Apple has just unveiled the new iPhone 4 with an IPS panel. And it’s very interesting that the IPS panel technology is making its way into handheld devices, as well as the new iPhone 4. The IPS panel is 3.5 inches large and has an extremely high resolution of 960x640 pixels. In this article FlatpanelsHD takes a look at the Retina Display and the IPS panel in the new iPhone 4.
It seems that we will have to wait for that OLED screen, though. Shame.
iPhone 4 with IPS screen
Some time ago we could reveal that the iPhone 4 would feature an IPS panel. Here on FlatpanelsHD we’re not really interested in the phone but instead the screen, and we wish to take a closer look at the iPhone 4 IPS panel because it marks an important step for image quality in handheld devices.
Apple iPhone 4
Apple has just unveiled iPhone 4 and iPhone 4 will be the first to feature a quality IPS panel that is a sub-technology of the LCD panel technology.
In addition to the better imaging quality from the IPS technology iPhone 4 has an extremely high resolution of 960x640 pixels. This corresponds to 326 pixels per inch (ppi) and is four times higher than in the current iPhone 3GS. It is also about 78 % more than the pixel count in iPad, and a much higher pixel density than any flat panel TV today.
The panel is 3.5 inches large and has a contrast ratio of 800:1 (about four times higher than the current iPhone 3GS). Apple is calling the new panel Retina Display, which alludes to the eye's retina, and that the panel has better picture detailing that the human eye can perceive. It also means that the screen can reproduce very fine and detailed objects, and can have a lot of content on the screen.
iPhone 4, Picture credit: Engadget
The word Retina Display is Apple-made. It’s not really a new display technology but just refers to the very high resolution.
One of the most interesting aspects is that the IPS technology is now moving into handheld devices. We saw it in the iPad some time ago and now it’s also incorporated into the iPhone 4. Together with the OLED technology IPS can improve picture quality from handheld devices a lot compared to the cheap TN panels that are incorporated into the majority of handheld devices today, such as the iPhone 3GS.
iPhone 4, Picture credit: Engadget
The IPS technology has two primary advantages. IPS has wide viewing angles and very good color reproduction. The IPS technology also uses 8-bit color depth instead of 6-bit color depth on TN panels.
See the picture below of a TN panel in the iPhone 3GS. The picture changes a lot depending on the angle which is a typical problem with the TN panel technology. This will not happen with the IPS panel in the iPhone 4.
iPhone 3GS viewing angles
The new IPS screen in iPhone 4 - obviously - supports multi-touch like most Apple devices today. iPhone 4 is based on the capacitive touch technology that is regarded as the best and most responsive touch technology today.
The screen is also thinner than in the current iPhone 3GS, which also means that the iPhone 4 is thinner and that a better battery can be incorporated.
So, IPS in handheld devices? Yes, please. It is a great improvement. We are still waiting for OLED, however, which will introduce even greater improvements in contrast and response time. We will probably have to wait a bit longer for that as a mainstream technology. OLED is being integrated in some of the new Samsung and HTC phones, however.