iPhone 5 (black, left angled, display 001)

Apple’s Retina display may still be the best mobile display on the market, but not so much anymore in terms of the sheer pixel count and clearness.

Case in point: Samsung’s five-inch Galaxy S4 with its full HD 1,920-by-1,080 resolution screen at a whopping 441 pixels per inch easily outperforms the iPhone 5’s four-inch 640-by-1,136 Retina display at 326 pixels per inch. Another example: HTC’s flagship One smartphone and its 468 pixels per inch display.

Now, a new rumor out of China alleges that Apple’s next iPhone will have an upgraded Retina display with twice as much pixels as the current-generation…

According to the Chinese-language publication Weiphone, Apple will debut the sharper Retina display on a next-generation iPhone, most likely the upcoming iPhone 5S.

Specifically, the next iPhone will reportedly feature a 1.5-megapixel screen for twice the sharpness versus the current-gen iPhone 5 whose Retina display has “only” 727,040 pixels.

The story also alleges that the device will be thinner compared to the already thin iPhone 5 and borrow design cues from the iPad mini, such as the narrower side bezels.

You’re advised to take the story with a grain of salt.

For starters, introducing a new screen resolution would only require programmers to spend more time optimizing their apps for it, without any clear benefit in terms of the visible difference.

That’s not saying that 1080p phones don’t make sense – they do, but only if their screen sizes are closer to five than four inches diagonally.

According to DisplayMate President Dr. Raymond Soneira, the extra sharpness of a typical 1080p smartphone display is mostly wasted because your eyes typically “can’t resolve sharpness above 229 pixels per inch.”

For some people, it is possible to tell the difference if we were to sit down and study a 1080p display and a 720p display, side-by-side.

If you’re really a fanatic and you study images, or you have some professional applications and you’re really into displays, then it may make a visual difference for you.

On the other hand, 1080p does make sense when presenting content such as high-resolution photographs and especially full HD video because you don’t have the rescaling artifacts.

In the case of the iPhone 5S, doubling the pixel count would require more powerful graphics and increased memory bandwidth to push the extra pixels, which in turn would take its toll on the battery life.

While I don’t believe that the iPhone 5S will feature a 1.5-megapixel Retina screen, perhaps the report got it slightly wrong and this screen is actually for a rumored five-inch gadget that the reliable Japanese blog Macotakara back in March 2012 claimed was in the works.

Specifically, the report mentioned two possible screen resolutions for an Apple iPhablet: 1,600-by-960 and 1,280-by-960 pixels, the former conveniently in the ballpark of 1.5 megapixels.

What do you think?

Is it high time Apple stepped up its Retina game?

  • The Galaxy S4’s screen just looks fake IMO. If Apple can boost the resolution that’s fine by me but the screen should still look natural rather than Samsungs which just has a high saturation so colours look way too intense…

    • milksop held

      That’s because its amoled not IPS if you look at the HTC one or oppo find 5 you will see a brilliant screen that is much better then retina…

      • David Villamizar

        A shame HTC is going down, they are the best 🙁

    • Kurt

      Like TV’s depending on what you are viewing, you are supposed to and can change the settings of your screen. Same goes for the Samsung’s phones. When you get your TV home its set to a high saturated setting, which if you like, you change. Now what options do we iphone/ipad users have? None? and you complain about Samsung?

      • RarestName

        It doesn’t sound like to a complaint to me?

      • Kurt

        complaint?

      • RarestName

        edited

      • Kurt

        he was complaining about GS4 screen looking “fake” “way too intense” which the chroma has been lowered from previous devices

      • RarestName

        He did say that it’s his opinion though.

        I wouldn’t call these complaints:

        “The iPhone’s screen just looks too small for me. I can’t see a lot on it. The Galaxy S4’s screen is perfect for me.”

        “The iPad is just way too big for prolonged comfortable use, that’s why I’ll stay with my Nexus 7.”

        Complaints would be something like this:

        “Why does the Galaxy S4’s screen look so fake? It’s so fake that anyone who uses it will hurt their eyes!”

        “The iPhone’s screen is so small that I can’t even see sh*t on it, it just plain sucks! I can’t understand why anyone can use it everyday!”

        “The iPad sucks because I hate how big it is. Only retards carry it around.”

      • Kurt

        Sorry, but, your definition of complaints is incorrect. He’s clearly complaining about the screen being too saturated, which is his opinion of course, but you can change the setting, he failed to mention that in order to bash Samsung unfairly and prop up Apple (which has an awesome screen).

      • RarestName

        I guess I just suck at explaining things :/

      • It sounded all right to me. In my opinion (yes more of my opinion) Kurt is just trying to metaphorically place a plaster over the wounds I caused Samsung and their devices. In short he’s just sticking up for them when really I’m just stating my mind (what I think) and not what I know…

  • Sentry

    Impractical and unnecessary, imo. There’s no way such a change wouldn’t impact on battery life. The resolution is already great, and the screen itself (color depth, contrasts, etc) is still one of the best out there.

    I’d rather them focus on improving the battery life, rather than fighting to maintain the current battery life over a needless feature.

    • Lagax

      Absolutely! Plus developers Would have to(again) make their graphics larger(@4x or something), while like 20% of the Apps haven’t even been optimized for the iPhone 5’s 4-inch screen.

    • +1 on this.. tired of those competitions who has bigger ****. its about time they should start competing on things that matter for people..

      • Kurt

        like? You just got done saying a whole-lotta-nothin’

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      Can they not do both? If they improved the battery life and the screen resolution in theory there would not be any difference or would you prefer to sacrifice screen quality for an increased battery life…

    • Viktor_Zweig

      Second that!

  • Boss

    The iPhone 5 battery is so garbage tho you’ve got to have the brightness down just so it can last the full day which makes it yellowerly

    • *just using yellow would suffice. Saying “‘makes it yellow” would make “yellow” an objective complement. “Yellowerly” isn’t a word. 😛

    • Prasoon Singh

      Maybe it’s just you then.

      • Nope, friend of mine who went from GS2 to iPhone 5 says his iPhone 5 battery is shit and he always has his display dimmed to 0% because of this…

      • Kurt

        how does it compare to the bad iphone 4s batteries? batterygate

      • Probably the same boat back then, but have yet to experience it on my freed 4S; lasts over 24 hours with random day usage, so, not complaining. Perhaps Apple sneaked out a new gen of 4S that fixed the issue?

      • Kurt

        Mine battery sucks with games. I can’t use it much. But I got one of the good ones. A friend got one of the bad ones. She barely use the phone and by 2pm it was at 30%. She had to shut it off when she wasn’t using it because she was going to be out all day and was meeting friends later. Upgrading the firmware didn’t help. And Apple wouldn’t take it back. I feel bad for her. Stuck with a phone you can’t really use and for two years

      • Do you have any more anecdotes like this? Since as sad as this story is the outcome could clearly be avoided if she’d taken out an Apple Care plan of some sort…

        P.S I’m not trying to be rude with this comment just though I’d throw that out or was this (purchasing Apple Care) not possible…

      • Kurt

        How would apple care help? The phone was fully under warranty, isn’t the real question why they wouldn’t take it back? Especially knowing this is occurring in many iPhone 4Ses?

  • Starting to sound like the S in 5S will simply stand for the gimmick “Sharp” instead of “Secure”.

    No point increasing the pixel density when the human eye can barely observe any pixels at 300 Px/in…

    • Kurt

      When I get my Note 3 this summer, I’m expecting 1080p. I’ll be hooking it up to my 1080p screen. It will look that much better than the 720p the note 2 has. If you will hook your phone up to the big screen tv you got and then uses multiple controllers to play games with your friends, then the over kill of 1080p on a screen is worth it. Since you can’t do this on an iphone, its not worth going higher in ppi.

      • RarestName

        I believe that it will be a 1080p screen. The S III and Note II have 720p screens, so I think that the Note III will follow the S4’s resolution as well.

      • Kurt

        I hope so. I’ll probably put a wireless charger in mine too with use of the palm charger

      • I’d rather just use my PS3/PSP for that as I don’t see any multiplayer mobile phone game that’s worth outputting to my big screen.

        However, if I can find something at least intense as Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe running online on a mobile phone, without any lags, I might see the point.

      • Kurt

        My wife and I play lots of games together on the ipad, and on windows 8 (which is hooked up to the TV-but games are over priced) So for me, it will be well worth it.

      • RarestName

        Eh. Mew. Leh. Ee. Ters.

      • john

        i second that. Mobile devices can only go so far in graphics. being the graphics whore I am, i hardly ever used my iphone for gaming. But that is not to say that consoles have the best graphics. Given the right gou and cpu, PCs are the best graphic intensive handlers you can find on the consumer market.

  • Ignacio Irigoyen

    I think they should put their effort in improving a lot the battery life that until now the only thing that has been doing is playing catch up with consumption requirements and slowly losing.

    What would really impress me in the next flagship would be 3 or 4 times more battery life. More pixels that my eye can see…. meh, you might as well tell us that the new iphone reshapes the air around it to make the air look better.

  • hkgsulphate

    whats the point when human eyes can’t even distinguish

    • Prasoon Singh

      +1

    • RarestName

      Maybe the screen’s bigger?

    • Kurt

      hook the 1080p device to a tv, and it makes sense. If you’re not going to do it, then its not that big of a deal. But supposedly there’s a difference and 1080p displays on android platform have us beat. I’d like to see, cause i like the iphone’s screen.

    • ReanimationXP

      This would ruin the meaning of the Retina moniker. Apple will never do this.

  • J M

    I don’t get the first sentence…”Apple’s Retina display may still be the best mobile display on the market, but not so much anymore in terms of the sheer pixel count and clearness.” what defines it as the best mobile display then? By what metric…

    • By herd master Apple’s word of mouth…

    • pawfyd

      Colour accuracy I guess.

  • Prasoon Singh

    I don’t think this will happen. We can’t see pixels on the retina display so why change it now? I mean my iPad 2 doesn’t have retina display but I’m fine with that because I never owned a retina product before.

  • Jalib Akther Bin Abdul Majeed

    I guess they do not produce a retina display with a double pixel density
    that of the present one, because in the WWDC 2010 they fixed that the
    required amount of pixel density is ~300, greater than 300 is useless,
    it doesn’t gonna make any change..
    So why should they increase the pixel density? As apple does not usually go against their ‘policy’

  • Chris Miller

    Yes

  • My hypothesis Apple is going to bring a larger screen phone, hence the need for a double retina. Quality would be degraded if you just extend the current resolution to a bigger screen. The PPI would be noticeably lower. So how do you fix that? Double the density for the just-increased resolution so that it is compatible with the current apps, and also capable of doubling that resolution (5S+ exclusive) for future app updates.

    • Zachary Sloane

      Oh god…this makes sense. Please let it be true!

    • Gorgonphone

      nope

      • Well, I actually wasn’t asking anything.

  • Dan

    I’d rather have a bigger screen than more pixels, the image quality of good as it is.

    • Lucas Tres

      You have to have higher pixel density if you want a bigger screen that looks as sharp as the iPhone 5’s.

  • Battery life is more worth it than higher Retina Display.

    • Kurt

      I prefer both. There are phones with swappable batteries. Though they run fine all day. and they have larger screen and higher ppi. Just make the iphone bigger and you can throw in a larger battery. That would offset the size of the screen and give more juice of other tasks.

      • I prefer both too but not if it harms the battery life then that’s a no no for me. They do? I don’t think the larger battery is gonna help anymore when it comes to longer battery life, I think all the juice from the screen will just suck the battery life away.

      • Believe it or not I actually agree with you (and others) on the whole battery life thing. A far as I know most mobile phone manufactures (not sure about Apple) underclock (the opposite of over clock if that is the correct terminology) their devices on purpose to allow for extra battery life. With extra battery life as you put it there would be a lot more juice for other tasks…

      • Kurt

        Yes, Apple does under clock their iPhones. iPads that had the same processor like iPad 1 wasn’t underclocked. My touchpad was underclocked also. I use it at home, so battery life is a non issue so I over clocked it a bit. I didn’t go to extreme as of fear of heat issues. I don’t think the 4S needs the screws on the bottom. The ultimate phone would be (for me) a glass back phone that slides up and off. this way you can take it off and swap out the battery and quickly put the back case on without tools. And with glass, scratches don’t really occur. just my two cents

  • chris125

    Hope they put a bigger battery in, the iPhone 5 battery is pretty bad. Also why’s it need to be thinner? It’s already almost too thin as it is

    • Gorgonphone

      fasle iphone 5has the highest performance and best battery of all iPhones..

  • Tahir Ahmetovic

    iPhone 5S gonna have a 13 megapixel camera and 2 megapixel forward facing

    • Gorgonphone

      boring

  • i thought Retina was already the highest resolution the eye could perceive?