Report: Claims of high-res screen in iPad 2 are 'too good to be true'

Posted:
in iPad edited January 2014
While evidence grows that Apple could place a high-resolution screen in its forthcoming second-generation iPad, a new report aims to pour "cold water" on those expectations.



John Gruber of Daring Fireball responded to claims of a potential "Retina Display" on the next iPad, as reports have suggested the device could have a 2048-by-1536-pixel resolution, quadruple that of the current iPad. But, he said, sources have told him those rumors are "too good to be true."



He said it's likely that the next iPad will retain a 1024-by-768-pixel resolution, though the display may be improved in other ways, such as brighter with less power consumption.



"Maybe it uses the new manufacturing technique Apple introduced with the iPhone 4 display, which brings the LCD closer to the surface of the touchscreen glass -- making it look more like pixels on glass rather than pixels under glass," he wrote. "But my sources are pretty sure that it's not 2048 x 1536 or any other 'super high resolution.'"



Evidence of that high resolution came through the iPad's official iBooks application, which includes images designed for a higher resolution screen. Gruber speculated that those files could be the work of a user interface designer who is "thinking ahead," as sooner or later the iPad will get a higher resolution display.



"From what I've gathered about the iPad 2, it's more analogous to the iPhone 3GS than the 3G," he said. "Spec-wise, the iPhone 3G differed from the original iPhone in one significant way: the 3G networking support. The iPad 2 is more like the 3GS: faster support, more RAM, better graphics performance -- but, like the 3GS, still the same display resolution as the original model."



As first reported by AppleInsider, the iPad 2 is expected to have improved graphics in the form of a dual-core SGX543 processor included on a new, custom processor from Apple. Regardless of whether the iPad 2 has a Retina Display, the successor to the A4 chip found in the iPad and iPhone 4 will likely be powerful enough to display at that resolution.



The SGX543 can push 35 million polygons per second at 200 Mhz and 1 billion pixels per second, and is capable of handling Apple's OpenCL standard. And the GPU supports multi-core configurations, which will allegedly allow Apple to utilize two cores in its next-generation mobile processor.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 97
    povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    Of course too good. Apple priority is to make iPad available (as in cost and good production numbers). High res not hapening in 2011.
  • Reply 2 of 97
    A couple of months ago we all thought any type of near-Retina display was impossible because of cost.



    Yesterday we all allowed for the possibility that it might actually be true.



    Now we're all going to be disappointed if it's not.



    We spend too much time guessing, don't you think?
  • Reply 3 of 97
    lilgto64lilgto64 Posts: 1,147member
    Wouldn't doubling the dimensions in each dimension mean 4 times the pixels on screen - and with the same screen size mean that each pixel is one fourth the size? meaning anything that is not scaled vectors would appear to be one-quarter the size on screen - meaning that almost everything on the device would have to be updated to accommodate the change. Unless there is something in the OS that scales everything automatically unless it specifically calls the higher rez. And the iPhone app emulator thing would have to get a 4x option.



    Seems to me that as suggested just about everything else about the device could be improved and result in a much greater impact before the screen needs more pixels.
  • Reply 4 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lilgto64 View Post


    Wouldn't doubling the dimensions in each dimension mean 4 times the pixels on screen - and with the same screen size mean that each pixel is one fourth the size? meaning anything that is not scaled vectors would appear to be one-quarter the size on screen - meaning that almost everything on the device would have to be updated to accommodate the change. Unless there is something in the OS that scales everything automatically unless it specifically calls the higher rez. And the iPhone app emulator thing would have to get a 4x option.



    Seems to me that as suggested just about everything else about the device could be improved and result in a much greater impact before the screen needs more pixels.



    You're presumably not an iPhone developer - that is exactly what happened with the transition from iPhone 3GS to 4 - the pixels on the iPhone 4 are 1/4 the size of the ones on the 3GS and the same apps run just fine. The OS automatically scales the bitmaps from old apps so that each pixel in the bitmap uses 4 pixels on the screen. The OS automatically upscales any image in an app unless it's named with @2x in the filename - it's pretty clever.



    Basically iOS4 supports resolution independence, but because the dimensions on the iPhone 4 are exactly 2x those of the previous models, it can scale bitmaps just as gracefully as it scales vectors, with no blurry edges where the bitmap pixels span two physical pixels.



    And yeah, the iOS simulator does have a setting to simulate the iPhone 4 screen. It's in the Hardware menu under Device/iPhone (retina), and it makes the iPhone appear at twice the size on screen so you can see all the pixels.



    This is the reason why the retina display for the iPad, when it arrives will have to be exactly double the resolution in both axes that the current model is - they can't go for an intermediate resolution, or everyone will have to update their apps with new graphics immediately to prevent them looking blurry on the new device.



    And because a screen with that many pixels in such a small space is beyond anything currently on the market, it's very unlikely that Apple have managed to do it for iPad 2 whilst retaining the same price point. So in all probability the new iPad will have exactly the same res as the current gen, and iPad version 3 or 4 will add the double-res feature once the component costs make it feasible.
  • Reply 5 of 97
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Damn - that guy usually knows what he's talking about. Or perhaps they will double it in one dimension only.
  • Reply 6 of 97
    Bummer. I love the Retina display on the iP4. The thought of something similar on an iPad made me a little giddy for a while. *sigh*

    People believe what they want to believe I guess.
  • Reply 7 of 97
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Sam Oliver should sit down and talk this through with Daniel Eran Dilger.
  • Reply 8 of 97
    msanttimsantti Posts: 1,377member
    Proves the point that the iPhone is Apples #1 baby.



    Hell, they gave it more ram than the iPad also and its clear that if anything, the iPad needs it more.
  • Reply 9 of 97
    Gruber knows his stuff. Disappointing if not somewhat expected even a week ago. The rumours just got too many and "well-sourced" to ignore what was thought unfeasible before. No SD card slot either, I (and Gruber) think. That one never made sense.
  • Reply 10 of 97
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,889member
    One point Gruber made is that quadrupling the number of pixels would require more RAM. This is true, but is it really a binding constraint? I'm not an expert on these things by any means, but it seems to me that a 32 bit color display uses 4 bytes of RAM for every pixel, meaning that 4*pixels of the current iPad means you need about 16 MB of RAM for the video (actually a little less than that). That doesn't seem insurmountable to me at all (doubling the RAM from 256 to 512 obviously more than covers it, and is probably in the cards anyway). Sure, there's more to video RAM than just that -- you need to store textures and other graphics data, but I'm guessing (please correct me if wrong) that those don't necessarily scale much with resolution. It's true that modern graphics cards have a whole bunch of RAM, but that RAM is really a cache for the massively parallel vector processor that is a modern GPU -- it has little to do with the resolution of the display (again -- please correct me if I'm wrong).



    So it seems to me that RAM size and GPU power are not really constraints on the ability to ship a retina display iPad. The major constraint would most likely be the cost of the screen, and I have no idea what those costs are. But if there's any company in the world that could make that economical through volume and pre-purchases, it's Apple.



    Also -- John Gruber is awesome -- I love his site. But it would be kind of nice to see him end up being wrong about something for a change. You know, just to mix things up a bit. But again, i do think he's totally awesome.
  • Reply 11 of 97
    mariomario Posts: 345member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anwerman View Post


    A couple of months ago we all thought any type of near-Retina display was impossible because of cost.



    Yesterday we all allowed for the possibility that it might actually be true.



    Now we're all going to be disappointed if it's not.



    We spend too much time guessing, don't you think?



    And that's a good thing. The whole human brain evolved precisely because of our desire to predict the future and in particular to predict the behaviors of our fellow humans.



    Intelligence in essence is predicting the future, and that's how we measure it as well (what's the next number in the sequence, or word or shape etc type of questions on typical IQ test). Our brains are so good at this that we are taken aback when our expectation (prediction of the future) turns out to be incorrect.



    So guess away everyone .
  • Reply 12 of 97
    onhkaonhka Posts: 1,025member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Socrates View Post


    You're presumably not an iPhone developer - that is exactly what happened with the transition from iPhone 3GS to 4 - the pixels on the iPhone 4 are 1/4 the size of the ones on the 3GS and the same apps run just fine. The OS automatically scales the bitmaps from old apps so that each pixel in the bitmap uses 4 pixels on the screen. The OS automatically upscales any image in an app unless it's named with @2x in the filename - it's pretty clever.



    Basically iOS4 supports resolution independence, but because the dimensions on the iPhone 4 are exactly 2x those of the previous models, it can scale bitmaps just as gracefully as it scales vectors, with no blurry edges where the bitmap pixels span two physical pixels.



    And yeah, the iOS simulator does have a setting to simulate the iPhone 4 screen. It's in the Hardware menu under Device/iPhone (retina), and it makes the iPhone appear at twice the size on screen so you can see all the pixels.



    This is the reason why the retina display for the iPad, when it arrives will have to be exactly double the resolution in both axes that the current model is - they can't go for an intermediate resolution, or everyone will have to update their apps with new graphics immediately to prevent them looking blurry on the new device.



    And because a screen with that many pixels in such a small space is beyond anything currently on the market, it's very unlikely that Apple have managed to do it for iPad 2 whilst retaining the same price point. So in all probability the new iPad will have exactly the same res as the current gen, and iPad version 3 or 4 will add the double-res feature once the component costs make it feasible.



    Very well stated and thus worth repeating. Unfortunately, evidence is abound that many here will not fully appreciate your efforts and continue to raise the issue.



    Note: Although I agree with your last sentence, i.e., "So in all probability the new iPad will have exactly the same res as the current gen, and iPad version 3 or 4 will add the double-res feature once the component costs make it feasible," it wouldn't surprise me to see Jobs and Company forsake the additional cost.



    After all, they are in a position to do so. Doing so would raise the bar significantly higher. And, it may be wishful thinking on my part, but, I do have a few friends and colleagues that I would like to continually enjoy to see their dismay when I overtly confront them with the next greatest.
  • Reply 13 of 97
    Thats too bad. But I suspected that would be the case... but you really never know with Apple... they certainly have demonstrated an ability to leap way ahead of the pack without warning.



    As it stands, I'll most likely be picking up one of the Honeycomb tablets when they become available... the Xoom looks the most promising, but I am curious to see what Samsung announces in early February...
  • Reply 14 of 97
    povilaspovilas Posts: 473member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post




    Also -- John Gruber is awesome



    Some might disagree.
  • Reply 15 of 97
    mytdavemytdave Posts: 434member
    Finally some sanity. I'd be amazed, no, bewildered and amazed if the iPad2 gets a 2048x1536 screen. With the exception of a handful of items over 30 years, Apple has a history of releasing high-res screens last among competitors. Competitors had 1920x1200 screens in laptops a good 3-4 years before Apple finally got around to doing it. They like to maximize profit margins.



    I suspect the screen in iPad2 will unfortunately be the same res as the current model. I could see the possibility of them throwing a bone and providing a slight increase to 1280x960. There is no reason that a straight 1/4 increase couldn't be done. It should be just as easy for iOS to render 25% more pixels as it would be to render double.
  • Reply 16 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    While evidence grows that Apple could place a high-resolution screen in its forthcoming second-generation iPad, a new report aims to pour "cold water" on those expectations....



    Well, let's hope he's wrong. He's been so before.



    The trouble is with all the recent focus on the screen, it's really made people realise how totally crappy the current screen really is. The iPad screen is probably the worst (to the eye) screen Apple makes on any product at the moment.



    I use Pages on it every day all day and the characters are so jaggy on the screen it's pretty much a joke. You don't even have to look close, the side of an "O" in 18 point type looks like a staircase, even from two feet away.
  • Reply 17 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post


    I'm not an expert on these things by any means, but it seems to me that a 32 bit color display uses 4 bytes of RAM for every pixel, meaning that 4*pixels of the current iPad means you need about 16 MB of RAM for the video (actually a little less than that). That doesn't seem insurmountable to me at all (doubling the RAM from 256 to 512 obviously more than covers it, and is probably in the cards anyway). Sure, there's more to video RAM than just that -- you need to store textures and other graphics data, but I'm guessing (please correct me if wrong) that those don't necessarily scale much with resolution



    I don't think you need much RAM for the video. 12MB for the 4x res and 24MB if iOS flips between two buffers.



    Any pre-cached bitmap assets would be 4x larger with 4x the resolution though.



    How much this would affect the overall system requirements kind of depends on the app. Most games would have lots of images, some games only have a few and some productivity apps have hardly any at all.



    I do agree that it wouldn't need 4x the RAM just because of 4x the resolution.



    However, even with the current resolution the iPad2 will probably need more than 512MB simply because of the better CPU/GPU will allow developers to create much larger and more detailed game worlds.
  • Reply 18 of 97
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by msantti View Post


    Proves the point that the iPhone is Apples #1 baby.



    Hell, they gave it more ram than the iPad also and its clear that if anything, the iPad needs it more.



    I want to agree with you, and definitely wish my ipad had more ram, though I wonder if the argument could be made that the iphone actually needs it more. The ipad is not, at its core, a productivity tool (though I have used it that way on a few rare occasions), whereas the iphone is, by nature, designed as a productivity tool: calls, text, email, quick map look-up, quick google searches/browsing. While I think most people will revert to a desktop/laptop or ipad for consumer browsing (shopping), most people I know who have an iphone surf more on the phone than they do on a computer proper. I know I do. While I'd love to have just as much RAM for my ipad, if I had to choose between the two devices, I'd definitely skimp on the entertainment device and put the RAM in the work horse, despite it being just a phone.



    Don't get me wrong...I'd prefer an equal amount of RAM in the ipad, and it would certainly be more useful to me if it had more.
  • Reply 19 of 97
    drdoppiodrdoppio Posts: 1,132member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Mario View Post


    And that's a good thing. The whole human brain evolved precisely because of our desire to predict the future and in particular to predict the behaviors of our fellow humans...



    Pretty far-fetched statements. Read "The Black Swan" by Nassim Taleb, you may benefit from it immensely.
  • Reply 20 of 97
    nofeernofeer Posts: 2,422member
    its elegant....pushes the envelope....supports developers

    elegant=apple

    3+billion for "component preorders, support"

    true





    remember the oled rumor, not enough to supply ios devices, SJ stayed with what he can do for his customers. then samsung screams how wonderful those are then can't get them

    remember back in the day we were all pissed off that apple couldn't get their supply chain in order to get product out and LOST sales



    well, not happening
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