Apple debuted the Retina display in June 2010 on the iPhone 4. Fast-forward to today and it remains the gold standard for smartphones in terms of crispness and pixel density. Yes, most high-end Android handsets now top the iPhone’s 960-by-480 pixel resolution by way of using bigger panels that however don’t always introduce denser pixel.
A good example is Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone which has a 4.65-inch display with the native HD resolution of 1,280-by-720 pixels and a pixel density of 316 pixels per inch (ppi), safely above the Retina requirement of at least 300ppi for a smartphone display so the pixels appear indistinguishable to the human eye with a 20/20 vision.
Enter LG’s newly-announced five-inch mobile display. It rocks a whopping 1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution and an astounding density of 440 pixels per inch. If Apple was looking for the perfect display for its rumored five-inch iOS device, this could be it…
LG Display, which originally started out in 1999 as a joint venture by LG Electronics and Koninklijke Philips Electronic, yesterday introduced a five-inch smartphone display sporting an impressive pixel density of 440ppi.
The official press release (via Engadget) hails it as “the highest-resolution mobile panel to date”. Specifically, it supports full HD resolution of 1,920-by-1,080 pixels natively.
Think about it: for the first time, you’ll be able to enjoy full HD TV on your smartphone, no downsampling required whatsoever.
Compared to the preceding 4.5-inch panel featuring a 1,280-by-720 pixel resolution at 329ppi, the new display has 1.3 times better ppi and 2.2 times denser pixels. Better yet, it features a 16:9 aspect ratio – perfect for watching movies as they were meant to be enjoyed.
The display uses a variant of In-Plane Switching technology (IPS) known as Advanced High Performance In-Plane Switching (AH-IPS). Compared to IPS, AH-IPS boasts wide viewing angles, fast response times and improved brightness efficiency.
With the high density of AH-IPS, the naked eye is unable to distinguish between individual pixels. AH-IPS panels also express the original color of images highly precisely, and feature a wide viewing angle as well as stable display image and rapid response speed when touched. Finally, with its brighter light transmission and lower power consumption, AH-IPS is ideal for use in outdoor settings.
So, when’s this thing going to be available?
Pretty soon, during the second half of this year.
Now, a few things worth mentioning.
Firstly, the Seoul, South Korea-headquartered company files as the world’s largest LCD panel maker, ahead of Samsung Electronics in a slender lead.
LG Display is one of the main licensed vendors of Hitachi-developed IPS panels found in iMacs, iPads, iPhones and iPod touches. It’s also believed to be providing smaller quantities of the 2,048-by-1,536 pixel resolution Retina displays for the iPad 3.
And if the Wall Street Journal is to be trusted, LG Display will also supply display technology for the next iPhone, along with Sony, Sharp and Japan Display, a new company born out of the partnership between the Japanese government and Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba.
A sixth-generation iPhone is said to feature in-cell technology that combines color filter and touch sensor components into one, making for a substantially thinner display.
Conspicuously, Samsung has not been identified as a supplier, fueling rumors of orders stoppage on Apple’s part.
If you ask me, LG Display’s new darling is the perfect fit for that rumored five-inch iOS device that Japanese blog Macotakara says Apple’s been working on. The report speculates a five-inch iOS device would feature either a 1,600-by-960 pixel display or a 1,280-by-960 variant.
But with LG Display, one of Apple’s key suppliers of mobile displays, now mainstreaming this new astounding display, I really don’t see Cupertino settling for anything else but the full HD mobile display.
Apple could also use Sharp’s Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide (IGZO) display technology which has been given a boost when Apple’s contract manufacturer Foxconn acquired an eleven percent stake in Sharp and its cutting-edge display plant.
The only problem at the moment are yield rates and ongoing manufacturing problems making mass production of IGZO displays difficult for the time being.
Again, this is only speculation on my part. For all we know, this five-inch iOS device could easily be the product of someone’s imagination.
If it does exist in Apple’s labs, I’m wondering whether it’s an oversized iPod touch or a brand new device meant to challenge Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablet.
Either way, I’d put my money on Apple using this beauty of a display from LG Display.
A five-inch iPhone, you say?
Perhaps, though the overwhelming majority of our readers said in a poll that four inches should be the new gold standard for iPhones going forward. This is in stark contrast to less than three percent of polled readers preferring a screen of five inches and beyond.
I welcome everyone’s opinion, but arguing that the Galaxy Note’s concept is broken doesn’t change the fact that people love the form factor.
Whether or not Apple chooses to address it is anybody’s guess.
Here’s a guy making a phone call on a 5.3-inch Galaxy Note. I too happen to think that wielding a phablet in public makes one look stupid, but who’s to say that Apple isn’t thinking about a five-inch iOS entertainment device of sorts?
And whilst most patents never make it into actual products, it’s worth pointing out that Apple filed for multiple patents related to pen technology.
Last Wednesday, the site Patently Apple pointed at a new Apple patent application for an iPen, a vibrating pen that makes noise.
Mike Elgan has an excellent take on what the iPen could mean for Apple in the bigger scheme of things.