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Will Apple Keep Upgrading Display Resolution?

With the launch of the iPhone and iPad, as well as the new Macbook, Apple has continued on its path of increasing its display resolution. Apple created the term “Retina display” not just as a marketing phrase, but to educate end users about high resolution. Apple has been leading the trend in displays with high pixels per inch (ppi, the measurement of resolution), especially with the launch of iPhone 4, the first smart phone with a resolution of more than 300 ppi, and the new iPad, the first tablet PC with over 200 ppi.

However, other smart device makers, including Samsung, HTC, Google, Amazon, Sony, Lenovo, and ASUS are closely following Apple, and in some cases have introduced products with higher resolutions, such as Google’s Nexus 10 tablet PC, with a 10.1” 2560×1600 display at 298 ppi, and coming smart phones using 5.0” 1920×1080 displays at 490 ppi.

Many speculated that Apple would introduce the Retina display concept into all of its products and keep increasing resolution, but the iPad Mini does not have a Retina display, and the iPhone 5 are not higher resolution compared to their predecessors, iPhone 4 and iPad. So will Apple continue to lead the trend of the high resolution? Or has the company decided that current resolutions are good enough, and is focusing on improvements in form factor and power consumption?

The pixel density of Apple’s iPhone 4, new iPad, new Macbook Air and new Macbook are exactly 4 times of the pixel density of their predecessors (iPhone 3, iPad 2, Macbook Air and Macbook), as shown in the figure. One possible scenario is that Apple will increase the resolution of the iPad and iPad mini display to 330 PPI, which would mean that its three main mobile devices will have Retina displays, with roughly the same resolution.

Exceeding 300 ppi in a tablet PC display may require new technologies, particularly oxide TFT (such as IGZO) because of the high electron mobility required to drive small pixels at low power consumption. Sharp was the first to mass produce oxide TFT panels, but Samsung, LG Display, AUO and Chimei are all working on oxide TFT as well, for the sake of readiness for Apple’s requirement. In addition, high pixel densities will increase backlight power consumption, and thermal dissipation of the LED is also a concern. All of these are challenges for the panel makers.

It is not yet clear whether Apple intends to upgrade the resolution of the iPad and iPad mini. However, end users are becoming used to 300 PPI and higher in smart phones, so they may be looking for the same level of the pixel density in tablet PCs.

 Apple’s display resolution evolution (blue) and potential upgrades (yellow)

 

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    [...] Hsieh, an analyst at DisplaySearch, tried to answer that question in a research note today, saying that Apple has become a victim of its own marketing [...]

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    [...] Hsieh, an analyst at DisplaySearch, tried to answer that question in a research note today, saying that Apple has become a victim of its own marketing [...]

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    [...] Hsieh, an analyst at DisplaySearch, tried to answer that question in a research note today, saying that Apple has become a victim of its own marketing [...]

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    [...] DisplaySearch said in a research note today that future smartphones will have 5-inch displays with a stunning 1,920×1,080 pixel [...]

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    [...] Hsieh, an analyst at DisplaySearch, tried to answer that question in a research note today, saying that Apple has become a victim of its own marketing [...]

  • http://gadgetnuz.com/lenovo-sees-7-inch-tablets-vying-with-phones-not-pcs/ Lenovo sees 7-inch tablets vying with phones, not PCs | GADGETNUZ

    [...] DisplaySearch said in a research note today that future smartphones will have 5-inch displays with a stunning 1,920×1,080 pixel [...]

  • http://vndezign.com/reconciling-the-ipad-mini-with-apples-retina-obsession-2/ Reconciling the iPad Mini with Apple’s Retina obsession | vnDezign

    [...] Hsieh, an analyst at DisplaySearch, tried to answer that question in a research note today, saying that Apple has become a victim of its own marketing [...]

  • Anonymous

    Um… there is no new MacBook Air with a retina display.

  • Psmcguire57

    I would expect Apple to keep chasing to increase spec’s well beyond what is required by customers.  They will push the envelope in part under the false belief that they will hold price this way.  MEanwhile, reality and open markets will drive Android devices to meet market requirments with innovative and cost effective solutions.  Android will (continue to) win and Apples phone strategy will settle into a minority position.

  • Txx

    It would make no sense for Apple to further push resolution for the iPad, unless they change the aspect reation of the screen, which seems rather unlikely for the near/foreseeable future (next 6-12 months :-) . A higher res iPad mini is very likely (basically set in stone).
    More interesting is the qestion how Apple will react to the further increase in screen size and resolutions for smartphones?

  • http://www.martynpavey.com/lenovo-sees-7-inch-tablets-vying-with-phones-not-pcs/ Lenovo sees 7-inch tablets vying with phones, not PCs » |

    [...] DisplaySearch said in a research note today that future smartphones will have 5-inch displays with a stunning 1,920×1,080 pixel [...]

  • Anonymous

    Yeah Bro, and in what universe, parallell or otherwise, is android an OS capable of anything more than burning its user?