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Cellphones Displays Iphone Apple Technology

iPhone 4's "Retina Display" Claims Challenged 476

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 alain94040 ( 785132 ) * on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:13PM (#32516992) Homepage

    According to Wikipedia []:

    For a human eye with excellent acuity, the maximum theoretical resolution is 50 CPD (Cycles Per Degree). A rat can resolve only about 1 to 2 CPD.

    I guess "rat-ina display" didn't sound as good to Apple marketing :-)

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

    Join Guy Kawasaki and 250+ founders at the Founder Conference'2010 []

  • by dnahelicase ( 1594971 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:20PM (#32517100)

    According to Wikipedia []:

    For a human eye with excellent acuity, the maximum theoretical resolution is 50 CPD (Cycles Per Degree). A rat can resolve only about 1 to 2 CPD.

    I guess "rat-ina display" didn't sound as good to Apple marketing :-)

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

    It's only a big deal if you think Apple should be honest in it's marketing

  • by Chalex ( 71702 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:21PM (#32517116) Homepage

    Here's Apple's page about the new display:

    They say "the Retina display’s pixel density is so high, your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels." 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. Because surely you can hold it close enough to distinguish the pixels. (Unless you really can't, I haven't seen the screen).

    But in any case, it's more of a marketing claim than a technical spec. They do not literally mean "this screen has the same 'resolution' as your retina". Your retina doesn't even have pixels! They just mean "it makes web pages looks great!".

    So this "president of DisplayMate Technolgies" [sic] is tilting at windmills here.

  • Eyestrain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by iluvcapra ( 782887 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:21PM (#32517120)

    Now holding iPhone in front of face at comfortable distance... Ruler tells me I'm holding it 18-20 inches away.

    However, 12 inches is still comfortable, and I do see people holding their phones that close, just not me. And 24-30" seems to be where I hold it when I'm looking at it in the discreet from-the-waist manner.

    This guys argument reminds me vaguely of the guy who asked about Itchy striking Scratchy's same rib twice and making two distinct notes.

  • It's still better (Score:4, Insightful)

    by uvsc_wolverine ( 692513 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:23PM (#32517150) Homepage
    It's all just marketing speak anyway. It IS a higher-resolution display, but giving it a name like "retina" to a display is just the marketing guys trying to make you think that you won't notice any pixelation. That being said it is a better looking display than what's on the 3G/3GS. I think it's also likely that the average person won't notice much pixelation on the new display anyway.
  • by SporkLand ( 225979 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:34PM (#32517260)

    I initially had the same reaction that the guy was getting pedantic about a term like "Retina display" which is obvious marketing bullshit.

    But as I read the rest of the summary (not the article, mind you) I realized that he was picking apart the claim that Jobs made that the screen resolution is higher than that of the retina. Which I think is fair game to critique.

  • by KuNgFo0 ( 519426 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:34PM (#32517264) Homepage
    So if Apple claims the "pixel density is so high, your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels" ... does that mean the iPhones v5, 6, 7, etc will continue to use the same resolution display since nothing higher will be noticeable by humans? Or is it obviously more likely that displays will continue to improve for the foreseeable future. Coming in 2011: iPhone featuring the revolutionary Retina Display HD!
  • by Mad Quacker ( 3327 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:35PM (#32517276) Homepage

    You know, there is a preference panel for that...

    ..and even at the highest setting it's not only sensitive enough, but since the release Leopard, the acceleration curve has turned into an acceleration step, which makes it nearly unusable. The only way I get by on an mac is with a 2500+ DPI mouse.

  • by MDMurphy ( 208495 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:42PM (#32517362)

    getting screwed != getting laid

  • Balderdash (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ancient_Hacker ( 751168 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:50PM (#32517482)

    balderdash and poppycock, on so many levels:

    (1) The human eye has very variable resolution. Down in the fovea it may be up at this guy's numbers, but much less everywhere else.

    (2) The eye's color receptors are much farther apart, and therefore of poorer resolution, that the monochrome receptors. That's why the old NTSC standard had about 1/3 the color bandwidth than the Y bandwidth.

    (3) 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.

    (4) It really doesn't matter. 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".

    Otherwise okay.

  • by nick357 ( 108909 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:52PM (#32517498)

    According to arstechnica's keynote LiveBlog, Steve said:

    Retina display has 326 pixels per inch ...
    It turns out there's a "magic number" right around 300 pixels per inch. When you hold something about 10-12 inches away from your eye, there's a limit in the human retina to differentiate the pixels ...
    at 326 pixels, we are comfortably over that limit []

  • Re:12 inches? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by petes_PoV ( 912422 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:53PM (#32517524)
    He's making up a whole bunch of stuff. A cursory check (OK, it's was only wikipedia) suggests that 20/20 vision requires an acuity of 1 arc-minute, not the 0.6 this guy quotes.

    I call "bull" on the whole thing.

  • by John Whitley ( 6067 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:00PM (#32517600) Homepage

    They do not literally mean "this screen has the same 'resolution' as your retina".

    Precisely. Quoting Steve Jobs' keynote from the WWDC via this transcript []:

    There's a magic number around 300DPI where, about a foot away, you can no longer see pixels; limit of the human retina.

    Note that in practice, this limit is going to vary (generally, get worse) by individual due to the overall condition of their visual system.

  • by gig ( 78408 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:03PM (#32517636)

    It's about publishing, not anatomy. This argument is like saying we should have celebrated the millenium in 2001.

    Jobs said "300 dpi is a magic number" and indeed it is. He is referring to an ancient publishing standard. In print publishing, 300 dpi is "laser quality". It is very common for a graphic artist to create a "print" version of an artwork at 300 dpi and an "online" version at 72 dpi (effectively zero, or "resolution unknown", or 1:1 pixel ratio). We have looked forward to 300 dpi screens for many years because then you just make one 300 dpi version for both print and screen. The most important number on the dpi resolution ruler is 300. It is extremely significant to ship the first 300+ dpi screen.

    A similar magic number in audio is 20kHz, the generally accepted upper limit of human hearing and the standard for "CD audio". The CD was significant because it passed the 20kHz magic number, and consumer audio still uses that frequency range today, 30 years later.

    The key thing with these magic numbers is that below them you get dramatically lower quality but above them you get severely limited returns. 300 dpi and 20kHz are the points where it takes an expert to tell the difference between them and a higher quality. Most people can tell the difference between 200 and 300 dpi, but most people cannot tell te difference between 300 dpi and 600 dpi.

    So the author of this article should have done some publishing industry research, some graphic arts research, instead of researching the eye. That is what Steve Jobs talks about when he says Apple is not just technology but also liberal arts, a broader knowledge of the world than just science.

    This article is not just ignorant, it's also mean-spirited, small-minded. Like people who say "Think Different" is bad grammar. It's poetry you fuck. Broaden your horizons.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:13PM (#32517740)

    Nerd chicks dig wealth as much as any other kind. Yes, it's unfair.

  • Re:bad vision (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tverbeek ( 457094 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:21PM (#32517846) Homepage

    I'm over 40 and can't focus closer than 18 inches anyway, so it doesn't matter to me. :)

    Seriously, I work with a lot of people who have worse presbyopia than I do (mine's in the early stages), and this trend toward higher resolution displays isn't necessarily a good thing for them. Quadruple the resolution of the display like this, and developers are going to try to take advantage of that to squeeze more and more detail (e.g. smaller text) into that 3.5" screen. But all that resolution doesn't do any good if you have to hold it at arm's length to focus. (Show me a 60-year-old with a laptop LCD set to its native resolution instead of being down-sampled for larger images, and I'll show you someone using strong corrective lenses.) With lower-res screens (such as 72dpi) the text was big enough to read even if you couldn't focus on it, because the dot pitch required it. Not any more. So you're going to see more and more over-50s using "phone glasses" just to read the durn things.

  • by radish ( 98371 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:39PM (#32518020) Homepage

    I don't recall Steve saying anything about 10-12 inches. I don't hold my phone that close when I'm using it, neither does my wife and to be honest neither does anyone I remember seeing recently. For me, it's more like double that.

  • by dfghjk ( 711126 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:41PM (#32518040)

    300 dpi, like 72 dpi before, is just an arbitrary number. 300 dpi being "laser quality" is because the original laser marking engines were 300 dpi. 300 dpi laser wouldn't cut it today.

    There's nothing magic or significant about these numbers. In fact they are pulled out of someone's butt. Now that Steve has pulled them out of his, they suddenly smell like roses. Hey Steve, how about giving us better resolution on our desktops?

  • by quadelirus ( 694946 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:47PM (#32518080)
    Yeah, and on top of that the guy says "significantly lower resolution." I doubt that 80% of iPhone users of the current iPhone have eyes still good enough to differentiate between neighboring pixels when holding the device 12 inches from their face. Some people love to split hairs, and /.ers love to post links to the hair-splitter blogs.
  • by Maury Markowitz ( 452832 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:34PM (#32518496) Homepage

    > The big deal is that it's false advertising


    > If another company like GM or BP had made a false claim, you'd be all over them

    Whereas if you *think* SJ did you, you demonstrate the same behaviour.

    Pot, kettle.


  • by Facegarden ( 967477 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:34PM (#32518950)

    This is the dumbest article I have ever seen on any subject ever. How much more can someone grasp at straws? It's a nice display, just stop. No one ever said "It has a resolution greater than or equivalent to the human retina," they just call it a "Retina" display because it *sounds* fancy. It's a fucking marketing name...
    I've argued about some pretty stupid stuff in my day (but capacitive means you can't use a stylus! How are you supposed to get to all those tiny menus!), but this is ridiculous.

  • by Hurricane78 ( 562437 ) <deleted&slashdot,org> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @10:09PM (#32519168)

    It’s funny how people actually believe that.
    Dude, if you ever actually had tried picking up girls...
    It doesn’t matter shit! It’s rather that they are turned off by guys bragging about ooh, how expensive their shit was. And rich guys usually can’t stop that behavior.

    What actually makes you attractive, is the confidence of “I can have every girl, so why you?“. You stop being needy. You let them run after you not you after them. You stop caring, and just have fun.
    Of course if you’re uninteresting (boring), that won’t help. But if you know how to have fun by yourself, without caring what people think and all that shit... oh hell will you get girls flogging to you!

    And why not? You do the same with interesting people! Not with rich ones. Because it’s so common that they are a bit of a douche. :)

  • by Clandestine_Blaze ( 1019274 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @10:58PM (#32519488) Journal

    That is true that for the same price, you get 16 GB of storage with the iPhone and only 8 GB with the Evo, but the Evo is expandable up to 32 GB. With the iPhone, you're stuck at 16 GB permanently. And with the ability to take high resolution pictures and HD video, suddenly that expandable memory becomes very important if you want to also store music, photos, and applications.

  • by Lars T. ( 470328 ) <> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @04:33AM (#32521224) Journal

    What does that translate to in terms of halftone printing? There's a world of difference between 90000 dye-sublimation continuous tones per square inch, and 90000 little squares that can be exactly black, cyan, magenta, or yellow.

    What exactly does dye-sublimation have to do with actual (magazine) printing?

The opulence of the front office door varies inversely with the fundamental solvency of the firm.