About that incredible iPhone Retina Display … maybe not so much incredible as hype

As with any showman the words used in conning convincing the gullible masses are often carefully selected to give the presenter the most bang for the buck and if anyone knows this better than anyone it is Steve Jobs. After all no one in the tech world puts on a better show that he and this last keynote speech that introduced the iPhone 4 was no different.

One of the key selling points of the new version of the iPhone was its display which using something called Retina Display is claimed by Steve in his speech to have a higher resolution that the human retina. Um .. ya … okay …. can we have some sensible talk now?

Thankfully someone who knows what they are talking about has come forward to point out that Jobs is wrong. In a post by Charlie White on the DVICE blog display expert Raymond Soneria had these few points to make.

Steve Jobs claimed that the iPhone 4 has a resolution higher than the Retina — that’s not right:1. The resolution of the retina is in angular measure — it’s 50 cycles per degree. A cycle is a line pair, which is two pixels, so the angular resolution of the eye is 0.6 arc minutes per pixel.

2. So, if you hold an iPhone at the typical 12 inches from your eyes that works out to 477 pixels per inch (ppi). At 8 inches it’s 716 ppi. You have to hold it out 18 inches before it falls to 318 ppi.

So the iPhone [4] has significantly lower resolution than the retina. It actually needs a resolution significantly higher than the retina in order to deliver an image that appears perfect to the retina.

It’s a great display, most likely the best mobile display in production (and I can’t wait to test it) but this is another example of spec exaggeration.

Of course reality doesn’t really need to come into the picture when talking to the iPhone faithful.