around 10,000 DPI, dude.

         
        35mm film is a storage format, not a display format. Yes, blowing that up to an 8x10 still gives you something like 1,000 dpi. But the 10,000 dpi figure is meaningless unless you like looking at 35mm wide prints at 12 inches away.

      • by Pandrake (1513617) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:47AM (#32691492) Homepage

        Hmmm, I also used to and *currently* work in the print industry. I don't have time to explain the relationship between DPI and LPI when it comes to reproducing halftones in print, plus the effects of the only three different kinds of printing technology (ink based, toner based, and ink jet based) *and* the effect that has on different kinds of paper stock.

        Essentially, the "sweet spot" for color halftones is 340 dpi when you have the option of a very high linescreen with very low dot gain. There's sort of a formula for dpi, which is 2.5 X the linescreen (LPI); but it cannot be followed exactly if you're worried about tracking and other quality issues. 300 dpi is a nice round number that makes for "easy" to email files as well as a good standard for target resampling in PDFs and the like. Anything higher than 300/340 dpi and you'll have to have an LPI so high in order to prevent banding you can't keep the dots on the page (again, depending on which printing technolgoy you use). If you're LPI is too low it looks like the old newspaper photos, and also runs the risk of rosetta morie patterns being visible if the angle of the 4 inks (if using only 4 inks) isn't adjusted properly.

        For toner and ink jet based printing, it's easier to get away with as little as 150 dpi for color photos since the LPI is moot at a certain point where dot gain and near continuous tone transfer of pigment is possible.

        For greyscale halftones, you usually want 600 dpi for SWOP printing; again, it's not forumulaic, since that high of resolution may or may not result in banding depending on the LPI and the distance-to-amount of gradiation.

        For black and white, such as text, you want the dpi to be as high as your output dpi - so you don't see any of the jagged edges between the points of black and the white of the paper underneath.

        Finally, standard 35mm film is around 3,200 dpi depending on the emulsion chemistry.

  • by know1 (854868) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:22AM (#32690396)
    This innovation sure beats that whole punch card technology.
  • So I played with one briefly yesterday. I thought, "oh, this is nice, it's about the same speed as my 3gs...this screen doesn't LOOK a whole lot better." Then I realized I really needed to clean my glasses. With my glasses off, and the screen 6 inches from my nose, it looks AWESOME. From any distance away, through my myopic eyes, dirty glasses, and the pollutants in the air, it's much better than it needs to be.

    • Try looking at pictures using the phone (online or otherwise). Even just comparing that default "raindrop" ios4.0 screen is like night and day, from two feet away...

      And text looks way better.

  • 102m x 78m = 7956 m^2, which is just under 2 acres. That seems like hyperbole to me. Also, STFU. This topic was beaten to death within an hour of Jobs first using the word 'retinal.' At least put it on Idle where it belongs, if it belongs anywhere.
  • So you have a screen where 1px matches the minimum line width that you can see, and pick a suitably small font so that the legs of an 'm' are 1px apart (should be the smallest readable font). And it looks like shit because one of the spaces is slightly wider than the other so one leg is halfway between two rows of pixels and looks blurry or colored, or because the distance between the legs of an 'n' or heads of a 'u' isn't an exact multiple and those end up at a half-pixel and get blurred/colored.

    Can I get

    • by tgibbs (83782)

      No scalable font will look perfectly clear at a size where the lines and spaces within the characters are close to the width of the pixels. To get really sharp text that tiny, you need a font bitmap designed specifically for that size and resolution (and which will look crappy at any other size). This is actually how the original black-and-white screen Mac worked--each font had a set of bitmaps that were hand-optimized for that particular size and screen resolution. But the resolution of the new iPhone is s

    • You’re kidding, right? What you’re calling the “minimum should-be-readable size” would only be readable with a magnifying glass... that’s something like a 45 characters per inch, 2-point font.

  • 1. We had 310dpi mobile screens 2 years ago, so I'm not sure what's groundbreaking here. Hell, even some of the cheaper stuff went to 280dpi.

    2. The argument was that you have to hold the 'phone pretty fucking far from your face for it to be impossible for your eyes to perceive pixelisation. This hasn't been disproven.

    3. What's your point with the pixel shapes? If you're saying that we have better resolution left/right than up/down, then you do realise the phone is designed to rotate, yes?

    4. Pixel size isn't

  • "Rather they are rectangular and while the short axis is 78m, the long axis on the iPhone 4 pixel is somewhere in the neighborhood of 102m"

    Wow, 78 meters but 102 meters? I guess Apple released this for gaming, so that the World Cup matches could be played on each pixel. That, or the quoted text is out by six orders of magnitude in each direction...

  • I always thought the retinal display claim was kind of dumb. What PART of the retina (should have called it a fovea display)? How far do I need to hold it from my face? They can talk about retina displays when they are beaming low power scanning lasers through my pupil. Disclaimer: I'm a Self proclaimed fanboi, but I also triple boot and run my time-machine server on my ubuntu tower.
  • by peter303 (12292) on Friday June 25, 2010 @10:47AM (#32690742)
    With both a hi-res camera and display, you show more of your face than perhaps you want. Every line, pimple and stray hair shows up, when I playing with FaceTime yesterday.

    A minor aggravation is if you hold the phone normally you get a view of one's nostrils and chin. You have tilt your neck and/or lift the phone to get a good face view.

    I think theres agood opportunity for a face-beautification app here. Maybe you could slightly de-focus the face like cameramen did for women in 1930s/1940s movies, to make them look better.
  • I think that's debatable. Besides, I just can't see myself doing so. Get it? Get it? Thank you, I'm here all week. Remember to tip your waitress.
  • by SharpFang (651121) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:05AM (#32691012) Homepage Journal

    That's all and pretty and works pretty well... until you rotate the phone 90 degrees.

    Oh, and totally sucks for developers to work with non-square pixels. Reminds me of 8-bit Atari, Graphics 11. 80×192 in landscape aspect ratio, pixels half a millimeter tall, half a centimeter wide.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by omnichad (1198475)

      The pixels ARE square - at least in the display sense. At 78um x 102um it comes close to a 4:3 display turned on its side. Now, 4:3 is what computer graphics have been using since CGA at least.

      However, that measurement (FTA) doesn't take into account the pixel pitch. There's a gap of approximately 33um (eyeballing this) between each pixel horizontally, where there's maybe a 5um gap vertically. That makes each pixel take up approximately 111um x 107um which you might as well consider perfectly square, si

  • Leading scientists have proven that Sears Silvertone electrical appliances contain scant amounts of silver. Some contain no silver at all!!!

    Of course Sears didn't have a former coke dealer go on stage and claim silver content.

    Still, this used to be Slashdot. Why do we put up with all this macfag gibber?

  • Dithering... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wowbagger (69688) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:16AM (#32691144) Homepage Journal

    I cannot RTFA being it is dead, but my question about all of this "retina-level" stuff is: are they factoring that the eye uses dithering and jittering to increase the spatial resolution?

    Last I'd heard, the current theory is that by using micro-saccades, the eye can increase the spatial resolution over what your would naively predict based upon the angular spacing of the cones.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Friday June 25, 2010 @11:58AM (#32691642)
    First story about how it's not really retinal resolution was dumb. Then a rebuttal to it wasn't toally dumb, but that was enough. Now this. What next, a detailed analysis of what the word retinal means, or what the meaning of the word is is? Yeah, I know, skip the article if I'm not interested, but I figured I'm not the only one who finds this retinal-grazing a little extreme.
  • by mdmkolbe (944892) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:06PM (#32691748)

    The article uses a benchmark of 1 arc minute at 1 foot which is 88 micrometers, but the pixels are taller than that (102 micrometers) even if they are only 78 micrometers wide.

    Note, the 1 arc minute number he uses is still bogus because that number actually represents the resolution at which doctors think your vision "good enough" to not need further correction. It also is only measuring the reliable recognition of letters. The width at which lines completely blur into each other or at which aliasing artifacts are not noticeable is much smaller. Cf. vernier acuity which is only 0.13 arc minutes.

    (Fun fact: In Knuth's original work on digital type setting he says he stopped somewhere around 300-600 DPI not because that was "good enough" but because of the limits of the printing process. Beyond that resolution the ink/toner starts to "stick into clumps". Steve Job's might have been more accurate to say that the screen has (almost) printer quality resolution.)

  • Well... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mea37 (1201159) on Friday June 25, 2010 @12:29PM (#32692064)

    ...I'm glad that's resolved.

    Actually, it seems a bit odd, given the facts presented, that the conclusion indicates the claim holds up. If the conclusion were "it pretty much holds up, far more than you could expect for marketing", I'd be on board... but I think a true purist would withhold the claim of "retinal" resolution for another generation or two, for a couple reasons:

    1) Perhaps nitpicky, but this measurement assumes a viewing distance of 12" on the basis that the ability to resolve detail may be best at 12". However, at 6" the arc spacing of the pixels would be twice as large; whereas my ability to resolve detail at 6" may not be optimal, but probably isn't only half what it would be at 12". Now you can justify that away, I suppose, by arguing that nobody would try to use a touchscreen at a viewing distance of 6", but...

    2) The threshold spacing TFA calculated is greater than the spacing of pixels along the short axis, but not along the long axis.

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