AAPL Stock: 118.88 ( + 1.13 )

Printed from

Apple's iPhone 4 Retina Display claims "exaggeration?"

updated 02:35 pm EDT, Wed June 9, 2010

iPhone 4's PPI claims seen as not close enough

Apple's claims behind the iPhone 4's Retina Display aren't completely true, display research veteran Raymond Soneira claimed today. While Apple claims that 300 pixels per inch (PPI) is the limit of the human retina and that the iPhone 4's 326PPI easily exceeds it, the DisplayMate president notes that the resolution would need to reach 477PPI for the pixels to truly be 'invisible' to a healthy human eye. Apple's claims don't become completely true until about 1.5 feet from the LCD.

Soneira noted that Apple would likely need to go above the retina's actual resolution to have a visually "perfect" display. Apple's Retina Display claims are thus another example of "spec exaggeration," he said. The researcher was nonetheless careful not to undermine the significance of the display, as he still thought it was the best mobile display on the market.

On stage, Apple CEO Steve Jobs had described the effect as occurring within one to two feet away, leaving some room for the marketing to be accurate but not by as much as mentioned at WWDC.

Many companies passed the iPhone 3GS' 480x320, 165PPI resolution when it was released but now trail significantly behind Apple's 960x640 screen on the iPhone 4, even with more available screen area. The Motorola Droid is often credited as having one of the highest resolution mobile displays at 854x480, but at 3.7 inches it reaches just 265PPI. In spite of its larger 4.3-inch screen, the HTC Evo 4G is coarser at 800x480 and 217PPI. [via DVICE]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I can see 485 PPI

    I hold the phone 5 inches from eye....but that's just me.

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Some company once claimed their

    detergent was "stronger than dirt". I wonder if there were lots of complaints over that marketing statement. Somebody always has to nitpick over some marketing trash talk. All companies are guilty of spec exaggeration in some form or another.

    Maybe Steve was talking about his own eyes not being able to discern pixels at 326PPI.

  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969




    What exactly is the distance from a hand-held device at bent elbow level to eye level?!

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    My nose is on mine

    What a guy with a "I am Smart" agenda.

  1. Bobby

    Joined: Dec 1969


    1.5 Feet?

    I use my nose instead of my fingers to browse, as I never liked the delay between something happening on the screen and the delay as the light travels to my eyeballs... So I'm normally at around 1.5 inches...

  1. chas_m



    Um, hello?

    Steve, during the keynote, *specifically said* that the "human retina can't distinguish" claim was referring to being some distance away from your eye, "a foot or two away."

    Seems to me Jobs was telling the complete truth, he just didn't put it in boring Spock-like terms because he was giving a speech, not reading a scientific paper.

    Some of these "analysts" need to get a grip and move out of their parents' basements, IMHO.

  1. Gazoobee

    Joined: Dec 1969



    The article starts off with this guy saying that Apple's claims are "not really true," then ends with the qualification that what Apple said was basically accurate. WTF?

    Apple says it reaches the limit of the human retina to discern the pixels at about 12 inches from the viewer, this expert says at 18 inches the pixels are "truly invisible." These are not necessarily even competing claims.

    We are talking about six inches and the parsing of a few words. There is no controversy here at all.

  1. rtamesis

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Soneira trying to get his 15 minutes of fame

    When optometrists and ophthalmologists test your near vision, they use 14 inches as the set distance for doing so. What Jobs was referring to was essentially accurate. People do not normally read closer than that unless they are near sighted, are young and using vast amounts of accommodation to compensate for the distance of the phone to the eyes or are using very strong reading glasses/bifocals.

  1. wyseguy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Are you serious?

    I got out a tape measure. 1.5 ft (18 inches) is EXACTLY where I hold my phone when I'm reading it. So, it is perfect for me. I had my wife do the same thing, and for her, it was 1.3 feet away. I guess that means Steve was lying, and the phone sucks, so I guess she shouldn't buy one.

    Riiiiiiiiiiiight. Weak click-bait, Electronista. Weak.

  1. sailin74

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Design distance

    Looks like they revealed their design eye distance for the display, which 1.5feet is probably about right for a display of that size.

    It's all about angular resolution, not pixel distance.

    That being said, the new screen is obviously overhyped, and over priced. I can't wait to get mine. :-)

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented