Apple didn’t manage to provide real photos of the iPhone 4’s new display’s quality on their website. 960×640 pixels sure sounds a lot (almost iPad resolution), but I wasn’t convinced, because those digital demos look nothing like a real display.
Thankfully, Engadget has now provided this great comparison photo:
That’s the icon for the Maps app, of course, on iPhone 3GS and 4. Its actual size on the display is 9mm (0.354in), or the width of a typical paperclip, or the height of those arrow keys on a modern Apple keyboard, or the distance between strings on a 6-string guitar, or half the width of my middle finger. It’s really small.
If you have an iPhone or iPod touch (any generation), look at that icon. Can you see the white line between the red and blue parts of the road sign? That’s almost 2 pixels high on an iPhone 4. See the number “280”? The lines are a little more than 2 pixels thick there. See the pin’s head? That’s about 20 pixels in diameter now. The vertical road is about 15 pixels wide.
I could go on and on about this, but the quintessence is this: There will be no reason to make a higher-desity display, ever. Of course, HTC can release a 444ppi display in November, or Google can put a 3.8" screen with 1920×1080 Full HD resolution in the Nexus Three, but I think Apple has planted their flag on the smartphone display moon with this. It doesn’t matter who plants the second flag.
And how far is the competition away from the moon? Google’s Nexus One claims to have a 800×480 pixel screen. Compared to the iPhone 4 (on the bottom):
Update 2: Now that I’ve seen it with my own eyes, I can confirm that you can’t see any pixels unless you look very closely. From a typical viewing distance, it’s like high-quality print. And at least my iPhone doesn’t have any yellow spots on the display.
Update 3: Another microscope photo.