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Apple faking 489 to 815 PPI on iPhone 4 ads

By 8 June 2010 105 Comments

Yesterday, I declared that Apple regained the smartphone technology lead and that the iPhone 4 was a massive leap forward in phone and video conferencing technology.  But something didn’t feel right about the advertisement and promotional video Apple used to promote the iPhone 4′s new “Retina display” so I went back and examined the ads in detail.  After close examination, it appears that Apple is showing 3 to 5 times the Pixels Per Inch (PPI) in their ads when they should only be showing 2 times the PPI.  Furthermore, Do you really need 300 PPI on a 3.5 inch phone?

Update 8:40PM – Some people are suggesting that having 4 times the pixels on the iPhone justifies 4 times the PPI pixel density.  Unfortunately for them, PPI is a linear measurement and not an area measurement of pixels.  It would take 16 times the pixels to get 4x the PPI.  PPI is by definition Pixels Per Inch and not Pixels Per Square Inch (PPSI).  If it were PPSI, the iPhone 4 would have a PPSI of 106,276.

The first example is the slides used by Apple at the iPhone 4 launch event, and figure 1 below is derived from a photo taken by Engadget.  The second example is Apple’s website promoting the “Retina Display”, and figure 2 shows how this is also inaccurate advertising.

Figure 1 – Steve Jobs shows iPhone 4 having 815 PPI
Steve Jobs shows iPhone 4 having 815 PPI

Figure 2 - Apple ad shows iPhone 4 having 489 PPI
Apple ad shows iPhone 4 having 489 PPI

Figure 3 – What a 2x and 4x improvement actually looks like

The iPhone 4 is truly a technological marvel that speaks for itself.  But as wonderful as the new screen is, the evidence above shows that Apple is greatly exaggerating the screen quality of the device.  Apple should really correct this.

105 Comments »

  • Peter Christensen said:

    No one that sees these videos or ads on the web will be using a 300dpi screen so they need to overcompensate. A more interesting comparison will be what resolution they show in their print ads.

  • Justin Freid said:

    Thanks for the close examination of the Apple demonstration and the clarification. I think in their effort to sell the new technology they embellished the example.
    I prefer a higher resolution screen to a larger one and the retina display coupled with iBooks should make for a comfortable reading experience.

  • dude said:

    So you’re calling Apple out on their supposed exaggeration of the pixel density based on… Screenshots from compressed videos?

    Are you kidding?

    What you’re looking so closely at and calculating based on (doing it wrong too, I might add) is marketing. To show you the difference, not the exact to-the-pixel comparison. Your image of what 2x and 4x ‘actually’ look like is about the same as their marketing material suggests!

    I realize you’re just trying to cash in on the google traffic for iPhone 4 and it’s awesome new hardware and OS… but, really, let’s be reasonable while we’re at it, ok?

  • David Bishop said:

    I think the slide is quite blantantly overblown – for effect. They are trying to say that to the human eye, it looks this clear. Obviously if you blew it up, it wouldn’t.

    The difference is too stark not to realize it is greater than 4 times the density for comparison.

  • Alan Hogan said:

    The ratios in the demo are correct if you compare them not to the iPhone 3G but to desktop monitors at 72dpi.

    But seriously, this is all to demonstrate the difference. It’s not a ‘claim’. After all, 815dpi will look the same to the human eye as 370dpi…

  • Nathan said:

    You should label the “apple claim” graphic with 1x/2x/4x I’m not sure what it’s supposed to match up with.

  • chan said:

    @dude

    He also uses Apple’s slides, taken from the actual presentation. Reading comprehension is key.

    I can’t comment on his methods, but you can’t deny that his comparisons using their slides is accurate.

  • Peter R said:

    Interesting.

    As opposed to what one of the above commenters said, I did take this slide as an actual example so it is good to know the actual facts.

    I wish Apple would stop selling their products as magical revolutionary devices where really they are just slightly a leg up over the competition in some areas and actually worse than it in others. And the “amazing Retina Display!” is just a marketing term for more pixels per inch. And while it does have more pixels/inch than other similar smart phone…it is just evolutionary as opposed to magically tons more as they suggest. Yes it may be 4x the pixels as an old hat iPhone 3GS but it is only slightly more than a HTC Evo 4g or Nexus One or HD2 etc…

    Please Apple, the iPhone 4G is just another smartphone, please stop trying to sell it as more. You are just a tech company building on and borrowing the ideas of others, please stop selling yourself as something else.

    And if anyone tries to argues with me that Apple is doing this, please go watch/listen again to the wank-fest that is the end of this most recent Jobs-fest where they released the iPhone 4G.

    In summary, nice hardware, closed software…just another step for smartphones (a little one at that).

  • Joseph S. said:

    So you take a compressed jpeg image, of a photo taken of a slideshow displayed via a projector, not the iPhone 4′s screen… and then you are trying to base a calculation of pixel density with that? The pixels have changed like three times from when the were in the phone…

  • Blad_Rnr said:

    But the eye can’t decipher anything beyond ~300+ DPI. So what does it matter?

  • whacko said:

    @ David Bishop

    Maybe Apple intended that text display to be an example as to how the human eye would perceive the clearer text, however that is not how they presented the slide. What is the point of blowing up and pixelating the old text size and showing it next to the new text size if they were not trying to imply a direct comparison?

  • Pranav Trehun said:

    iPhone 4 has twice the pixels in length and twice in width (960-by-640). This gives it four times the pixels in same size. Thus 4 times the Pixels Per Inch (PPI).

    In comparison iPhone 3GS has a 480-by-320 resolution.

  • Eric Gill said:

    The human eye can indeed perceive beyond 300 ppi. This is why laser printers left 300 “dpi” behind around 1990, and why we output offset press plates at 2,400 ppi. Or more.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_to_plate

    Of course, Apple is telling you otherwise. It’s not true, and having been the king of offset printing for decades, they know it. That’s the point.

  • Nick Brown said:

    @Joseph S. Major assumptions here. If you watch the keynote, Jobs stops his presentation to tell the audience how they went out and got special projectors that would display the iPhone 4 screen on the projection screen at 1:1 so that there would be zero alteration of the image on the projection screen from the actual device screen.

  • AngryTechnician said:

    @Pranav Trehun

    What you’ve just described is 4 times the Pixels Per SQUARE Inch. That is a 2-dimensional measurement. Pixels Per Inch is 1-dimensional. It’s like comparing a sixty-foot long piece of wood with a sixty square-foot room.

  • nnn said:

    Well figure 2 left letter has few shades in same pixel that is imposible, single pixel equals single shade(colour) so much about professional review.
    Nice try.

  • Nick Brown said:

    Uh, figure 2 is from Apple not George. Here’s the direct link to Apple’s website with it on the page of info on the Retina display: http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/retina-display.html

  • Chris S said:

    For a pretty smart guy, you clearly didn’t think this through very carefully.
    You state that Apple should be showing 2 times the PPI. In your haste to degrade the new IPhone4, you were thinking one dimensionally.
    If the pixel count is 326 pixels per inch, you need to realize that TEXT is 2 dimensional not just one. If you took one square inch of screen space it would be 326 pixels wide X 326 pixels tall.
    Therefore that one square inch of screen would contain 325×326=106,276 pixels. The older iPhone would have 163 pixels X 163 pixels = 25,569 pixels in that same square inch of screen.

    Now then if you divide 106,276 pixels by 25,569 you get the new screen at 4.15 times, higher pixel density. Not 2 times as stated.
    It’s your one dimensional thinking with its underlying intent that’s deceiving, not Apple.

  • jack said:

    “Please Apple, the iPhone 4G is just another smartphone, please stop trying to sell it as more. You are just a tech company building on and borrowing the ideas of others, please stop selling yourself as something else.

    And if anyone tries to argues with me that Apple is doing this, please go watch/listen again to the wank-fest that is the end of this most recent Jobs-fest where they released the iPhone 4G.

    In summary, nice hardware, closed software…just another step for smartphones (a little one at that).”

    Oh please. Apple sells up on their products, just as any other company does. Have you seen android commercials? Android phones can do ‘anything’, and the commercials look like something from a thousand years from now.

    Your opinion is that it was only a small step up. At this point, how would a major step be made? I’ll answer that for you. It can’t be done. The tech behind these devices are already pushing limits.

    In my opinion it’s now easily the best smart phone you can buy. How long will that last? Who knows. But your comment reeks of apple hate more than anything else. If you can’t tell the difference between hype, which all companies use, and the truth, that has more to do with you being naive than anything else. Also, mcdonald hamburgers actually taste pretty bad.

    How do you survive all these overhyped commercials?

  • nnn said:

    Uh, figure 2 is used by George to give us pixel count, and that actual pixel count George used to tell us 2=4?!?!
    There is always people that are bitter about Apple and iPhone, admit it or not iPhone is the king. My only complaint and reason I droped iPhone was stuck pixels, that was too anoying to me, and downsampled images. Other than that great user experience. If 4 solve problem about stuck-dead pixels and lets us browse full resolution images I hope I’ll be back to iPhone ;)

  • nnn said:

    @ Chris

    Good arithmetics, good thinking, and good point.

  • Nick Brown said:

    @nnn You stated that “left letter has few shades in same pixel that is imposible, single pixel equals single shade(colour) so much about professional review.”

    The reviewer can only review what evidence they are given. The image is Apple’s. So if there are multiple shades in one pixel that’s Apple, not George. So I just don’t follow where you are going with that.

    And why would I be bitter about the iPhone? I’ve owned two, and I guarantee I will be reserving this one on the 15th. I’m not sure how you could call George bitter either since he posted an article yesterday on the iPhone 4 being a revolutionary product.

  • CREATIVE » How Apple Tricks You. said:

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  • Justin said:

    @Eric Gill:

    Sorry, but to compare the PPI of a computer screen to the DPI of a printer, you’d have to be clueless about the actual printing process.

    Printers need much higher DPIs since they need more than a single dot to create the range of colours you see in the final output. Each dot on an LCD screen is capable if displaying a whole range of colours. Therefore you don’t need as many dots to achieve the same effect.

    300 DPI is a common standard for photographic printers, which are more comparable to an LCD screen than laser, inkjet, or large off-set printers. They chose that number for a reason.

  • Dobi said:

    HTC EVO 4G is better and the best by far.

    EVO 4G video chats over 3G and 4G, and over WiFi. EVO 4G is superior. iPHone4 ONLY chats over Wifi. iPhone SUCKS bigtime.

    EVO 4G operates over 3G network and 4G network. iPhone ONLY 3G. Again HTC EVO 4G is superior.

    EVO 4G allows 8 laptops to connect to the internet through it’s hotspot. iPhone connects ZEROOOOOO laptops, NO CONNECTIONS AT ALL. Again HTC EVO 4G is Superior.

    EVO 4G has HDMI outlet, iPhone does NOT. EVO 4G is again Superior.

    EVO 4G battery can be changed in a second, iPhone can’t replace battery. Again EVO 4G is superior.

    EVO 4G 8mp camarra, iPhone 5mp camarra. Again HTC EVO 4G Superior. Stop the BUT, BUT…BUT…nonsense. Proof is in the facts we can see and feel not in iPhone excuses by the fanboys.

    EVO 4G email is the best, iPhone email is a mixup and confusion. Again EVO 4G is superior.

    EVO 4G many GPS choices FREE, iPhone pay $99. Again EVO 4G is superior.

    iPphone superiority can’t be stated, can’t be seen, can’t be red, can’t be put on paper, it’s only in the fanboys’ statement, i.e., “Android 8mp, iPhone 5mp, BUT….BUT….BUT THEN AGAIN…HOWEVER…BUT…UMMM…HOWEVER….UMMM…”

    LMAO at the aaplheads, that are paying higher price for very inferior product that is iPhone4. AAPL made $800 million just from servicing garbage quality iPhone battery.

  • borg said:

    Hmm I don’t think this affects the weight of apples presentation though, still made a strong sales pitch.
    http://www.theborgcollectives.com/2010/06/live-at-apple-new-iphone-4-has-been.html

  • iDean said:

    iphone 4, 960*640=614400 pixel
    3gs 480*320=153600 pixel

    iphone 4 have 4x more pixel, hello!!!!!!!

  • nnn said:

    @ Nick Yes I stated that, and to ease you following me, do you see that redish guidelines on figure 2 pic.?
    If you do, than open the link you gave me, do you see that there? No.
    Well that guie lines George used to show us how big, or how manny pixels are on the left letter. And that is misleading, not Apple presentation.
    So I thought that was caused by bitterness towards Apple-iPhone.
    Maybe I’m wrong and maybe not about that bitterness, I’m sorry for that.

  • Justin said:

    Isn’t it obvious that the diagram is just an example to illustrate to people what is going on and that it’s not supposed to be some kind of accurate measurement or way to compare the end result? They already have an interactive feature that compares the new screen with the old screen — is that wrong?

  • grasswaiting said:

    Please ignore this article. Apple was correct. PPI is measured vertically or horizontally, Apple doubled in both directions. Therefore, (wait for it), Pixel density is 4x higher, which is why the Apple example matches the 4x sample. Idiot writing articles…caution!

  • JP said:

    This is a misleading claim by Apple, their ad should contain the following disclaimer (actual improvements not shown, these images were manufactured in a way to mislead you into believing the difference is far greater. If you are an Apple Fanboy or just plain stupid, ignore this disclaimer and continue on blindly. Have a nice day )

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  • nnn said:

    @ JP Is everything ok with you, dou you have eyes or brain?!?!
    This article is clearly missleading, that is by now so over obvious.
    Please, get a grip while you can, while you have a chance…

  • nnn said:

    @ Dobi

    Have you seen comparison of the screens iPhone 4 versus HTC Evo, iPone is superior by far.
    Did you saw 720p video recorded with Evo, bad, bad, bad, iPhone is superior again.
    Evo’s processor vs. iPhone. Guess who is superior? iPhone again.
    Graphics processing, iPhone again.
    Have you seen iPhone photo samples with new generation of image sensor? Or you can say when somebody looks at you HTC made photo, my pic has more pixels all though it’s horrible.
    Have you ever changed battery?
    IPhone e-mail is good if not great.
    Bravo for HDMI.

    And try to be facts fanboy not some angry nonsense fanboy.

  • Serg3 said:

    Where, when and who at apple stated that the keynote images were an accurate comparison. Usually keynote presentations use graphics and images that do not show actual facts, but serve the purpose of explaining a concept in a more visual fashion. Do you remember when you were taught about our solar system???? Your teachers didn´t use actual ratios on size or distance among planets and the sun… Were they misleading you?

    They didn´t exaggerate on the numbers stating it was 4x the resolution (which has been explained thoroughly in previous posts)

    Have you realized that new iphone´s screen fits 4 times in a 1900*1200 screen? have you seen an ebook reader,? they look really sharp, as printed paper, and usually their ppi is lower than iphone´s

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  • Krypt0nian said:

    It will be fun wait for a retraction of this “well researched” blog post. George Ou should be ashamed.

    And the HTC Evo psycho is out there. *grin*

  • mino said:

    It’s a marketing trick.

    Same thing with digital storage devices.
    When it said to have 500GB of storage, it’s not actually 500GB.

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    [...] Apple faking 489 to 815 PPI on iPhone 4 ads – “Yesterday, I declared that Apple regained the smartphone technology lead and that the iPhone 4 was a massive leap forward in phone and video conferencing technology. But something didn’t feel right about the advertisement and promotional video Apple used to promote the iPhone 4’s new “Retina display” so I went back and examined the ads in detail. After close examination, it appears that Apple is showing 3 to 5 times the Pixels Per Inch (PPI) in their ads when they should only be showing 2 times the PPI. Furthermore, Do you really need 300 PPI on a 3.5 inch phone?” [...]

  • So Crates said:

    A 1 m^2 square is 100 cm^2, right guys? Right guys? Math is simpleriffic. And George Ou is bad azz. BAD AZZ. Don’t forget to eat your Googletine, kids!

  • Paul said:

    There is no actual data here to make this assumption.

    Image 1 is a low res digital image of a digital image. If the two grids don’t align, you get weird artifacts — especially if taken at an oblique angle. It’s similar to problems that can occur with halftoning. The other images might have similar issues if they are a screen shot.

    Image 2 has a weird grid on the left that doesn’t match up to the differences in shading. If you ignore the grid and look at apparent pixelation, the Apple claim of doubling is reasonable.

    The Ou estimated PPIs seem to make weird assumptions about font size.

  • tom said:

    Well, steve jobs is the master of misdirection and we are just lining up to be the gullible idiots. Where else can an antenna actually becomes a phone feature? And don’t forget that apple invented video call over wifi! Maybe steve jobs should form a club with al gore, after all he did invent the internet.

  • Nobody said:

    Wow, math fail much people?

    It doesn’t matter whether you are considering 1D or 2D pixels. What he shows is that a display at the resolution of the iPhone 4 will NOT give the advertised improvement.

    Thinking about it as a 2D problem is just relabeling everything… Apple’s claimed improvement requires a 16x increase in pixels per square inch (but it only delivers a 4x increase).

    Think before you criticize, unless you’re okay sounding like an idiot.

    Also, quoting Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_density):
    It has been observed that the unaided human eye can generally not differentiate detail beyond 300 PPI; however, this figure depends both on the distance between viewer and image, and viewer’s visual acuity.

    Apparently there was a smart phone with 316 PPI from Toshiba (so iPhone 4 wins by a few pixels). Also as a reference, the Nexus One comes in at 252 PPI (with a slightly larger screen and slightly lower resolution). The new iPhone is good but probably overblown.

  • Andrew said:

    RE: the update.

    PPI is a linear measurement of a two dimensional concept. If you take a one inch by one inch slice of a 300 PPI image, it will be 300 x 300 pixels, or 90,000 pixels. This is true precisely because it’s a linear measurement. Text and images, as we know, are 2D not 1D.

    The increase in PPI, as has been stated, is over 4x.

  • Anonymous said:

    [...] Digital Society non ha voluto credere ai testi arrotondati e renderizzati perfettamente, in base alla nuova risoluzione di 640 x 960 pixel. Ciò che è apparso alle spalle di Jobs durante il discorso inaugurale del WWDC era una “a” con tante curve per mostrare praticamente l’assenza di frastagliatura. [...]

  • George Ou (author) said:

    @nobody

    Good point. I also showed how having 326 PPI is not advantages beyond 13 inches. http://www.digitalsociety.org/2010/06/do-you-really-need-300-ppi-on-a-3-5-inch-phone/

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  • jb said:

    Hey Guys

    Whatever you will talk about. It will leed in other companys to follow with a high-resolution-smartphone.

    seriously, i prefer this way.

  • WHT said:

    Ha ha ha !!! He waited for some allies that still don’t get it… Wow !!! This is crazy… Do some math !!!

  • Nice said:

    @George Ou, Did you understood the math of nobody ? It still differs from your calculation… Bad math !!!

  • Digital said:

    What is this ? Did he just made a diagram out of a jpeg from a compressed video of a projected image of the screen ? Can’t you just wait until you hold the unit and review it yourself. If there is something misleading, it’s this article. C’mon man, use some brain. This is the reason why journalism is dying.

  • George Ou (author) said:

    @Andrew

    No Andrew, it is not supposed to be a 4x increase in PPI. This is why the old iPhone is listed at 163 PPI and the iPhone 4 is listed at 326.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_displays_by_pixel_density

    Apple’s advertisements show somewhere between 489 to 815 PPI.

  • su2lly said:

    Everyone can post as many numbers and figures as they want. The bottom line is that I have no doubt that Apple is not telling the truth. The overwhelming majority of those in the tech community will question nothing this company states so why not fudge the numbers. I’m sure Mr. Jobs will be asked about this and he will give an answer. But lets all remember that when talking to Steve there is no such thing as a follow up question so be prepared to be shamed for asking it in the first place.

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  • jonny said:

    @Paul: George did not make any assumptions about font size, he is assuming that the low resolution portions of Apple’s sample images are equivalent to the PPI of the 3gs.

    Anyone who thinks that doubling the amount of pixels in each dimension results in 4x PPI is sorely misinformed. Even Apple only states a 2x difference in PPI:
    http://www.apple.com/iphone/compare-iphones/

    The article states that Apple is exaggerating the improvement of their new display, and George clearly backs up his reasoning with examples from Apple that cannot be disputed. Unfortunately, embellishment in advertising is normal and even necessary to get customers’ attention.

    It is worth mentioning that Apple’s side by side comparison tool on this page DOES accuratly reflect the 2x improvement in PPI.
    http://www.apple.com/iphone/features/retina-display.html

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  • Andrew said:

    @George

    If you go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel_density (or any article on ppi, really), it will explain why 326 ppi is a 4x increase over 163. Apple’s advertisement shows 326.

    This whole article is simply a misunderstanding of how ppi works. It is even explained (visually!) in the keynote.

  • George Ou (author) said:

    @andrew

    Read that Wikipedia article again. It lists the old iPhone at 163 PPI which is 1/2 the PPI of an iPhone 4. 326 PPI is 4x the pixes per square inch, but PPI is a one dimensional measurement. If they intended PPI to be a measure of the number of pixels per square inch, they would have called it PPSI and the iPhone 4 would have 106,276 PPSI.

  • Andrew said:

    As I stated before, yes PPI is a one dimensional measurement. When you’re looking at a two-dimensional image, you have to take both the horizontal and vertical measurements. 326 PPI = 326 x 326. Which is over 4x the PPI of 163. PPSI as a term referring to pixels, doesn’t even really exist (or at least is never used). Why? Because PPI gives you that measurement when you’re referring to a 2D image.

    I don’t need to read the wikipedia article again. I didn’t need to read it in the first place, because it’s something that every graphic designer already knows (or should know). You’re disputing basic, commonly known facts. There is nothing regarding PPI in Apple’s keynote or on their site that’s inaccurate. I can see why you’re confused, though, as you have no background in design.

  • George Ou (author) said:

    @Andrew,

    You keep harping on the 4x figure and conflating it with the 4x PPI number. Let me put this to you as simple as possible. Apple is faking 489 to 815 PPI in their advertising which is showing 8 to 16 times the pixels when they should only be showing 4 times the pixels.

  • Andy Bates said:

    George, this is very simple to explain:

    You keep saying that Apple is claiming that the new iPhone has 4x the “PPI pixel density.” You are combining two terms: PPI, which is the linear measurement of pixels per inch; and pixel density, which is the actual count of pixels within a certain area.

    The new iPhone has 2x the PPI (linearly), which means that it has 4x the pixel density (by area). Really, the math is simple.

    And the reason that Apple used that high-res shot of a character (which is more than 4x the pixel density, natch) is the demonstrate the fact that, past 300 dpi for normal viewing distances, the pixels are effectively invisible and are indistinguishable from a higher-resolution screen…a point which you made in your post, “Do you really need 300 PPI on a 3.5 inch phone?” They were not trying to demonstrate the actual pixel count; they were trying to demonstrate the perceptual difference. And it’s a difference that you demonstrated in your article.

    I hope that helps.

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  • Wai Yip Tung said:

    False advertising!!! Good job George for exposing them. I’m planning to buy the new iPhone anyway. But I think Apple should come clean and stop misleading customers like this.

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    [...] has overstated their claims to the improvement of clarity of text in the new iPhone – see http://www.digitalsociety.org/2010/06/apple-using-fake-489-to-815-ppi-on-iphone-4-ads/ for those details – but there is agreement that it is better than [...]

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  • neostun said:

    it’s only double resolution…
    iphone3g iphone4
    480 x2=960
    320 x2=640
    if it were 4x resolution may be…
    480×4=1920
    320×4=1280
    increase an image to 400% from 480×320 and you get 1920×1280, not 960×480

  • Michael Baumli said:

    @George

    If I remember right, I thought the first ad that you posted earlier only said that they had 4 times the pixels. I could be wrong, but I thought I remembered that pretty vividly.

  • George Ou (author) said:

    @Michael Baumli

    No, what I said all along was that Apple claimed 4 times the PPI. I later added in the update that this corresponded to 16x the pixels when in fact there were only 4x the pixels and 2x the PPI.

  • Michael Baumli said:

    @George Ou

    I personally think this is a advertising faux pas in the use of PPI. They should have stated PPSI or Pixels per square inch. That was my understanding from the beginning.

    However, you are right, PPI by itself would be linear and would not denote area. When I viewed the advertisement with the grid, I noticed that 4 times applied to area and not a linear measurement. I can see where customers feel deceived on the omission that PPI that they specify is referencing Area.

  • Michael Baumli said:

    @George Ou

    I do see where the slide that you present is also deceiving as well. So I would like to take back my previous claim.

  • Anonymous said:

    [...] [...]

  • Apple Accused Of Fudging Numbers On Retina Display | iPhoneBizBlog said:

    [...] George Ou at Digital Society is saying that Apple may have massaged some numbers in demonstrating the effectiveness of the iPhone 4’s new Retina Display. [...]

  • Bill said:

    It isn’t the first time that Apple has stretched the truth about their video displays. For months Apple’s web site advertised MacBooks as displaying, “millions of colors,” until customers started to complain. Turns out the MacBook display is 18 bits per pixel and gets, “millions,” by dithering, and that dithering looks pretty bad.

    The iphone linear density is 326 ppi, indeed about twice the former linear density. If one considers dithering, then the effective resolution can look better when spatially integrated, viewed at a distance. The algorithm used to implement the dithering can greatly affect the subjective quality of the resulting image and any one dithering algorithm is not appropriate for all types of images. For instance, in OS X, cleartype is by default intentionally disabled on small type faces because small characters are degraded by cleartype’s dithering.

    The new iphone is a nice package and in many ways a pretty good compromise of available technology at a more or less affordable price. Major short comings are still the same: the battery can not be user-serviced (or if you want to keep a spare charged battery on hand…, well you can’t). Also, the deal breaker where I live is the horrible quality of AT&T’s network. My fried has an iPhone, and most of the time it is in 1x mode, while I have an Android based phone on VZW, almost always in 3G mode.

  • Mike n said:

    Comparing a graphical component of a presentation with a technical specification (the claim of 326 pixels per inch) is absurd. In case you are wondering, Energizer batteries do not actually shoot lightning out of their ends, the orbitz guy doesn’t actually deliver your check in a hovercraft, and axe body spray will not turn women into feral sex-craving maniacs.

    The reason why you’re not complaining about the “claims” these other products make, is because it happens all the time. You’re singling out apple because of your personal feelings toward the company.

  • Nick R Brown said:

    @mike n, Nope. Try reading the rest of the comments. It’s been stated repeatedly that Jobs said the presentation projectors used gave a 1:1 resolution of the actual device. And both me and George are considering getting the phone, so wrong there again. Have a great day!

  • rkusa said:

    This comparison should be made more professionally before calling claims false. The comparison images to make the point are misleading themselves. The images from Apple in Figures 2 and 3 are screenshots from a thumbnail for the video presentation on Apple’s site; that image is not intended as a display of actual resolution. Click the link above Figure 2 and check it. The actual image used for comparison in the video is much, much larger and the image is much smoother. You can tell the figure is using the thumbnail by the large play button in the center. The actual large comparison image used by Apple has no such play button overlay.

    In Figure 3, where the author has labeled the top image “Actual comparison” isn’t an actual comparison at all. It is still using the thumbnail image as Apple’s example to compare to his image, which is larger than the Apple thumbnail image he’s still using for comparison. That in itself makes the comparison incorrect since the images are being displayed on monitors of varying resolutions–there is no “actual comparison.”

    An important nitpick: Jobs didn’t say they have 4 times the resolution or density. He separated it. His statement:

    “…dramatically increasing the pixel density–four times the amount of pixels.”

    He doesn’t actually say the pixel density or PPI is 4 times. He later says “four times as many pixels.”

    It’s good to question advertising claims, but if you’re going to do it, do it responsibly and accurately. This article does neither.

  • Peter said:

    That ‘photo argument’ is the weakest i’ve ever seen…
    THe pixels that this joker is referencing are those of the camera (ie: the *photo* of the *photo* of the presentation)!!

    What’s more, that particular part of the presentation did not say these were shots of the iPhone, rather, they were examples used to illustrate the point.

    This argument is infinitely ridiculous:
    1 – S.J. does not say or imply in any way that this is a screenshot.. Just an illustration on the ONLY projector they could find to display similar-looking results on a gigantic screen (of course the pixel density is different–duh!!)
    2 – the author is looking at a photo (with a certain pixel density of its own), of a projector’s screen (of yet a different pixel density that was, again, meant to give a sense of the difference between iPhone4 and 3GS).

    Having an argument rely on pixel count is just ridiculous, if not embarrassing for the author..

  • Jens J said:

    Mike N has it right… this is a ridiculous claim!

    The simulated images of the letter “a” from the presentation were just that, simulated! The high resolution letter “a” was likely presented in vector format in the Keynote presentation, so the resolution we see here is limited by either the presentation projector or the video’s resolution.

  • Apple villeder om Retina-skjerm | MacJournalen said:

    [...] Digital Society har analysert både presentasjonen og en reklameplakat i etterkant, og de mener å bevise at skjemen til iPhone 4 på disse bildene har en oppløsning på henholdsvis 815 ppi og 489 ppi. [...]

  • BITLOG infotech hírek » Most akkor retina vagy nem retina az a display? said:

    [...] kinagyították a keynote-os és az azóta közzétett képeket, és ez alapján próbálták belőni, mekkora az [...]

  • iPhone 4. Knowing it. Getting one. « * ~ r@lLi4rt12′s r3PosiT0ry ~ * said:

    [...] Digital Society‘s article on why Apple’s ad is mis-portraying the Retina Display attribu… [...]

  • George Ou (author) said:

    These are not pictures of pictures you’re looking at in the post. These are direct file saves and presented to you in uncompressed format so what you’re looking at is about as pure and accurate as it gets. It in fact is the original photograph.

    The second two images are directly saved from Apple’s website.

  • Mr Bob said:

    A little point about pixel per inch and pixel per square inch : A pixel is, by definition, a square… So calculate pixels per inch is proportionally the same thing that calculate pixels per inch square… (sorry for my english… )

  • Digital Society » Blog Archive » Apple blames signal display software said:

    [...] does have the best smartphone display based on Anandtech’s field tests (even if it’s grossly exaggerated) and the new phone really does have much better radio sensitivity and low-signal performance than [...]

  • Jordan said:

    The Retina Display video first accurately portrays the new pixel size using grids, then it immediately exaggerates it, presumably to get the point across.

    I’m looking forward to an iPad with pixels that small. That’s like squeezing the enormous 30″ Cinema Display down to handheld size!

  • Recent Technology News Blog, Washington DC Tech, DC Technology said:

    Apple overinflated the PPI improvement on iPhone 4…

    George Ou has some great analysis on why Jobs’ presentation on the iPhone 4 overinflated the display’s PPI improvement. Check out his analysis here…….

  • Digital Society » Blog Archive » Research: Digital Society’s Top 10 Posts of 2010 said:

    [...] 1) Apple Faking 489 to 815 PPI on iPhone 4 Ads [...]

  • nobody said:

    first off the evo 4g is a good phone im defitnetly not gonna lie, but iphone 4 is better in everyway

    -Sharper looking screen with the lcd and glass fused together so it looks like a painting

    -Better camera and recording, even though the evo has a 8 mp camera, its pictures look washed out and video recording is alot better on the iphone, the mic picks up sounds way better and clearer

    -App store is way better then the android market

    -Although i like androids widgets and its customizeability, iOS just feels better on a phone, it actually feels like a phone operating system and not android where it feels more like a computer with its complex navigation, although its not hard to really get around either because im good with technology

    -Iphone battery is defitnetly better then the evo, my cousin has the evo and his battery is always dying.

    just my 2 cents

  • Random Guy said:

    I think that in the first picture, you were looking at the pixelization of the picture, not of the letter. Meaning, those were the pixels of the camera that took the picture, which kind of makes it invalid. I’m no expert though…