In 2010, Steve Jobs introduced a brand-brand-new leap forward in display resolution for iPhone 4 that passed up the rest of the industry to deliver pixels virtually invisible to the human eye. For iPhone 7, Apple appears to be making a similar leap in the realm of "Retina Color."
Apple's brand-brand-new job on Wide Color results in lush, vibrant greens and vivid reds that today's basic screens can't even reproduce. After seeing Wide Color at work—it's currently available on brand-brand-new iMacs and the newest 9.7 inch iPad Pro—regular displays look flat and lifeless in comparison, much the same means that iPhone 4's debut of the Retina Display made a brand-brand-new "no going back" milestone in users' expectations for modern mobile electronics.
The image above, made by Apple's WebKit team, appears to be merely an orange square on standard RGB displays. However, from a device capable of supporting the DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut, you can easily easily see a logo. The prior to and after display of Wide Color images is a lot more impressive once viewing vibrant landscape images.
This year, it appears Apple is set to again adjustment expectations in the realm of the colors that users see—and can easily easily capture—every day on their iPhones, despite fairly little being talked regarding color accuracy and reproduction among mobile device vendors outside of Apple.
It is, however, an emerging focus among HDTV vendors, that see Wide Color as an necessary component of High Dynamic Range TVs. Wide Color not merely a hardware issue; it connects to production, distribution and capture.
In the realm of TV, Wide Color is an industry effort. On mobile devices, it will certainly definitely require integration between software developers and hardware makers. The honest truth that Apple has actually actually already introduced Macs and iPads supporting Wide Color underlines its unique ability to deliver brand-brand-new technology in means that matter, something that broadly licensed platforms—particularly value engineered platforms like Google's Android—have actually actually struggled with.
This all happened before
Prior to Jobs' launch of iPhone 4, a variety of Android phones—such as the Motorola Atrix—were already being hyped for introducing greater resolution screens: the Atrix boasted 960x540 pixels versus the original iPhone's 480x320.
There was some fudging involved to achieve that greater resolution: the Atrix and others 2010-era Androids commonly used PenTile AMOLED, a cheaper display technology that claimed a greater pixel resolution despite actually supplying a third much much less sub pixels (by arranging a lot more greens and fewer reds and blues). As a result, reviews described Motorola's Atrix as having "inaccurate colors and poor viewing angles, not to mention practically unreadable text at its furthest zoom."
Additionally, rather compared to using the extra resolution to enhance the quality of the display, Android makers merely followed merely exactly what PC makers had been doing along along with extra pixels: stretching out the 'desktop' to expand across a larger display, or scaling down the UI to fit a lot more content on the same screen.
On PCs, greater resolution displays had typically been tied to the advancement of incrementally larger PC monitors. On mobile devices however, adding a lot more pixels tied to a larger screen were resulting in bigger phones—along along with obvious disadvantages. Further, greater resolutions were additionally making tap targets smaller sized sized and scaling down text to the point where it became a lot more difficult to read.
Apple's iPhone 4 Retina Display harnessed technical progress in a brand-brand-new direction
Apple's iPhone 4 Retina Display harnessed technical progress in a brand-brand-new direction: it kept the user interface at the same scale and increased the pixel count four-fold, resulting in fairly crisp text and precise detail of every little thing on the screen, rendering pixels virtually invisible.
In hindsight, Apple's strategy for resolution leap was obvious. However, it wasn't immediately copied. Samsung's original Galaxy Note "fablet" debuted a year after iPhone 4, But rather compared to similarly introducing a greater quality, retina-like display, it continued to use a subpixel-fudging, cost-effective PenTile screen on a larger device, hoping users would certainly definitely be impressed along along with pixel numbers rather compared to caring regarding Exactly how pixels or color on the screen actually looked.
As Rasmus Larsen noted at the time for FlatPanelsHD, "a PenTile OLED panel was recently introduced along along with the Samsung Galaxy Note, and we were not impressed. In genuine globe PenTile means loss of details and sharpness, as well as a bluish/greenish tint about letters (depending on the background color)."
The site additionally called out Google's Samsung-built Galaxy Nexus, noting that "the HD Super AMOLED display in the brand-brand-new Galaxy Nexus is not as awesome as it sounds—unfortunately. And the reason that people do not call it a Retina Display need to seem a lot more obvious to you now that you know the underlying technical architecture."
In the years since, Apple brought its Retina Display to iPad and to its Mac lineup. TV makers have actually actually similarly advanced HDTV sets to support "4K," making their displays four fold sharper in pixels rather compared to merely larger. And of course, the smartphone industry now generally follows Apple in making sharper, not merely larger, displays as well.
Wide Color: the brand-brand-new Retina Display of gamut
Once iPhone pixel density achieved Retina Display status, Apple didn't adjustment it again until it introduced larger screen sizes. As Android vendors have actually actually learned the hard way, arbitrarily squeezing in "a lot more pixels" merely for bragging rights results in a brand-brand-new problem: a huge increase in display processing tasks that slows every little thing down.
While iPhone 4's Retina Display involved much much less compared to a half million pixels, today's largest iPhone 6/6s Plus has actually actually to wrangle over 2 million pixels. greater end Androids—such as Samsung's Galaxy line—group in nearly 3.7 million pixels in to a similar screen size, But have actually actually historically opted to use a much much less powerful Application Processor, resulting in poor performance.
fairly compared to following Samsung in an underpowered, overspecced resolution numbers race, Apple has actually actually been working to improve future displays in means that will certainly definitely actually matter to its users. One primary result is Wide Color, a brand-brand-new initiative to expand the color gamut of the display to cover a lot more of visible color spectrum captured by digital cameras.
That not only calls for brand-brand-new display hardware, But additionally calls for sophisticated color management software. Apple quite very first delivered Wide Color support in the 5K iMac. This year, it expanded support to the brand-brand-new 9.7 inch iPad Pro.
Apple's brand-brand-new support for the DCI-P3 Wide Color Gamut results in an expanded ability to reproduce a lot more accurate color compared to the existing "Standard RGB" can. The prevailing sRGB can't reproduce the most vibrant, vivid colors we can easily easily see. Interestingly, several cameras capture RAW color data that merely doesn't prove to up on today's sRGB displays.
The job Apple has actually actually done to support Wide Color in both hardware and software on its 5K iMac is really an expansion of its ColorSync color management software that already existed on Macs.
However, bringing Wide Color to iPad Pro involved creating brand-brand-new software support for advanced color management in iOS, along along with backward compatibility to permit the existing library of App Store titles to go on to work, and brand-brand-new frameworks for developers to adopt to job along along with brand-brand-new 16-bit per color, Wide Color images.
The result of Apple's job on Wide Color on iPad Pro was hailed by Ray Soneira of DisplayMate spine in March. He described it as offering the highest absolute color accuracy, the lowest screen reflectance for any mobile display, the highest peak brightness for any full-size tablet for any picture level, the highest contrast rating in ambient light and the smallest color variation along along with viewing angle.
Soneira was impressed enough to predict that Apple could implement the same Wide Color gamut and anti-reflection coating of iPad Pro on iPhone 7, noting that this would certainly definitely improve its screen performance and readability in bright ambient light.
iPhone 7 display: True Tone & Wide Color
Apple rather obviously didn't complete all its job on Wide Color merely for one brand-brand-new model of iPad. Bringing support for Wide Color to iOS involved changes to UIKit, Core Animation, Core Graphics, Core Image, ImageIO, SceneKit, SpriteKit and WebKit—a major undertaking spanning much of the company's software groups.
Provided the attention Apple devoted to Wide Color at WWDC, it appears fairly clear that Apple will certainly definitely additionally bring Wide Color, and most most likely a True Tone display (like the brand-brand-new iPad Pro, below), to iPhone 7, resulting in a lot more vibrant and accurate color display—in apps, on the web, and even for users' existing photos—that buyers will certainly definitely consider a substantial advance and a reason for upgrading.
Both True Tone and Wide Color require extensive hardware and software integration to work. Like support for Retina Display, it additionally calls for some attention from third party developers to see to it that the brand-brand-new changes are supported in their apps. That indicates that Google and its hardware partners will certainly definitely have actually actually a difficult path ahead in attempting to close the color gap.
Thinking outside the dots
Today, Android phone vendors hoping to stand out in a crowded market face a number of issues. Phone fragmentation—frequently related to the use of cheapest feasible components—results in compatibility complications and makes it a lot more difficult for Google, its hardware partners and mobile carriers to roll out brand-brand-new features or patch existing flaws.
As noted by Phil Nickinson of Android Central, Samsung's Galaxy S7—frequently talked regarding in the media as the equivalent to Apple's iPhone 6s—is actually a brand name applied to "31 divide versions of the Galaxy S7" that Samsung sells worldwide. Nickinson was writing regarding Android phone compatibility along along with Android Auto, Google's version of CarPlay; concerning the 31 slightly different Galaxy S7 models, he noted that "Some work. And some don't."
Samsung has actually actually additionally focused its attention on selling waterproofing claims that literally don't hold water. Joanna Stern of the Wall Street Journal attempted to carry that water herself in a piece that recommended phone buyers hold off on iPhones But not wait for a brand-brand-new Galaxy S7, specifically citing "waterproofing" as a key reason for buying a greater end Samsung.
However, both Square Trade and Consumer Reports have actually actually called out Samsung for inflating its claims of water resistance after testing multiple Galaxy S7 models that all failed to actually survive the dunk tank.
Apple's ability to introduce finished technologies that job as advertised and meaningfully improve users' experience is additionally assisted by its global network of retail stores, where users can easily easily experience leaps like 2010's Retina Display—and this year's leap to Wide Color—for themselves.