Same-day update at end of post.
Thanks to @warnercrocker for the tip!
But we have no idea about the visual aspects of the new iPhone.
In April of 2015, Sharp announced that it was beginning production of 5.5-inch 4K (3840×2160) 806ppi IGZO displays. After that rumor flew around, all went silent regarding that technology. The company started having serious financial problems and began seeking a buyer.
As it turned out, in April of 2016, FoxConn, one of the primary manufacturers of the iPhone, ended up buying Sharp for $3.5B.
Why is this significant? Well, 4K would be a major spec bump in terms of display resolution for the larger SKU iPhone. Additionally, IGZO, or Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide displays have significant technology benefits which include dramatically increased electron mobility, over 40 times that of the amorphous silicon used in traditional TFT displays.
A use of IGZO would mean increased luminosity, higher reaction speed and increased battery efficiency, not just the huge resolution and pixel density bump. It also creates a much thinner sandwich than TFTs, even the part that Apple currently uses in the iPhone.
Previously, Apple’s Christmas Surprise: A 4K VR Headset?,I wrote:
Apple wouldn’t settle for current phone screen resolutions for VR. As it is, they’d lose with the screen resolution of the current iPhones. And I don’t see them boosting iPhone resolution any time soon.
But VR is a different beast.
It needs that 4K screen.
So that’s what Apple would want for its own VR headset.
The Sharp IGZO screen could be The Missing Link.
Sure, Foxconn bought the tech. But how do we know that it wasn’t Apple fronting the money for exclusivity?
Apple has a history of pouring money into companies to make them create the tech they need (cutting-edge stuff that companies won’t invest in because they’re unsure if there’s any market). This would just be another example of that.
But what I don’t like is the idea of Apple doing a Gear VR-like headset:
What if the iPhone 7 Pro is actually the brains of a virtual reality/augmented reality headset? A headset that performs as a smartphone by day, but snaps into a head-mounted cradle at night, like the Samsung Gear VR?
An entertainment device that performs the function of a gaming machine and TV set? An Apple TV without a TV? One that can provide fully immersive experiences and exclusive content from virtually anywhere?
That’s so un-Apple-like.
When Apple did an MP3 player, the iPod, it was unlike anything else on the market.
In the VR market, just about everything is based on Google Cardboard, including the Gear VR (which although tarted-up with Oculus Inside sensors, is still a Cardboard-based design scheme/hack).
So imagine how worn down the teeth of Jon Ive must be from having to grind them after being told a Gear VR-like headset is what Apple will release! I’m having a great deal of trouble imagining Ive not overturning desks. I can’t imagine him even designing such a thing.
But maybe he’s come up with an Apple-like twist to the thing. This is why he is paid the big bucks and I’m here surrounded by cats draining my scant funds.
And yet… there is still another missing link here. A camera for 3D 360-video. Could Apple have one that’s so secret no one has noticed? Is Foxconn security that good? Or has no one at the factory even noticed it? Or will Apple be content stocking, say, the Vuze camera in Apple Stores until they create their own? Will January — do they still do January announcements? — unveil such a camera?
I’m having a great deal of difficulty with this:
The larger 5.5-inch iPhone, which some have dubbed the iPhone Pro, is expected to have twin cameras in the rear of the device.
Why do you need twin cameras? Well, on a smartphone, at least as it pertains to digital photography, stereoscopy means you can shoot burst exposures and do selective compositing of different focus depths and do image processing on those exposures. You can also shoot 3D photographs and do perspective vision types of applications.
180-degree degree 3D video? For anyone else, that would be Good Enough. But for Apple? I don’t think so. But with VR still being so new, it’ll probably impress the hell out of people new to it, so there’s that to consider.
But Apple really needs to leapfrog the Samsung Gear 360 camera and nail a $499 price. Think of the holiday sales backlog for that! (Buy two; one for ebay.)
At any rate, this is the first article I’ve read that makes me wonder if the iPhone 7 Pro will indeed have VR Inside.
If it does, it will Change Everything. And suddenly VR FOMO won’t be an illusion any longer.
So, can Tim Cook cook?
Same-day update: China leak now says iPhone Plus/Pro will have a 2K screen, not 4K:
Screen panels of the upcoming iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus (seems we are back to calling it Plus) have been leaked online by a Weibo user. One of the panels has a size of 4.7” and the other is 5.5 inches. The source however says the 4.7” screen will be Full HD and the 5.5” LCD panel will have a 2K resolution.
The source says the screens are coming from JDI, but that company is in trouble: Japan Display, a Maker of iPhone Screens, Seeks Government Financial Help.
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