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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Tech News > Rumor has next-gen iPhone doubling pixel count to 1.5 million

Rumor has next-gen iPhone doubling pixel count to 1.5 million
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MacNN Staff
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May 28, 2013, 09:41 AM
The Retina display on the next-generation flagship iPhone will roughly double its pixel count to 1.5 million pixels while retaining a 4-inch size, claims Chinese site Weiphone. The iPhone 5 uses a resolution of 1136x640, or 727,040 pixels. Apple may need to increase pixel density to stay competitive; one of the iPhone 5's main rivals, the HTC One, has a 1080p resolution despite using only a 4.7-inch screen.

Weiphone adds that the next flagship iPhone will start shipping in September, and thin its bezel even further. That could imply that the device will take a cue from the iPad mini, which can get away with extremely thin sides thanks to palm detection code in iOS 6. Reducing bezel size would allow Apple to lower the weight of the iPhone even further.
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May 28, 2013, 09:52 AM
My aging eyes beg a bigger screen, not more detail... This seems ironically counter to the Samesong 'bigger is hipper' ads...? Hmmm...
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May 28, 2013, 10:10 AM
"Apple may need to increase pixel density to stay competitive" - or they may not. Higher Pixel density means more powerful graphics chip means lower battery life means ANOTHER round of app updates to accomodate the new resolution (some apps still don't support the Retina display, despite the iPhone 4 being 3 years old now), means headaches all over the place.

Besides, it's quite possible that nobody would be able to tell the difference between the current Retina display and one that features twice the pixel density, at least without resorting to magnifying glasses. As with cameras and megapixels, more doesn't automatically mean better.

The only problem is: parts of the target demographic think that it does.
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May 28, 2013, 11:03 AM
Unfortunately, while a higher-resolution screen would in fact probably be detrimental rather than beneficial, for a couple of the reasons mentioned above, that may make no difference in Apple's decision. Much like so-called "720p" HDTVs now all being 1366x768 (thus requiring permanent pixel-scaling and reducing quality from 720p input sources) instead of the correct 1280x720 (which at a 1:1 pixel-ratio from the input source looks much better), the majority of consumers are quite simply not intelligent or educated enough to understand this. They will see an HDTV that lists 1366x768 next to a 1280x720 set and buy the one with the bigger numbers (which much be better, right?) and never realize that they are buying a broken, cripple piece of junk. Then the correct 720p sets slowly disappear because they can't sell them. Same thing could easily happen with smart-phones. More pixels MUST mean better. Therefore the majority of average Joes, looking at the specs, will make an uninformed decision. Apple may well HAVE to join this crowd or eventually face problems selling phones.
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May 28, 2013, 11:04 AM
Apple does not compete on essentially meaningless specs. However, as Apple expands across multiple iOS devices, to keep consistency and simplicity i can imagine some devices may have excess pixels for that device.
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May 28, 2013, 11:39 AM
More pixels usually mean less battery life. Why offer a feature that won't be noticeable and decrease battery life? I would rather they double the battery life than the pixels. And I don't want a bigger screen. A phone should be small and light. We don't need a full web page when we are mobile. The "Reader" mode on Safari makes articles extremely readable, even to my aging eyes.
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May 28, 2013, 04:14 PM
Apple's problem, more than anything else, is that they do not invest enough resources in teaching & illustrating to their market how to best *use* all of the features of current iOS devices.

Most people do not know how to use the on-screen keyboard the right way, or how to use "READER" in Safari, or how to customize vibration patterns, or any of hundreds of shortcuts and feature improvements. that iPhone users would benefit from...
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May 28, 2013, 07:30 PM
This makes no sense. If it's a "retina" display, then how is the eye supposed to see the higher resolution anyway?
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May 28, 2013, 07:34 PM
I call shenanigans.

The whole rationale behind the "Retina display" is that it's of sufficient pixel density that the eye couldn't resolve more detail at the distance from the eye that you'd hold the device.

Assuming that you've reached that threshold, there's no visible benefit to more pixels... but there'd certainly be a tangible cost in terms of processing power required to render those pixels, as well as decreased battery life.

Furthermore, it makes sense to increase resolution in integral steps to support existing apps. So you might double the pixels horizontally and vertically, which makes it easy to scale graphics in older apps by simple pixel doubling. But if you do that, you don't end up with double the resolution... you end up with 4x the resolution!

So if you're doubling the pixel resolution, as this source claims, are they just doubling the vertical resolution? Or the horizontal resolution? That makes littles sense. Neither does it make much sense to increase the resolution by 50% in both dimensions to reach a overal doubling of pixel count.
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Jun 2, 2013, 12:56 PM
What if the reason why Apple is considering increasing pixel density, is because they plan on having multiple screen sizes for the Iphone. A "one size fits all" resolution , that will give "retina display" quality or better across the board.
I applaud Apple for moving away from trying to define what a phone should be as BlackBerry and Palm tried and Failed at doing, and instead actively listening and catering to the growing segment of consumers who want to do more with their phones are willing to jump the Apple ship to Android to get it.

larger screen, that still has to appear to be "retina display" quality. For example: a
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Jun 2, 2013, 01:45 PM
The numbers are not pointing to iPhone users "jumping ship", at all.

Android's growing share comes from non-smartphones, not from former iOS users.

Huge dorkphones are a rather small segment of Android sales, still dwarfed by iPhone sales. In addition, we have very little actual sales numbers, since Samsung goes out of their way to report only shipments to vendors, and not actual sales.

I don't think Apple needs to respond to the Awkward-and-Unwieldy "Trend" that non iPhone manufacturers have invented. At least, not yet.
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