Apple's iPhone 4 "Retina" display claims spark controversy

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
In the wake of Monday's iPhone 4 introduction, Apple has been the target of sharp criticism from some industry watchers and rivals looking to dispute some of the claims it made regarding the handset's new Retina Display.



Apple says new display sports four times as many pixels as that of the existing iPhone 3GS, with a resolution of 960x640, 326 pixels per inch, and backed by the same advanced IPS (In-Plane Switching) technology used in the iPad. During his keynote presentation at the company's annual developers conference, chief executive Steve Jobs asserted that the resolution of the new display was higher than "the limit of the human retina," which he noted as 300 ppi at 10- to 12-inches away.



In response to this, display expert Dr. Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies, contributed to an article over at PC World rebutting the claim. AppleInsider has previously referenced Soneira's extensive display critiques of both the Nexus One and the iPhone 3GS. In his most recent analysis, Soneira claims that the actual distinguishable resolution of the human retina is 477 ppi at a distance of 12 inches. According to his calculations, the iPhone 4's display wouldn't be a true retina display unless it was designed to be held at a distance of at least 18 inches from the eye, much farther than standard use for a mobile handset.



Soneira's comments were picked up by several major news outlets, including Reuters, Fox News and Wired, some of which expanded on those claims to accuse Apple of false advertising.



As numerous blogs sites continued coverage of the matter, some of the facts became further distorted, causing an eventual backlash against the criticism of false marketing. Discover Magazine blogger Phil Plait, who previously worked on the Hubble Telescope, sided with Apple by noting that Soneira's math assumes perfect eyesight, whereas the average person would be unable to distinguish the iPhone's pixels at a distance of a foot.



Jobs' WWDC keynote also drew criticism for the use of comparison graphics between the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 displays that some pundits have similarly deemed as misleading. Digital Society, a non-profit think tank, alleged that Jobs during the keynote falsely propped the iPhone 4's dispay with graphics that show an iPhone 4 resolution as high as 815 ppi, and up to 489 ppi on a separate Apple advertisement.







Adding to the controversy was global electronics maker Samsung, who joined the conversation by touting its AMOLED technology, which will be used in its recently announced Galaxy S, as superior to the newly released Retina Display. A spokesperson for the electronics maker told The Korea Herald that although the iPhone has a higher resolution, "visibility difference is only 3 to 5 percent," while consuming significantly more power than its own technology.







The LCD-IPS display used in the iPhone 4 is manufactured by LG, one of Samsung's primary rivals. For its part, research firm iSuppli believes that the competition between Apple and Google is bound spill over into a battle between LCD-IPS displays and AMOLED displays. Vinita Jakhanwal, a principal analyst for the firm, similarly sided with Apple, saying that while the Nexus One "upped the ante" for handset displays with its AMOLED display, the iPhone 4 "has raised the bar even further" with its LCD-IPS Retina display.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 178
    2 cents2 cents Posts: 307member
    Yawn.
  • Reply 2 of 178
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In the wake of Monday's iPhone 4 introduction, Apple has been the target of sharp criticism from some industry watchers and rivals looking to dispute some of the claims it made regarding the handset's new Retina Display....



    This article is total click-bait, considering these claims are both old and already dealt with by multiple other outlets many times over. It's also a classic "tempest in a teapot."



    The bottom line is that Apple used a bit of marketing double-speak but technically, everything they said is still (more or less) true. Also, the entire argument is between "specialists" and has no bearing on the average person's view of the display or the phone.



    The average person reading/listening to Apple's marketing will get that the new display is "fantastic" and "better than the rest." In a few weeks the phone will be in their hands and the verdict from the public will be that it's ... "fantastic" and "better than the rest."



    After that, no one will give a hoot what some scientists argument about the "true" resolution of the iPhone 4 versus the human eyeball is and whether it's 12 inches from your face, or 18.
  • Reply 3 of 178
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,758member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    This article is total click-bait, considering these claims are both old and already dealt with by multiple other outlets many times over. It's also a classic "tempest in a teapot."



    The bottom line is that Apple used a bit of marketing double-speak but technically, everything they said is still (more or less) true. Also, the entire argument is between "specialists" and has no bearing on the average person's view of the display or the phone.



    The average person reading/listening to Apple's marketing will get that the new display is "fantastic" and "better than the rest." In a few weeks the phone will be in their hands and the verdict from the public will be that it's ... "fantastic" and "better than the rest."



    After that, no one will give a hoot what some scientists argument about the "true" resolution of the iPhone 4 versus the human eyeball is and whether it's 12 inches from your face, or 18.



    Exactly.
  • Reply 4 of 178
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,865member
    I think Gruber's response to this pretty much says it all:



    Quote:

    They can say this now, but they won?t be able to say such things and be taken seriously after the iPhone 4 is released and people have seen it in person. Until they figure out a way to make AMOLED visible in daylight, they?re not even in the game.



  • Reply 5 of 178
    bc kellybc kelly Posts: 148member
    .



    Sounds similar to claims made by Audio Experts about Fidelity in Stereo Systems



    Which, like this, is useless since most Folks can't hear worth a damn, and are blind

    .



    But know this much is True



    We can all "see" the iPhone has the Wannabes scared chitless



    Even with no pixels per inch







    .
  • Reply 6 of 178
    who the heck holds their phone just 12" from their eye. 18-20 more likey, so IT IS A RETINA DISPLAY
  • Reply 7 of 178
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Soneira was factually incorrect about the Nexus One display and appears to be repeating that form again. Why do people keep giving his opinions credence in the wake of repeated inaccuracies?



    I find it interesting that AI wasn't so diligent in finding a counter to Soneira's false claims about the inadequacies of the Nexus One screen, as the have been when his negative comments concerned the iPhone.
  • Reply 8 of 178
    Anyone give a crap about this article?? anyone??



    Also take a ruler and put the end between your eyes.. then hold your phone at the 12 inch mark.. ya does ANYONE actually use it this close to their face?? (apart from people who won't admit they need glasses)



    Honestly 18" sounds about right.. and clearly SJ wasn't 100% on those figures during the keynote when he was saying "err..uhh.. around 12 or 14 inches or so."
  • Reply 9 of 178
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 18,019member
    I agree with Prof. Peadbody. This is all garbage. You can call it a Super Dooper Better Than Reality Display for all I care. The bottom line is that it's going to be significantly better than basically anything else out there, and a huge improvement over the 3G/3GS/Original iPhone.



    ...which is one reason I'm upgrading in a few weeks.
  • Reply 10 of 178
    Was Apples display on the the existing 3GS great? Yes. Is the new display resolution and technology going to make the new iPhone 4 screen better? YES Is it perfect? NO But to most people it will be amazing. All the complaints from the experts is just their 2 minutes of fame, they don't even get 15 minutes.



    Add a couple of finger smears on the screen on a sunny day and this all becomes even more irrelevant.
  • Reply 11 of 178
    It's still an outstanding display! The best I've ever seen
  • Reply 12 of 178
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post


    This article is total click-bait, considering these claims are both old and already dealt with by multiple other outlets many times over. It's also a classic "tempest in a teapot."



    The bottom line is that Apple used a bit of marketing double-speak but technically, everything they said is still (more or less) true. Also, the entire argument is between "specialists" and has no bearing on the average person's view of the display or the phone.



    The average person reading/listening to Apple's marketing will get that the new display is "fantastic" and "better than the rest." In a few weeks the phone will be in their hands and the verdict from the public will be that it's ... "fantastic" and "better than the rest."



    After that, no one will give a hoot what some scientists argument about the "true" resolution of the iPhone 4 versus the human eyeball is and whether it's 12 inches from your face, or 18.



    Well put. My sentiments exactly.
  • Reply 13 of 178
    wurm5150wurm5150 Posts: 763member
    Who gives a $hit? It's a great display and John Doe, my next door neighbor, my friend's grandma, and the rest of the casual consumers who's going to buy an iPhone could care less about retina display or whatever they want to call it. The casual consumers could care less if Apple's retina display exceeds the human eye's retina..



    Jeez! Unbelievable... Marketing exaggeration has been around forever.
  • Reply 14 of 178
    dylerdyler Posts: 37member
    But not so fast, says Phil Plait from Discover, whose résumé includes calibrating a camera on board the Hubble space telescope. He's done the math too and finds that the 477 number applies only to people with perfect vision. For the vast majority of us, Steve's claim stands up to scrutiny; even folks with 20/20 eyesight wouldn't be able to tell where one pixel ends and another begins. So it turns out Apple can do its math, even if its marketing isn't true for every single humanoid on the planet.



    http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/10/i...th-microscope/
  • Reply 15 of 178
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post


    I think Gruber's response to this pretty much says it all:



    Quote:

    They can say this now, but they won?t be able to say such things and be taken seriously after the iPhone 4 is released and people have seen it in person. Until they figure out a way to make AMOLED visible in daylight, they?re not even in the game.





    No, I don't think his comment is anymore accurate than Soniera's



    Quote:

    AMOLED screens are infamous for their poor performance in direct sunlight though, so we took the Samsung Wave out for a stroll out in the sun with an iPhone, which uses a standard LCD TFT, to see how they compare.



    When not in sunlight, the Wave shames the iPhone in contrast terms ? blacks are so much blacker on the Super AMOLED screen ? but in sunlight reflectivity is noticeably better on the iPhone. It?s not a deal breaker though, especially when you can switch on the Wave?s Outdoor Visibility mode.



    Outdoor Visibility cranks up colour saturation, and while it looks absolutely hideous when you?re indoors, it does the trick when out in the sun. This mode is available in the Wave?s features that rely most on screen visibility, such as the video player and camera.



    http://188.65.36.75/2010/05/21/samsu...ds-on-preview/
  • Reply 16 of 178
    The same can be said for print... The difference between 120 line and 133 line is barely noticable, but jump up to 150 line from 120 and you see a difference. BUT try to print over 150 line screen and you are wasting valuable time and resources because the human eye CANNOT factor out any differences.



    But I do tend to follow Jobs' statement of the threshold based on my printing experience. 300ppi is roughly the same as 150 line print.
  • Reply 17 of 178
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,865member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cnocbui View Post


    No, I don't think his comment is anymore accurate than Soniera's



    Well, actually, I just meant the first sentence, but carelessly forgot to edit the second out. My mistake.
  • Reply 18 of 178
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,865member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by rorybalmer View Post


    ... Also take a ruler and put the end between your eyes.. then hold your phone at the 12 inch mark.. ya does ANYONE actually use it this close to their face?? (apart from people who won't admit they need glasses) ...



    Actually, people who need that type of glasses will likely hold it even further away.
  • Reply 19 of 178
    Wow all these geek asses arguing over the nuances the human eye can see and what it can't see. Really? Is this what it's coming to? Get a life it's a beautiful display and that's it.
  • Reply 20 of 178
    Samsung say their display consumes 30% less than the retina display, but also that while there is only 5% or so difference in the perceptible quality, raising their display to the same level would increase it's power consumption 30%. Hence they are verifying Apple's claims. Both display technologies consume the same power at the same resolution, but Samsung's is a lower resolution and that's the only reason it consumes less power.
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