Saturday, September 13, 2014

iPhone 6 Size, Points, and Pixels

Ben Markowitz:

Want to get a feel for the new iPhone 6 Plus? Stack two standard checkbooks. Gets you length, width, and depth.


Like many of you, I’m still having trouble deciding which size to get. I put together these images that display the two models at actual size, keyboards included.

Tim Schmitz:

Both the iPad Air and the iPad mini have a “regular” size class in both dimensions, which implies that Apple is at least leaving room for something larger than the iPad. The likeliest explanation is that they’re keeping their options open for shipping larger devices in the future.


The new iPhone substantially changes the way graphics are rendered on screen. We’ve made an infographic to demystify this.


iPhone 6 Plus - with Retina display HD. Scaling factor is 3 and the image is afterwards downscaled from rendered 2208 × 1242 pixels to 1920 × 1080 pixels.

Marcel Weiher:

The iPhone 6 Plus has a 1920x1080 panel, but the simulator renders at 3x. These two resolutions don’t match and so the pixels will need to be downsampled to the display resolution. Whether that is accomplished by downsampling pixel art (which happens automagically with Quartz and the proper device transform set) or as a separate step that downsamples the entire rendered framebuffer doesn’t matter (much). Either way, there are no more “pixel perfect” pre-rendered designs.

Pablo Bendersky:

3x assets and the scaling is weird. I figure it’s a stop gap measure until we can get screens at 4x resolutions, so we can go back to pixel perfect assets if we wish to. While iOS 7 and 8 have a visual style that do not require pixel perfect mockups, iOS 7 was touted as designed for retina displays, and the recommendation was to use retina assets (like 1px lines) which might not look good on the 6 Plus.

Brent Simmons:

The @3x thing makes me feel like one of those computers in the original Star Trek that Kirk destroys by feeding it bad input. Does. Not. Compute. Can’t. Divide. Three. By. Two. Help. Me.

Update (2014-09-19): Peter Bright:

Apple’s large screen iPhones seem very space inefficient. 4.7" 6 is bigger than the 5" Lumia 930. 5.5" 6+ is almost as big as 6" Lumia 1520.

Update (2014-10-10): Adam Banks and Alan Stonebridge (via Accidental Tech Podcast):

Of course, 1920x1080 happens to be the exact resolution of a Full HD movie such as those you might rent or buy from Apple’s built-in iTunes Store. Hurrah! But wait. Screen-grabbing playback in the Videos app shows that the display is still being rendered at 2208x1242. Yes, the software is actually scaling up your 1080p video (reducing its quality) so that the hardware can scale it back down (reducing its quality) to display it at 1080p. Madness.

Update (2014-10-16): Accidental Tech Podcast says that the iPhone 6 Plus does display video at native 1080p and links to an API and test video.

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