Apple’s iPhone Retina display may be obsolete by next year

“Apple’s iPhone Retina display may soon become obsolete,” Nigam Arora reports for MarketWatch. “Apple’s iPhone 5S Retina resolution is 1136 x 640. Next year, competitors will have resolution of 3840 x 2160. The obsolescence is going to come far sooner than I had even recently expected based on information from Samsung’s Analyst Day. The new trouble for Retina displays came Wednesday in the form of an announcement by Qualcomm, a major provider of mobile phone chips. If Apple fails to respond in a timely manner with a new display, it could have a serious effect on the stock.”

“Until now, one of the impediments to Ultra HD mobile phones has been lack of a commercially available GPU capable of driving the massive number of pixels while using low power. Retina display is not Ultra HD,” Arora reports. “Now Qualcomm has introduced its next generation Snapdragon 805 ‘Ultra HD’ processor. This is the first mobile processor that supports 4K Ultra HD resolution. According to Qualcomm, Snapdragon 805 samples are available now and will be delivered in commercial quantities in the first half of 2014.”

“From Samsung’s Analyst Day, Samsung is expected to introduce a 4K-display mobile phone in 2015. Samsung is anticipating an intermediate step between the Galaxy S4 display, the present-day flagship phone, and the 4K display in 2015. The intermediate step is a phone with a 560 ppi at 5.2 inches and a resolution of 2560 x 1440,” Arora reports. “As a reference, Galaxy S4 provides a resolution of 441 ppi and a resolution of 1080 x 1920, and Apple iPhone 5S, the flagship Apple phone, provides 326 ppi and a resolution of 1136 x 640. iPad Air provides 264 ppi and a resolution of 2048 x 1536 on a 9.7 inch screen… Retina displays as most consumers know them will be obsolete in 2014. Apple will fall behind the competitors unless it introduces a new match for 4K.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We wouldn’t worry about Apple’s display quality.


      1. There’s no sense to a 4K phone (or tablet) display. There’s not even enough room to notice the difference between 720p and 1080p on 27″ TV, much less a phone or tablet. So how can a 4K display on an ultra-portable be anything other than marketing? Now 4K recording/output on the other hand would be awesome.

        1. There certainly is enough room on 27″ to see the difference between 720 and 1080 if you are close to the screen. We just typically watch TV from a good distance. We hold our phones close to our face so the resolution must be much higher to be imperceptible.

    1. Retina is fine. Increasing the number of pixels will not be noticeable. I’d rather Apple focus on software and increasing battery life, storage capacity, and processor speeds.

    2. This translates as:- “Apple, please develop a display that will utilize the snapdragon 805 ultra HD processor so that we can copy you as soon as possible?!,” “We know that you will not increase your display size, so we want to create a larger display than you would to sell more of our large new cell phones running on last years software, but Shhh!,don’t tell our customers, will you?

    3. If it were viable to have retina display at 3840×2160 on an iPhone then it could technically work at all sizes. It would be super dense at iPhone and iPad size, but would start being viable, albeit beyond current retina standards, for MacBooks and desktop displays. It might open up some interesting possibilities if the 4K resolution is used across devices, iPod/iPhone up through 27″ iMac/Thunderbolt Display. 🙂 My best guess is that there will be a bump in resolution at some point but Apple will focus on improvements in usability over specs. e.g., if 3840×2160 graphics equals unacceptable battery drain, Apple would opt out of it. Then again, being able to “mint” your own silicon designs is a great asset in squeezing what you need to out of the hardware.

    1. That convinced me super retina is plausible, but I still don’t see how it offers any tangible benefit from the user’s perspective. The extra resolution would not yield a perceptible change in visual quality. Removing graphics smoothing would save energy, sure, but that doesn’t accomplish much beyond compensating for the extra energy needed to use higher resolution graphics. It also has the drawbacks of taking longer to download higher resolution raster images, and occupying more active memory and disk space.

  1. Marketing hype. it’s called “retina” because while other screens may have more pixels per inch, the current screen has so many pixels that the eye cannot resolve individual ones as regular use distances. Apple will clearly continue to make the screen better and better, perhaps with more pixels, but likely in the many other ways that affect the user experience. Current keyboards could easily accept words typed at 200 wpm but nobody can type that fast so why advertise that capability?

    1. Why exceed the resolution that the eye can see on the iOS devices? You stream the new higher resolution to the new 4K HDTV set and view the lower resolution on the devise in your hand. Lower power screens and know one will ever see the difference. That is why Apple is building several BILLION DOLLAR SERVER FARMS all around the world. Apple engineers are not idiots. Did you not see the 4K HDTV ports on the new Power Mac?

  2. Stop the phone pixel insanity! Ridiculous based on the size of a phone display. More pixels than the current retina will not influence my purchasing decision. I think this will be a issue like cameras on phones; Quality will become more important than quantity. Stop the insanity!

  3. Yeah, some pundits don’t seem to understand that the normal human eye can’t resolve pixel arc sizes smaller than that those subtended on the retina displays on the iPhone, iPad, etc.

    1. RIGHT. how is that fair or relevant to compare the retina display to something in the pipe works maybe and speaking as though Apple of all companies would not care to advance in that timeframe

  4. the increase of pixel density is not visible to the naked eye but does affect the way we see subtle color variations and shadows on things like skin (just saying) I am sure Apple will chose a blend that gets the highest yield in both picture and power yields one without the other is moot. if they dpi make a bigger phone they may need a denser screen .Samsung needs it now the screen rez on the present phones is laughable

  5. I’ve been away for a while. Did people suddenly get enhanced eyeballs where higher resolution than “the smallest dot that a human can see” actually means anything besides “YOU’RE PUSHING MORE PIXELS THEREFORE MAKING YOUR PRODUCT SLOWER?” I’ve still got the 19 inch penis enhancement on order so I’ll keep this eyeball enhancement feature for later…

  6. Right so these phones will be available a few months before the next iPhone upgrade. Fact is these chips are advertised as test mules for phone makers to develop products 8 months ahead. Apple of course is testing or soon will its next generation of chips that will have similar qualities in this regard so apart from one is advertising a future product and the other isn’t because it only supplies to itself whats the difference.

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