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Apple's Cook resets 3 popular, and wrong, Apple rumors

John Cox | April 26, 2013
Three comments this week by Apple CEO Tim Cook should have led to a reset of popular iOSphere rumors about the upcoming iPhone 6, iPad 5, and iPad mini 2, but probably didn’t.

Probably most smartphone buyers cannot define in technical terms qualities such as color quality or white balance or reflectivity. The Verges Dieter Bohn takes note of this point, but draws the wrong conclusion. Although Cook may be right that many Android smartphones ship with disappointing screens, it's not as if the relatively worse color fidelity and white balance on the Samsung Galaxy S3 have stemmed its sales, Bohn writes.

In fact, its impossible to know whether they have or not, partly because buying behavior studies tend to focus on the reasons for buying, not the reasons for not buying; and partly because the vast majority of smartphone buyers lack the time and tools, and probably the interest, to do in-depth technical comparisons of different smartphone displays.

Cook's statements don't entirely preclude a larger iPhone in the future, but the hints do make it appear slightly less likely that is, unless Apple would rather tout its ability to master those persnickety tradeoffs, Bohn concludes. While the first part of Bohns conclusion is surely correct, its not entirely clear what the last part of his statement means. He seems to suggest that these display qualities, and Apples priorities in smartphone display, are persnickety especially in comparison to the display size.

Persnickety can have two, revealingly different definitions. Bohn appears to mean the first one: placing too much emphasis on trivial or minor details; fussy. But Cook, and Apple as a whole, seems to mean the second: requiring a particularly precise or careful approach.

It is true that some of the differences between Apple and its rivals can only be discerned by sophisticated testing, such as that done by AnandTechs Chris Heinonen in his September 2012 in-depth analysis of the iPhone 5 screens performance, mainly in comparison to previous iPhone models.

Yet there is a cumulative effect, and impact, of this kind of attention to persnickety tradeoffs. Heinonens conclusion is worth quoting at length:Wrapping up, the iPhone 5 display is a quantum leap better than the display on the iPhone 4. Contrast levels and light output have both been increased, and color performance is astonishing. The full sRGB gamut [that is, the complete subset of colors, within the sRGB color space standard, that can be accurately represented] is present here, and color errors are remarkably low even for a high end desktop display. While many were hoping for a move to OLED or some other screen innovation, this [iPhone 5 display] really is a huge step up that is very easy to quantify. To put this in perspective, in the past few years I've reviewed probably 30-40 different displays, from PC monitors to TVs to projectors. Not a single one, out of the box, can put up the GretagMacbeth dE numbers [a reference to a widely used color calibration target] that the iPhone can, and perhaps one projector (which listed for $20,000) can approach the grayscale and color accuracy out of the box&.The new panel in the iPhone 5 is simply remarkable in quality and if it were a PC monitor, I'd give it a Gold Award on the basis of its performance.


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