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  • The Retina Display


    In yesterday's iPhone 4 announcement, Steve Jobs shoveled a lot of specs at us, particularly regarding the new "Retina Display." The oddly-named screen - an LCD with a pixel density abnormally high for a mobile phone - seems like it will be one of those features, like the iPad's display, that you have to see to appreciate. The iPad was not that impressive when it was first announced, one may remember, but many people were blown away by the screen when they actually saw it with their own eyes.

    The Retina Display's name seems to be either a conscious or unconscious riff on the retinal displays used in virtual reality, where pixels are projected directly on the retina. Steve Jobs also made mention of the fact that the human eye can only discern individual points of light at a density below 300 pixels per inch. This screen, with its pixel density of 326 ppi, is thus supposedly to be as lifelike as a photograph.

    Additionally, the Retina Display employs the same IPS (in-plane switching) technology used in the iPad and Apple LED Cinema Display. With IPS, the crystals are aligned horizontally to the screen rather than vertically, which keeps the crystals parallel to the screen. With normal TFT screens, the crystals turn at right angles relative to the surface, which limits contrast, brightness and color definition as you look at the screen from an angle.

    This screen also has a much higher contrast ratio: at 800:1, the Retina Display has a 4x greater ratio between the darkest black and the brightest white than the current iPhone. This will give improved detail in dark images and videos, and make text display even sharper when combined with the high pixel density.

    Apple says the glass on both the front and back of the iPhone is "Made from the same materials used in helicopters and high-speed trains" and "chemically strengthened to be harder, more scratch resistant, and more durable than ever." We'll have to wait and see, as I'm hard enough on my plastic iPhone... however, "harder than sapphire crystal" is an impressive brag.

    So I still think "iPhone HD" might have been a more appropriate name for this device... but given the number of superlatives Apple is tossing around in their marketing, having it be called just a plain old "Four" takes a bit of the bombast out of it.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: The Retina Display started by Paul Daniel Ash View original post
    Comments 68 Comments
    1. zirra's Avatar
      zirra -
      Is the glass and the LCD display joined together as one unit? If so then unlike the 3g and the 3gs, replacing the glass on the iPhone 4, just like the original iPhone, will be such a pain in the *** to replace if the glass happens to break.
    1. hollow0's Avatar
      hollow0 -
      Quote Originally Posted by tgabriel123 View Post
      There's already a phone called "something" HD (don't remember what it is though) but that is why apple didn't name it "iPhone HD"
      Keep in mind the "HD" is used a lot so why not keep it simple? I could care less about the name of the phone, just as long as it provides a great user experience.
    1. CaryDude's Avatar
      CaryDude -
      Quote Originally Posted by ziggie216 View Post
      Anyone want to be the lab rat when you receive your iPhone 4? Take your keys and rub against the screen for awhile, let see how well it will hold up.
      This exact behavior is what sold me on the original iPhone. I wasn't going to buy into all the hype way back when, but the manager of the Apple Store in the Crabtree Valley Mall did just that--he put the iPhone down on the table, pulled the keys out of his pocket, held one key up between his thumb and forefinger, and proceeded to scratch the living shiz out of the iPhone. After about 15 seconds, he held it up and I saw it's pretty face and told him to put it in the box, I had a new phone.
    1. Happy Noodle Boy's Avatar
      Happy Noodle Boy -
      I worked retail for a bit last year selling phones. I was the only one in the dept that actually managed to close sales on iPhones mostly in part because I always pulled mine out and scratched the hell out of it with whatever was available.

      My 3G is about to turn two, never had a screen cover and has yet to get a single scratch in the front. The back has some noticeable scratches but who cares about the back?
    1. jkmonkey's Avatar
      jkmonkey -
      To all of you complaining that 256MB is not nearly enough ram for games, um do you have any idea how much ram a ps3 has? That's right, the ps3 a very capable gaming machine, has 256MB of ram.
    1. mobay's Avatar
      mobay -
      cant wait to actually see it
    1. dale2's Avatar
      dale2 -
      Quote Originally Posted by jkmonkey View Post
      To all of you complaining that 256MB is not nearly enough ram for games, um do you have any idea how much ram a ps3 has? That's right, the ps3 a very capable gaming machine, has 256MB of ram.
      back that up
      most of us are too lazy to google someones claims
    1. Cory Gillmore's Avatar
      Cory Gillmore -
      jmonkey: now that I think about it, you're absolutely right! Granted the PS3 RAM is a MUCH faster RAM, it's still 256! That's funny as hell. I forget who was complaining about the RAM but he will probably go crawl into a hole right about now. Lol