Retina_small

Users of retina iPhones and iPads are used to the phenomenon of pixel doubling, where two-by-two squares stand in for a larger, lower density pixel. But how would you feel about a display that needs pixel quadrupling?

Just hours ago Ryan Petrich, the developer behind excellent jailbreak tweaks such as BrowserChooser, FullForce, and Display Recorder, stumbled across a constant in Quartz Core which may suggest that Apple is working on a super retina device…

Here’s the original tweet from Ryan Petrich:

kCAContextEnablePixelDoubling and kCAContextEnablePixelQuadrupling constants in QuartzCore suggest a “super-retina” device is in the works?

ryan petrich pixelquadrupling

By “super-retina,” do you suppose Petrich means a larger Retina display, or will this be a screen with an absurdly high pixel density?

While there is a part of me that is thrilled at the possibility of a phone with a screen density of 652ppi, I’m going to bet that’s not what this new PixelQuadrupling value is for. For one thing, the sales pitch behind the Retina display screen is that it’s sharp enough that the typical human eye can’t distinguish individual pixels, from a normal viewing distance. While not everyone agrees with the sales pitch, doubling the horizontal and vertical resolution again seems like overkill.

Users on Twitter are already speculating that this could mean anything from support for the 4k TV resolution to apps for the Apple TV. My guess is this is an unused option for the Retina-equipped iPads, already capable of doubling the iPhone 4S’ retina resolution, but anything’s possible.

What do you make of the PixelQuadrupling constant? Share you thoughts in the comments section below.