Apple announced the Retina Display on the new iPhone 4 with much fanfare, calling it "the sharpest, most vibrant, highest-resolution phone screen ever
." The bold claims have led to pushback, with a competing manufacturer saying that the Retina Display is a battery hog and can't touch OLED displays. An analyst, meanwhile, contradicted Steve Jobs's claim that the human eye can't detect individual picture elements at a density below 300 pixels per inch.
Steve Jobs bragged that the new iPhone's LCD screen, reportedly made by LG Innotek, outperforms active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) displays such as those on the Samsung Galaxy S. Samsung hit back against Jobs's claim that the Retina Display has “much more accurate color, and much higher resolution," with a spokesperson telling the Korea Herald newspaper
that their AMOLED screens beat the Retina Displays contrast ratio, color reproduction, and response time. “Structurally," the spokesman said "IPS LCD technology cannot catch up with AM-OLED display technology." The Samsung spokesman claimed that the "visible" difference between the 960x640 Retina Display and Samsung's 800x480 Super AMOLED was only "3 to 5 percent," but that the added resolution cut battery life by 30%.
The claim that the human eye can only discern jagged edges at a density above 300 pixels per inch was disputed by an expert. In an email sent out to numerous media outlets, including Gizmodo
and PC World,
Dr. Raymond Soneira asserted that the retina can identify individual points at an angular measurement of 50 cycles per degree, or 0.6 arcseconds. He translated this to explain that "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 it out 18 inches before it falls to 318 ppi." Nevertheless, Dr. Soneira said, the Retina Display is "most likely the best mobile display in production (and I can't wait to test it)." However, he added, this is another example of spec exaggeration."
that, while people with perfect, 20/20 vision might be able to see pixels from a foot away, for most of us the display will look smooth. So there's a little wiggle room left for Steve Jobs, and his general drift is still solid: this is a wicked sharp screen.
image via Apple