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.