iPhone HD: 960×640 Confirmed?

960×640: According to SuperPhone.cz the next-generation iPhone, which I will refer to as simply iPhone HD (read iPhone HD), will sport a pixel format of 960×640. The site obtained the iPhone HD display and took a look under a microscope and counted the number of RGB sub-pixels. The result? Twice the density horizontally and vertically compared to the current iPhone 3GS that has a 480×320 pixel format and a resolution of 164.83 PPI (Apple reports the resolution as 163 PPI, which is interesting. Maybe the LCD size is slightly larger than 3.5 inches. At around 3.539 inches the resolution would be 163.01 PPI, perfectly matched to what Apple states.)

Same Size: The exact size of the display in the iPhone HD is unknown but there has been rumors suggesting it is slightly smaller than the current 3.5-inch TFT LCD. But assuming the size is the same as the iPhone HD’s at 3.539 inches, resolution would be 326.02 PPI, which would be more dense than any other smartphone currently on the market and would be on the market when the iPhone HD comes out. Fantastic especially for reading text.

Elegant Solution: The quadrupling of pixels overall or doubling of pixels on each axis would elegantly solve the problem of pre-iPhone HD apps running on a display with a different pixel format. A single pixel on pre-iPhone HD phones would now be displayed with four. Since the resolution is doubled (from 163 to 326 PPI) the overall effect on the eye would be the same. In other words current iPhone apps would look exactly the same on the iPhone HD and you wouldn’t experience any blurring.

Concerns: There are two concerns, maybe three. First, 960×640 is awfully close to 1024×768, which is the iPad’s pixel format. Sure the iPad is much larger (3.5 inches versus 9.7 inches) but with a pixel format so close I will bet the iPhone HD will take a considerable amount of sales away from the iPad. I would rather have one device, the iPhone HD, that does everything well including displaying ebooks, magazines, etc. the type of stuff the iPad does so well right now. Plus you get all the other goodies such as front-facing camera (as well as the much higher-resolution one on the back), video recording, etc.

The second concern is related to the first. When building apps for the iPhone HD and the iPad now you have two pixel format choices of 960×640 and 1024×768. They are close but different enough that developers will need to build two versions of their apps. This isn’t any different from the current situation but it isn’t any better either and it might be a tad worse frustratingly so since the two pixel formats are so close. I wonder if you can run iPad apps on the iPhone HD because I don’t think people would want to be forced to re-purchase the apps they already have on the iPad to run on the iPhone HD. I have a stinkin’ feeling that you’ll need to.

Resolution Independence: This last concern is less of a concern and more of a hope. Maybe it is possible that Apple will evolve its OS X operating system, which the iPhone OS is based on, toward resolution independence (read Resolution Independence) and then all of the problems of having different pixel formats can be solved. But I am not sure Apple is quite yet ready for that given the company is trying to provide an elegant hardware-level solution (exactly quadrupling pixels/doubling resolution) to a problem associated with the higher-resolution display on the iPhone HD.

Not Perfect, But Fantastic: 960×640 will look absolutely fantastic but we are still a long ways off from what we normally experience reading magazines, which are printed from 1200-DPI plates (and higher), a bit less than four times the density of the iPhone HD’s 326 PPI. Still the visual experience from the iPhone HD should be absolutely fantastic and better than anything that’s out there. Source: MacRumors Thanks Paul S.!

LG Display 84-inch 3840×2160 3DTV

LG Display is showcasing its 84-inch 3DTV with a pixel format of 3840×2160 also called UHD for Ultra High Definition at SID 2010. UHD has four times the number of pixels compared to 1920×1080 and the additional pixels are quite necessary. When going from 2D to 3D you effectively lose about half of the display’s resolution capability. So 3D on an UHD display will get you more detail resolution than 2D on 1920×1080. I wonder when we’ll get to see something like this at stores at decent prices.

Google Pac-Man

Google PacMan is just as fun to play as the original but be careful of the G and the e. The sound uses Flash; animation and controls via JavaScript. Oh, and there’s an Easter egg to unlock Ms. Pac-Man. According to The Rescue Time Blog the world smiled, reminisced and had fun for 4.82 million hours playing this timeless game, though slightly modified, on launch day, Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary. via Daring Fireball

iPhone Sales in Korea at 4K Per Day, Less Than Android

According to The Chosen Ilbo, iPhone sales in South Korea reached a cumulative 700K last weekend according to Korea Telecom, the exclusive carrier. KT has sold an average of 4K units per day since the iPhone has been launched last year in late November. That makes it about six months for a 350-360K per quarter run rate, an impressive number given the entire smartphone market in South Korea is about 400-500K per quarter. Interestingly there are very few smartphones in South Korea.

LGE sells just a single model on its 019 telecom service (which is the carrier I have), at least at the local LGE megastore. Samsung seems to be focused on its OMNIA smartphone brand (at least at local stores), which I don’t think will go anywhere since it is based on WinMo 6.5. There are few others with Motorola’s Android-based MOTOROI being advertised heavily, especially in high foot traffic areas such as the COEX Mall.

The iPhone is doing well but overall Android smartphones have just started to outsell the iPhone in South Korea. In the first week of May there were a total of 28,900 Android-based smartphones sold. In the same timeframe 25,700 iPhones were sold. The Android smartphones include: Samsung Galaxy A (20,000), Pantech Sirius (5,600), and LG Andro-1 (3,300). Hopefully South Korea will get the new iPhone as soon as it is announced some time in June.

The Galaxy A (SHW-M100S) from Samsung is the first Android-based smartphone in South Korea sporting a 3.7-inch 800×480 AMOLED, 5MP camera, 720p video recording, WiFi N, GPS, powered by a 800MHz CPU and has the requisite T-DMB (Terrestrial Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) tuner for watching TV on-the-go. The Galaxy A was just launched in March and is available on SK Telecom.

An updated Galaxy S (GT-I9000 in the US) that sports Samsung Mobile Display’s slightly larger 4.0-inch Super AMOLED with a faster 1GHz CPU has been officially announced with a worldwide availability soon. The Super AMOLED has less surface reflection than the previous non-Super versions and an improved touch response. The company’s mDNIe (mobile Digital Natural Image engine), the mobile version of the image engine used in Samsung’s TVs, has been integrated into the Galaxy S. Hopefully the engine wont blow out colors.

Google TV

I’m sitting in our old room. My brother and I shared this room when we were young. Next to me is a myLGtv box. The Internet connection in this house has a bandwidth of 100mbps, which is quite common in Korea. For that fat of a pipe in the US it would cost a serious amount, probably more than $100 per month, if it is available at all. In Korea, thanks to intense competition, the monthly bill is just around $20.

The little black myLGtv box has a lot of interesting services. One of them is called myPC and it accesses shared videos, images and music off of a PC. You can also insert a USB stick on the back of the myLGtv box to do the same thing. You can play games such as Go, sing songs (karaoke), learn English, purchase movies via VOD, etc. Terrestrial channels, including a lot of HD versions, total about 100. The only feature lacking is Internet-based video integration; US-based examples would be YouTube and Hulu. Oh, there is one more feature missing: DVR. So here in Korea there is already something similar to Google TV with the exception of Internet-based video integration. But an Internet-integrated TV-watching experience is what Google TV is all about, right?

I might be naive in thinking this, but don’t we already have a perfect device that does a lot of these things already? By using a full-blown computer with a TV tuner attached to it we can watch pretty much anything we want: Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, all the channels the TV tuner brings in, DVD, Blu-ray, etc. With a proper NAS there is access to not only the movie archives but also the hundreds of thousands of photographs as well as terabytes of music. Even the enormous hard drives inside the computer will make it simple to store hundreds of shows via DVR. Why are we in such a hurry to find other solutions when we already have one? Engadget got all the folks together for their opinions on Google TV and is worth a read.

White iPhone HD

MacRumors: Or white iPhone 4G. A user Seraphan from an Italian site iSpazio created a beautiful rendering of what a white iPhone HD might look like. I certainly hope the real iPhone HD looks like this rendering. As I have mentioned in previous posts I really dislike the cover glass that is used on iPhones (and iPad, MacBook/Pro, iPod touch) mostly because dust gets trapped between the cover glass and the LCD and there is nothing you can do about it (read Gorilla Makes Us Lazy). Maybe I can also hope for a fingerprint-resistant matte LCD. This render is beautiful.

Update 2010.05.23 17:33 PDT: via fonearena. Chinese site Apple.pro has a shot of what it claims is the next-generation iPhone in white. I’m not absolutely sure but it looks like the cover glass is there. But I’m digging the white.

iPhone HD Display Details

Digitimes is reporting a lot of juicy details about the display in the next generation iPhone, which I’ll dub iPhone HD. Foxconn is preparing to ship 24 million iPhone HDs in 2010. Digitimes reports that the iPhone HD will have a pixel format of 960×640, quadruple the number of pixels compared to the current 480×320.

It would be incredible to see such as small LCD sport this number of pixels, but I doubt it will be. There are many reasons (read iPhone HD) but one reason I want to point out is that it would be uncomfortably close to the pixel format of the iPad: 1024×768. If you could get that much real estate on the relatively diminutive  iPhone I think it would jeopardize the sales of the iPad. Just a thought. I personally think it will be around 600×400 for a 200PPI display. There is also a good chance that I’m wrong.

The next generation iPad could improve the resolution significantly. Right now the pixel format is 1024×768 on a 9.7-inch display for a resolution of just 131.96PPI. That sounds quite low, doesn’t it? Well, what if Apple decides that the iPad needs a bit more pixels since the new iPhone HD has 960×640 (if that turns out to be true)? How does 1600×1200 sound for a 206.19PPI? Now that would be great, but still quite a bit less than the iPhone HD’s roughly 330PPI (I hear the display on the prototype iPhone HD looks a little smaller than the 3GS’ 3.5-inch). Extremely high resolution (>200 PPI) could be possible as Apple moves its OS X quickly toward resolution independence (read Resolution Independence) as it sees the technology as a differentiator especially in mobile devices such as the iPhone/iPod touch, iPad and MacBook/Pro.

There’s more from Digitimes: the iPhone HD’s display technology will incorporate FFS for fringe-field switching, a technology pioneered by Hydis. Hydis, a Hyundai offshoot, was purchased by BOE and renamed BOE-Hydis. After some tumultuous years it was then bought by Prime View International and has reverted its name back to Hydis. Early this year PVI, Hydis and LG Display (LGD) announced a comprehensive cooperation including a corss-license agreement encompassing Hydis’ FFS technology. LGD invested US$30.5 million in Hydis. I think the fruits of that cooperation will be seen in the iPhone HD. I’m also assuming that LGD will be a supplier to the iPhone HD. One of FFS’ many advantages include fairly decent viewing in sunlight thanks to low surface reflection technology leading to a contrast ratio that is greater than 100:1. Most TN or transflective designs are limited to about 100:1 CR outside. Indoors the CR on FFS displays improve to over 500:1 when TN and transflective designs hover around 150:1. As stated in DisplayBlog’s collaboration with DisplayMate when we tested the Nexus One, Droid and iPhone displays (read Display Showdown: Nexus One vs. iPhone 3GS, Motorola Droid vs .Google Nexus One) surface reflection is one of the most important specifications of a display: low surface reflection means the display is better. Another FFS advantage is almost no color shift at viewing angles, similar to IPS. Better light transmittance requiring less battery power for the same level of brightness. FFS light transmittance actually improves as the resolution (PPI) increases, which is the opposite of traditional LCDs. By 200PPI FFS light transmittance is 40% better than TN with 30% less power consumption. That 200PPI is important since that’s what I think Apple is targeting. Imagine the iPhone HD that is 40% brighter than anything out there and consuming 30% less power (source: Hydis). Digitimes states that HTC’s Hero already uses FFS but I haven’t heard many reports touting the display’s awesomeness. I think LGD (and PVI) will do something quite special incorporating FFS into its IPS technology.

The last thing Digitimes reports is the display is 33% thinner. And that means more room inside. With iPhone OS 4.0 the iPhone HD will consume a bit more power due to multitasking so I’m sure Apple will want to ensure battery life isn’t compromised. Like we saw in some iPhone HD teardowns (read iPhone HD: Pictures, Next Generation iPhone Teardown) the battery is quite large. I’m guessing the iPhone HD will have a improved battery life than the 3GS.

ASUS Bamboo Collection

Bit-Tech: The Bamboo Collection notebook PC series from ASUS wants to excite the green in us. Bamboo is lighter than metals such as aluminum and is warmer to the touch. Even after a lot of use the bamboo should look just as new. With bamboo panels that are thicker than previous versions the U-series notebooks just might be the green notebook we’ve been waiting for. Unfortunately underneath the bamboo panels are run-of-the-mill plastics protecting energy-hungry Core i5 CPUs, NVIDIA’s GeForce 310M with 1GB and NVIDIA’s Optimus technology that automatically switches GPU power. Battery life is estimated at 11 hours. The Bamboo Collection will go for NT$40,000 (about US$1,300) in Taiwan. The U-series will come in three sizes: 13- (U33Jc), 14- (U43Jc), and 15.6-inch (U53Jc).

I am fairly certain that an entire notebook PC chassis can be made of bamboo composites that offer enough reliability and durability comparable to regular plastics. I can imagine the keys on the keyboard made of bamboo composites too. With a name like Bamboo Collection do you really need all that power of an i5-450M? May I suggest something a bit greener with an i3 or a Celeron. ASUS claims 100% recyclability, but I don’t think it is, thanks to the plastics, the LCD, the battery, etc. The LCD is probably LED backlit but I would have recommended Pixel Qi’s 3qi display technology (read Pixel Qi 3qi Display: Full Color and ePaper in One) to maximize power savings/minimize power consumption. The 500GB hard drive is also disappointing as a SSD would have been a greener alternative.

There is a big difference between furniture made of solid wood and of wood veneer: one is desired, the other is purchased for the low price. The Bamboo Collection from ASUS is bamboo only in name, except for the little portion of the notebook, and is far from green as non-recyclable plastics can be. And it isn’t even low-priced. I am certain there is a place for greener notebooks using not only greener technology but actual green materials like bamboo but the Bamboo Collection by ASUS is far from green in so many ways.

Google Will Force AT&T to Offer iPhone Tethering

Android 2.2 will have native tethering built into the OS. I’m very glad to see this and I hope it really does happen. Google is expected to unveil Android 2.2 during its Google I/O conference that starts May 19th. Wireless carriers charge up to US$30 per month on top of a data plan (another $30 per month) for the privilege of tethering; this needs to stop. And I think Google will be the company that will finally cut that profit extortion line. Equally important, I think Google will force AT&T to offer iPhone tethering.

Verizon, Sprint, etc. all charge this exorbitant amount for tethering. AT&T does too, but it is the only company in the world that sells iPhones but does not offer iPhone tethering. The carrier with an iPhone exclusive until 2012 (?) has given promises of tethering and broken them. AT&T also has an excuse stating that they want to be ready before offering iPhone users the ability to tether. This excuse might be true since horrible voice and 3G connectivity issues in certain locations such as Manhattan and San Francisco has marred AT&T and indirectly Apple and its iPhone. I don’t think AT&T or Apple wants that to happen again, but I think AT&T has had enough time to get ready. Ready or not Apple will come knocking (probably has already) and demand AT&T offer tethering when the next generation iPhone is introduced next month. If AT&T is not ready or does not respond positively I think Apple will be royally pissed.

I understand that Apple wants its products and services to be as ready as can be before offering them to its customers. So Apple and AT&T both have an incentive to ensure a smooth and fast data connection when tethered, but with Android 2.2 not too far off I don’t think Apple (and AT&T) has much of a choice when it comes to tethering: AT&T needs to offer it now, ready or not. And tethering will probably need to be free or very close to it with no data cap. I don’t think Apple wants to compete against Google handicapped in what it considers the most important smartphone market. If AT&T becomes a liability to Apple in its bid to continue growing in the US smartphone market I don’t think it is out of the question to see Apple axe AT&T’s iPhone exclusivity.

There are ways to tether without AT&T or Apple’s blessings but for the average user it has been a tiresome waiting game. I have jailbroken my iPhone and had fun tethering it to my MacBook a few times but I had the eery feeling that AT&T was watching and that I would see an encyclopedia-sized bill show up at the door. So I reset my iPhone into an un-jailbroken state and gave up on tethering. But hope of iPhone tethering has been rekindled thanks to Google. With Android 2.2 just around the corner that offers native tethering it will be Google that will (indirectly) force AT&T’s hand. I hope.