back to article Neuroscientist: iPhone 4's 'Retina display' not bullsh*t

An America retinal neuroscientist has focused his boffinistic eye on the iPhone 4's much-touted high-res display, and has come to the conclusion that Apple's claim that the "Retina display's pixel density is so high, your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels" is true. "I'd find Apple’s claims stand up to what the …

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  1. Peter D'Hoye
    Thumb Down

    So what?

    So what if the resolution is that high? It's also pretty useless.... On my n900 (800x480), I also can't see the pixels, or can zoom out so that the text becomes so small I can't read it (and no, that isn't because there are not enough pixels to create the small letters).

    Same goes for my 19" 1600x1200 desktop screen and 1920x1200 15" laptop LCD (3 years old!).

    Did Apple just invent something new? Nope. LCD tech has had enough resolution for years.

    I would compare this as to putting a 1000HP engine in a small car. Technical marvel? Probably. Useful? Nope.

    Maybe Apple should concentrate on making their screens perfectly readable in sunlight (high-fives to the transflective TFT of the n900!), or antenna design (har har)

    Apple marketing speak. Nothing to see, move along...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Useless?

      I've always thought that the iPhone's screen was absolutely fine, and couldn't see the point in this new high resolution screen either. Then I saw it yesterday and understood - it is one of the finest screens I've ever seen on anything, and made the text brilliantly clear.

      As for the expert saying it's good enough for the eye, but not the retina, well, surely they should have called it the Eye Display, not the Retina Display. Too long? How about iDisplay?

    2. Bear Features
      Megaphone

      and...

      Next set of Macbooks will have HDMI ports... FIRST NOTEBOOKS EVER to have this technology... right? ;o)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Useless for whom?

      If you can't see the pixels on an n900, I'm sure you won't see the pixels on a new iPhone - not every bit of new technology benefits everyone. Personally, I *can* see the pixels on my Toshiba G900 (3" WVGA, 313ppi, 2007) and I can see the pixels on a 360ppi ink-jet printout, so I have no reason to believe I wouldn't see the pixels on a new iPhone. (I can see 313ppi at about 12" - I tried it with a test image - but I'm comfortable slightly closer. My distance vision isn't very good, but apparently I'm better than 20/20 at close range.)

      The new iPhone appears to have a lovely screen (after the yellow goop has dried). Commendations to Apple for breaking their habit of claiming 100ppi is good enough for everyone. Now I just want the screen in an Android phone...

  2. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Thumb Up

    Memo from the Accounting Dept.

    Dear Boss,

    Kindly refrain from giving this free lunch to more than one Retina at a time. Our Financial Wizards tell us it could set a bad precedent.

    Accounting Dept.

    Kingdom of the Blind, Inc.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Title

    I have to admit that I had a play with an iPhone4 in Tesco yesterday and at 12" and I can't distinguish individual pixels.

    So I fired up the old Touch HD and then the Desire and guess what - I can't on them either.

    Last eye test was 20:20.

    What gives?

    1. whab

      20/20

      Hi,

      20/20 is the lower limit of the normal visual acuity. People with "normal" vision can have an acuity up to 20/12. The acuity test is not about distinguishing individual pixels: it is about discriminating gap between pixels. Both Touch HD & HTC Desire are slightly subpar to the iPhone 4 (they are 250 dpi).

      See this blog for a thorough analysis of this controversy:

      http://www.kybervision.com/Blog/files/AppleRetinaDisplay.html

      Hope this helps!

      Bill

  4. Octoberon
    WTF?

    Astonishing.

    "We now await Soneira's rebuttal to Jones' rebuttal of Soneira's rebuttal of Discover's rebuttal to Soneria's assertion that Steve Jobs is a jive-ass mofo."

    No, not the tear-inducing size of the icarumbaPhone 4's pixels. Astonishing that Apple are still not sending flowers, Christmas cards etc. Truly baffling. Really.

  5. Flybert
    Stop

    how about ...

    finding a young person with exceptional vision, say 20/10 in both eyes and ask if they can see the individual pixels at 10 inches distance ?

    to be "scientific" .. I'd suppose you'd need to test with about 10 such people and somehow obscure what resolution screens they are looking at between 3-4 choices

    a theoretical debate is a waste of time if you can perform proper observational tests

    1. DeadPanda
      Pint

      @Flybert

      I'd rather solve it "scientifically" by applying models that have been observationally tested (like these), then piss off to the pub early.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Observational tests

      Anecdotally, there are people who can see the pixels on the retina display. I suspect there are a lot of people who can take a 360dpi inkjet print-out (or even a 600dpi laser printer output, if you look closely enough) and see the dots. I'm among them. Also, because I have sub-par vision, I'm comfortable looking at a screen more closely than 12", so I'm more likely to be able to see pixels.

      That's not a criticism of the screen - it's the best yet - but Apple do have a history of saying "this is the best screen you'll ever need" irrespective of the competition.

  6. whab

    Apple Retina Display: debunked

    All of this controversy around the Apple Retina Display has been already debunked a couple of weeks ago on this blog:

    http://www.kybervision.com/Blog/files/AppleRetinaDisplay.html

    It cannot be made any clearer...

    1. Keith T
      WTF?

      Not exactly impressive.

      Why make us read the whole thing when a quote will do for most of us:

      "In my opinion, Apple's claim is not just marketing, it is actually quite accurate based on a 20/20 visual acuity.

      "However it is also important to note that the maximum acuity of a healthy human eye is approximately 20/16 to 20/12, so it would be inaccurate to refer to 20/20 visual acuity as "perfect" vision (despite the popular belief). The significance of the 20/20 standard can be best thought of as the lower limit of the normal visual acuity."

      And from there he goes on to waffle about how if Jobs had made a different claim, that different claim would be correct.

      Not exactly impressive logic.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sharper image is sharper proclaims boffin

    We have the sharpest image ever, befuddled Apple fans misbelieve.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Look

    it's 800x480. That's all you need to know. Really.

    1. Argh

      But...

      But it's not. It's 960x640.

  9. Ken Green
    Unhappy

    @10"

    I'd be bloody lucky to see the individual letters let alone the pixels. I guess being over 40 means I'm not the target audience for an iPhone

    1. Keith T
      Thumb Up

      Exactly, cell phone companies ignore the Over 40 market.

      Exactly, cell phone companies ignore the Over 40 market.

      They make cell phones so small we have to put on reading glasses to use them. That is hardly conducive to mobile use.

      1. Stuart Halliday
        Thumb Up

        The Eyes have it

        Probably why Pensioners are getting excited over the iPad.

        At last a device with a large high contrast backlit with a zoom capability display that you don't need to be a computer expert in order to use.

        Let's not forget that a large share of the over 60s also have surplus cash to spend.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Jobs Horns

      And..

      Thats a bad thing how exactley????

  10. VeganVegan
    FAIL

    Storm in a teacup

    Read their marketing lit carefully: the display has a name, it is "Retina display". Note that it's just a name. They could have named it "Dark Ale".

    (btw, most would agree with their claim that the eye can't see the pixels at a foot distance, which may or may not be also true for any number of other displays, phones or otherwise).

    The misinterpretation is taking the name literally.

    Silly people; as if Joe Smith has got to be a blacksmith, and John Baker must bake bread, and Sarah Bee buzzes around and stings (ouch)!

    1. Daniel B.
      Boffin

      Problem with that...

      The justification of using terms the wrong way for the sake of marketing has been an issue for a lot of tech stuff, as the misuse and/or exaggeration have increased recently.

      For example:

      My 1981 Stereo (which is around my age) is a 60 Watt stereo. Cranking the volume up to 10 will be very frickin' loud.

      My mom's minicomponent says it is a "2600 Watt" stereo. If you compared my 60 Watt stereo with those numbers, you would expect for the entire house to vibrate with that sound, and all the windows to explode. Oh wait! It says "2600 Watt *PMPO*". Hey! The Sound Engineer tells me these are fake watts!!!

      Hard disks have been conning people with the assumption that kilobytes, megabytes and gigabytes are calculated on base-1000, instead of the universally used base-1024. Thus, every time the prefix increases (mega to giga, giga to tera), you're getting LESS storage space for your money. RAM sticks do comply with the base-1024 standard, because non-base-1024 RAM would crash your computer. (This problem has been aggravated by pedantic engineers who insist on slapping the useless base-1000 to the kilobyte/megabyte, and even invented a rarely used "kibibyte", "mebibyte" and such. HDD manufacturers can now keep on ripping off consumers.)

      Some newer cellphone cameras claim a large number of megapixels, however these are achieved by some weird process which blurs the extra megapixels. You'll find these cams with cheap Chinese knockoffs. Also, you may have noticed that some cameras offer real big zoom capabilites which are really achieved by "digital zoom".

      Storage tapes, at least in the DAT area, will claim a 40Gb capacity ... then you find out that it gets full at 7Gb. WTF? Oh, that was 40Gb *compressed*. Bad luck, dude!

      There are a lot of other claims that are outright lies, or playing with terminology, but it's pub o'clock over here, and I really, really gotta go now. Enjoy!

      1. Volker Hett

        with computers it's a bit more complicated :-)

        Kilo has been used for 1000 of something for quite some time before computers became popular and it is defined to base 10 not base 2.

        "The kilo prefix is derived from the Greek word χίλιοι ("chilioi"), meaning thousand. It was originally adopted by Antoine Lavoisier and his group in 1795, and introduced into the metric system in France with its establishment in 1799. The General Conference on Weights and Measures was formed in 1875."

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilo-

    2. Tom 35

      Note that it's just a name

      Right up until Jobs got up on stage and said why they called it that, then it became a claim that turned out to be an bit of a lie (ie bogus marketing crap).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I know I'm thick but...

    Here's a really crazy idea. I mean a real thicko idea that I'm sure only someone as dumb as me would think makes sense.

    Why not get an Iphone 4, make the whole screen white except for one pixel, which you make black.

    Then you stand 6 feet away from someone and slowly approach them until they can see it. When they can, you measure the distance.

    Perhaps do this with several people using a pixel in several random locations, and see what the average is?

    It's just that... you know... I'm reminded of how the world's academics squandered 4000 years arguing over whether or not if you threw an apple up in the air whilst travelling along the ground, would the apple fall back down into your hand or disappear over your shoulder. The argument started with 'if a man were on a horse', progressed through 'If a man were on a chariot' before finally ending on 'If a man were on a train' before finally some c**t actually got on a f***ing train with a f***ing apple and f***ing tried the f***ing thing to see what actually f***ing happened.

    Urgh.

    And yet the same kind of academics, probably sat around a pub table, ponder whether the universe would implode and all reality and time itself cease to exist in an antimatter blackhole thingy if you collide the right kind of particles at high speed, and before anyone can say "But isn't this much more potentially dangerous than throwing apples off a horse, Doctor Strangelove?", they've dug up half of Switzerland and are firing hadrons at each other with all the gay abandonment of a teenage paintball weekend.

    And then the c**ts have the cheek to come on here and pipe up with their mumbo jumbo over a bloody Iphone? Like the weather, don't sit around for five hours waiting for Helen Willets to come on and do her Mystic Meg act, go and look for yourself.

    1. Keith T

      They'd rather revert to Plato's "science"

      They'd rather revert to Plato's "science" and play with words -- rather than conduct experiments, gather meaningful data, and analyse that data.

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Wrong way around actually

      Black screen with one white pixel is a better test, due to the way human vision works.

      'Bright' areas appear larger than an equivalent 'dark' area.

      The human eye is actually rather crap. It's just that your brain is really good at cleaning up the image - it has after all had quite a lot of practice.

  12. Tel
    Boffin

    @Ken Green

    At over 40 you're more likely to have the available readies to be able to buy it!

    1. Keith T
      Thumb Down

      Reading glasses in pocket while walking along

      Young people just don't understand how reading glasses work. They blur your vision at distances, so you don't wear them all the time. You only wear them when planning to read.

      Ask just about any person over age 50, cell phones are next to useless to us for anything but taking voice calls.

  13. Gannon (J.) Dick
    Pint

    @Ken Green

    The Science of Aging is very complex. What we can say for certain is that after age 40, the wife looks at your iPhone and sees a new pair of shoes. Hope this helps.

    1. jake Silver badge

      @Gannon (J.) Dick

      Actually, as my wife (40ish) tossed her iPhone into the box of "tried it, but failed in RealLife[tm]" so-called smartphones that she has collected over the years, she said "that could have been a couple new pairs of Ariat paddock boots".

      And then she got her ten year old Nokia 5148 reactivated.

      1. Rattus Rattus

        Did you try telling her

        "yes, but instead it's something useful?"

      2. Gannon (J.) Dick
        Happy

        Tounge-In-Cheek Icon

        Something El Reg desperately needs, eh jake ?

      3. John H Woods Silver badge

        are you somehow ...

        ... married to *my* wife?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    In typical register form. . .

    The article positively must bash apple.

  15. Jim 4

    Semantics is news?

    If I understand correctly, someone with 'normal' eyesight will not be able to resolve the pixels on a Retina display (not the capitalisation) when the display is held 12" or further from the eye.

    Then some twonk comes along and points out that if it is called a Retina display then the resolution should exceed the theoretical resolving power of the average retina (again notice the capitalisation). Let's just ignore the inconvenience that the retina cannot actally resolve anything without an optical system to focus the image upon it...

    Then an Apple-basher jumps on this as proof that Apple Corp is a bunch of lying scumbags and all the rest happily accept this as more proof that Apple Corp are a load of lying scumbags.

    So to be clear, the display does exceed the resolvable resolution of the average eye @ 12" and it is called a Retina display, presumably cos that sounds cooler than an Eye display. And no-one decided to point out that Retina is just a name and is not a retina, which is a defined object.

    Incidentally, I find it interesting that the eye kinda follows Nyquist's theorem, with twice the resolution (on a single axis) in the receptor (retina) than the focusing system can produce.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge
      Megaphone

      What about systems with their own optics?

      So they can focus directly on the retina? That wouldn't be too hard to demonstrate with models. Anyway, I'm a bit of a stickler for "absolute truth" in advertising. Exaggerated claims and atypical testimonials really boil me. I personally wouldn't mind a law that forces all advertisements to be restricted to the same truth scrutiny as a court witness (which in the USA means "the truth, the WHOLE truth, and NOTHING BUT the truth"). That means all claims would have to have independent backing and all testimonials would be of TYPICAL results (otherwise you're half-truthing, which fails the test).

    2. Steve Renouf

      Marketing

      But ALL marketing pr**ks are lying scumbags!!!!

    3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Natural selection is news?

      "I find it interesting that the eye kinda follows Nyquist's theorem, with twice the resolution (on a single axis) in the receptor (retina) than the focusing system can produce."

      Why? Surely it would be far *more* interesting if one part of the eye were over-engineered relative to the rest of the system rather than perfectly matched.

  16. heyrick Silver badge

    Seeing individual pixels?

    I'm looking at my eeePC right now. 1024x600/8.9", about 12 inches. I cannot make out individual pixels. Likewise I hold up my Creative Zen (320x240, about 3") and I can *just* make out the pixels. Not in obvious places like frame borders and text, or the caret, but in harder to see places like patches of solid colour (or white) and "photos".

    I think it has been a fair while since the 32K (or less!) colour displays with gaps between pixels so huge that you can make out each individual pixel. So what is Apple's selling point again?

    1. Keith T
      Boffin

      Have you had your vision tested?

      When I was younger I could see the pixels at such resolutions.

      Age corrected that problem for me.

  17. Waffles666
    Thumb Up

    pixels

    Hmm looked really hard at my Desire and can't see them till 2-3 cm away. Same with HD2. But let's face it, thank god apple upgraded that travesty of a display I was starting to feel quite sorry for iPhone users at least now they are up to date with the hardware even if the OS is still sorely lacking.

    1. aThingOrTwo

      sorely lacking

      I'm sure iPhone users will suffer on bravely with inferior technology and only concerns themselves with Waffles666 opinion of their choices half a dozen or so times a day.

      You should feel good and about yourself and proud of your achievements, you really should.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    "...objective values instead of values exaggerated by marketing departments..."?

    From article: "Since Apple makes great products that have excellent specs it will be a lot better for them if everyone sticks with the true objective values instead of values exaggerated by marketing departments."

    NEVER going to happen, as it would effectively mean flushing Apple's entire marketing strategy down the pan. Apple's obvious recipe for success so-far has been:

    1) Take some entirely average existing technology and toss it together.

    2) Marinade it in Kool-Ade for 6 months.

    3) Stuff it into a nice shiny box, and sprinkle it with a Fisher Price UI.

    4) Bake it in the Reality-Distortion-Field oven for a couple of months at level 11.

    5) Near the end of cooking, add liberal quantities of marketing bullshit and a few made-up bollock-buzzword names for said existing tech. (Because, as we know, even when serving tripe presentation is everything!)

    Serve in a black polo-neck and jeans to a specially selected group of sycophants.

    Bon-appletits!

  19. Gareth Lowe
    Boffin

    Visual acuity

    Resolution is measured by displaying alternating black and white lines. The point at which you can no longer resolve the individual lines and see only grey is the resolution.

    All these people saying "I can't see the pixels on my X" are either not doing the correct testing or have poor eyesight.

  20. Mage Silver badge

    nitpickin

    It's the 1024 that's wrong. Real Engineers and mathematicians and everyone else

    Tera, Giga, Mega, Kilo, ___, milli , micro, nano, pico = Steps of 1000

    The 1024 is 2^10, ie, derived solely from binary addressing of RAM and ROM, add an address wire and memory doubles. 1024 is 10 bits address range.

    The disk manufacturers are correct. Disk storage unlike RAM/ROM is not based on powers of two either.

  21. Keith T
    Headmaster

    It is not uncommon for people to have better than 20/20 vision.

    From personal experience I know it is not It is not uncommon for people to have better than 20/20 vision.

    I'm not sure what the statistics are, all I can find are statistics on below 20/20 vision.

    1. <shakes head>

      just a thought

      if yuo subtract from all the bellow 20/20 does that not give you the above 20/20

  22. lpopman
    Coat

    Titular Synonym

    "Jones' conclusion contradicts an earlier assertion by DisplayMate Technologies CEO Raymond Soneira, who dismissed Steve Jobs' claims as "marketing puffery"."

    Homophobe!

  23. Robert Grant Silver badge

    My Touch Diamond is pretty much 280ppi

    And it's two years old. Retina display? Welcome to 2008!

  24. jim 45
    Thumb Up

    this is not news

    The print industry has known this for ages: there is no need to go beyond 300 DPI, the eye can't tell the difference.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It's something, but not news

      Of course there's no reason to go beyond 300dpi. That's why Epson didn't introduce 360dpi printers around 1990, magazine print-out quality is perfect, nobody looks closer at a phone than they do at a double-page spread, and 300ppi isn't the *lower* limit for what's acceptable in quality print.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      DPI in printing

      Current Epson printers are 720dpi. Canon, HP, Lexmark and others are 600dpi.

      All the claims of 1200 or 1440dpi are just marketing tricks that refer to the number of individual ink droplets they can spray per inch. But each 'pixel' (a collection of dots that is the nearest think in printing that equates to a pixel) is 1/720 of an inch on an Epson or 1/600 on the rest.

      And just because you can't make out individual dots, doesn't mean there won't be a difference to the overall image when printed above 300dpi. An image created for 720dpi printing on an Epson will look a little better than one created with 360dpi in mind, and scaled up (let alone one created at 300dpi and then scaled up by a non-integer factor)

  25. david wilson

    Pixels?

    Surely the important thing about a display would be the distance at which lines and edges of various angles and colour combinations look smooth rather than jagged?

    Vision seems to be rather more about lines, edges, areas, etc than pixels.

  26. Watashi

    Screen test

    I'd suggest that screen shape and size is as important. If you want to watch movies, the wider and narrower Nokia smartphone devices will give you a physically bigger image, and, when rotated sideways, a wider page size when reading docs / text based web pages.

  27. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    @veganvegan, and debating...

    @VeganVegan, no *YOU* read their marketing crap carefully:

    "Thanks to the Retina display, everything you see and do on iPhone 4 looks amazing. Text in books, web pages, and email is crisp at any size. Images in movies and photos are stunning at almost any angle. That’s because the Retina display’s pixel density is so high, your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels."

    Read the last sentence --- I'll even quote it a second time "That's because the Retina display's pixel density is so high, your eye is unable to distinguish individual pixels."

    Anyway, that said... *shrug*. It seems rather than being a flat-out marketing lie, this is at least a debatable statement (debatable by NORMAL people -- fanbois don't count, they'll just say Apple is right even when they are provably wrong.) There's far more sins to worry about regarding Apple than borderline-hyperbole. I would LOVE something like the IBM T220 (22.2" 204 DPI monitor -- 3840x2400) even though I admit I wouldn't have use for resolution that high. It's been off the market for YEARS though, and I don't think I'll ever find a nice used one.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      T220

      Keep an eye out for T221s and VP2290bs on eBay - they show up occasionally, although they're not cheap. Nobody thinks there's any benefit to the resolution until they actually get to look at one. I saw one at a SIGGRAPH in 2001 and bought a second-hand one as soon as I could afford it. Nothing like editing a 9MP photograph at 1:1. I wish I could afford another for work.

  28. Mark 65

    Neuroscientist rebuttal

    "peak cone density in the human averages 199,000 cones/mm2 with a range of 100,000 to 324,000"

    I'd say there's a fair bit of lee-way in there then even in 2-D terms.

  29. Juan Inamillion
    Joke

    Oh and errr..

    "Since Apple makes great products that have excellent specs..."

    See see? The all come with excellent specs! Geddit? Oh please yourselves...

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    The real question is ...

    ...what happens if you put your hand over/close your right eye, and only view it with the left? Will the signal strength still drop down to nothing, I wonder ....

  31. Matt_payne666

    1024x600 in a 4.5" display...

    The Vaio UX1 has had a similar resolution for 4 years not quite as dense, but close... (same number of pixels) and noone really made a song and dance over it!

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How come people believe all this "crapmarketing?"

    I can see clearly now, thanks to my iPhone display. (Sorry about that.) The correct answer is one. The iPhone 4. Speaking hypothetically, while we wait for all the other smart phone guys to catch up. Again. Some day. Real soon now. Just copy Apple and try to catch up.

  33. Ascylto
    Jobs Halo

    Who ...

    ... gives a sh*t?

    It's a lovely phone.

    It's shiny.

    It's got an Apple logo on it.

    It's reassuringly expensive.

    I've got one.

    Neeerrrrrrr!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    The original article

    Just to point out (as I did in the comments on Bryan Jones's blog), the microscope shots and the quoted pixels sizes in his article are incorrect. Not only does he consider a pixel to be the convex hull of a light emitting triplet, rather than the offset between equivalent points on adjacent pixels, the scale shown on the iPhone 4 image (and the figures that are apparently derived from it) must be incorrect. At the scale shown (according to the 180um marker), the iPhone 4's screen would have about 5" on the diagonal - the scale must be incorrect.

    Most of his discussion uses Apple's official figures for the resolution, and I have no reason to doubt his knowledge of the human eye, so this apparent error doesn't alter his conclusions (even though, subjectively, I have to say that assuming anyone with less-than-perfect vision won't be able to see something up close seems to be a bit of a sweeping generalisation). I just wanted to bring it to the attention of anyone who starts quoting his figures or images (ahem, Reg).

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Don't let facts stand in the way of a fanboi.

    It doen't matter if hes right or wrong, he is henceforth an iHater.

    So what they are all saying is that when a screen exceeds 286 dpi it requires better than 20/20 vision and hence is just wasting power rendering and powering the excess? so the screen should have been a little bigger? iPhone too small shocker?

    BTW I have TWO retinas. (oh dear, now I am an iHater)

  36. Mage Silver badge
    Boffin

    Aslo 150dpi can be 600dpi. sort of

    200dpi on a fax (and some faxes are only 100dpi) is poor because it only uses black or white.

    300dpi or 360dpi on a Laser or Inkjet too. Also the pitch may be 300dpi or 360dpi but the dots overlap/bigger.

    with just 16 brightness levels instead of black and white, you can smooth the jaggies (anti aliasing) and have x4 the apparent sharpness.

    also the gaps between pixels only important at lower DPI. At higher dpi gaps on pixels simply reduces brightness.

    So really the 366dpi on a full colour display is a gimmick.

    133dpi would be very good and 200dpi + excellent

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Re: sort of

      It's true, to a point, that a multi-level screen can avoid some of the aliasing seen in bilevel display devices. It's certainly true when you have to resort to dithering (I really doubt you can see the difference between a 1200dpi printer and a 2400dpi one unless halftone screening is involved - but when halftoning *is* involved, it really makes a difference).

      However, antialiasing isn't everything. Some people, myself included, really can see pixels at >300ppi, and there's a real difference between a genuine 300ppi display and something with reduced resolution but antialiasing - especially if you're trying to get a whole A4 page's worth of PDF on the screen at once. Of course, the Windows Mobile devices I've used have had ClearType, so I only assume the iPhone 4's screen will actually be smoother (I understand Apple aren't using it on the iPhone). For everyone who says "there's no reason for this technology" there are a bunch of enthusiasts going "shutupshutupshutup" and being grateful that not every device on the market is designed for the lowest common denominator. If you don't have need for a 960x640 mobile phone screen, congratulations, the older iPhone is cheaper.

      133ppi is much lower than the original iPhone. It's the pixel pitch of a Sony-Ericsson P910i, or a few laptops. It's fine for making phone calls, terrible for trying to surf the web. If you've only got a certain area (defined by the pocket size and thumb reach) into which to fit a display, the ppi has to go up - otherwise you're looking at projector phones. 200+ppi is excellent - on a desktop monitor. On something that fits in your pocket, it's still poor for those of us who can look at the phone up close. If you're long-sighted, sorry - ye cannae change the laws of physics.

      Please, no more extrapolating "I won't benefit from this" to "this is pointless".

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Zoom

    Everyone seems to have neglected the level of zoom.

    If you zoom out enough then the pixels get smaller until no one can see them.

    Perhaps Jobs was talking about fractional zoom?

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Welcome

    Who needs pixels

    The monochrome LCD display on my 12-year old Motorola StarTAC is still highly readable at 12 inches.. Oh, and it's smaller than an iPhone and has longer battery life.

    Welcome to 1998.

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