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iOS 8.1 beta includes “3x” images for iPad interface elements, possibly pointing to higher-res tablets


More investigation into the newest beat of iOS 8.1 has revealed that the operating system contains 3x versions of some iPad UI elements. Triple-size elements are used by the new iPhone 6 Plus to maintain “Retina” quality on the larger display, and this change could indicate that a larger or higher-resolution iPad could be coming with next week’s announcement.

Like the new Apple Pay UI that was recently uncovered in this beta, the new assets were discovered by Hamza Sood and posted to Twitter:

[tweet align=’center’]

The presence images don’t necessarily confirm that such a device will be introduced, but it does provide some evidence that Apple is at least considering it. Apple is expected to announce new iPads on October 16th, possibly along with new iMacs as previously predicted.

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  1. Joefrey Kibuule - 8 years ago

    Then again, there were Retina @2x assets in iOS a year before the iPad 3 came out. Best not to get your hopes up.

    • nonyabiness - 8 years ago

      +1. It [B]IS[/B] curious timing however.

  2. Maťo Kráľ - 8 years ago

    full hd display maybe, if they made it for iPhone 6 Plus, they can made it for iPad (there is larger display, so I know, they do this..)

    • Alex (@Metascover) - 8 years ago

      iPad is already over than fullHD…

    • jrox16 - 8 years ago

      Full HD? What do you think that means? The iPad is already well over 1920 x 1080.

    • Fallenjt JT - 8 years ago

      You mean 2x HD or 4K?. Answer is NO. iPad aspect ratio is 4:3 not 16:9. When it mentioned 3x Retina, itt mean 3x original resolution = 396 dpi in 9.7″ or 298 dpi in 12.9″ screen. I would say this 3x Retina is meant for the 12.9″ model at 3072 x 2304 resolution.

  3. Mr. Grey (@mister_grey) - 8 years ago

    Great. The one thing that isn’t necessary, and mostly useless (retina) they are working hard on. Meanwhile this years iPads are shaping up to be almost exactly the same as last years.

    • PMZanetti - 8 years ago

      Wtf are you talking about? The entire device is the display. The better it is, the better the device is. The device is shaping up to be a better iPad. What else do you expect?

      Your contributions here really suck.

      • Tyler Cohn - 8 years ago

        Even though I agree with your statement about the iPad, must you “attack” someone for stating their opinion on the matter. I feel as though it is rather immature to say their “contributions here really suck”. It seems that every time 9to5 Mac posts something, you always post a comment that is negative to someone else’s comment. Just saying…

      • Mr. Grey (@mister_grey) - 8 years ago

        It’s my opinion, I have a right to state it. Suck it up. My comments are not always positive, but they aren’t mean and everything I say is the truth as I see it. They are also more informative than a lot of the other comments you see on 9to5Mac that are mostly just “Wow”or “Great” or “I love Apple.”

        Also, unless severely provoked (and attacked first) I don’t attack other people on the thread like PMZanetti and others do. I’ve said it before, but it bears saying again. You seem to follow me around like a dog, spouting some kind of thinly disguised insults at me as if my existence on the Internet is the sole reason you post. I can’t remember posting much of anything here that doesn’t have a follow up nasty comment by you.

        I also get banned a lot and my comments get removed a lot if that means anything to you. Not because I’m rude or mean or break the rules, but (IMO of course) simply because I say things that people don’t want to hear.

        As for the screen issue … I’m an artist and have worked as a designer in the past. I have excellent vision. Far better than most in fact, with an above average ability to discern detail, colour etc. I don’t usually brag about it, but it’s just a fact. I could show you the test results. I’ve also worked in IT for about ten years and have personally owned about a hundred different computers ranging from some of the very first computers ever made, to the current models, as well as every single pocket PC, Palm Pilot, Nino, iPod etc. so I think I have the background and knowledge to say what I say with great authority.

        In my *informed* and *learned* opinion … the retina screens on iPads and Macs are *mostly* irrelevant for the average user and *most* people who aren’t video or photography professionals can’t even tell the difference between regular and retina without smooching their face right into the screen. I’ve seen this happen in person and tested it out by fooling people into thinking I gave them a retina Mac when in fact I gave them a non-retina Mac. They are a classic boondoggle. The increased quality of the image is (again for *most* people) in their *minds*.

        I’m not *against* retina screens as that would be ridiculous, I’m just saying Apple should focus on more meaningful improvements.

        When have you ever contributed anything besides saliva and vitriol to this, or to any other conversation?

      • Mosha - 8 years ago

        Don’t get me stared on these blatantly ignorant comments… First it’s a problem that Apple improve the assets/display (without actually holding one) and then complain that the device is thinner/lighter, easier to hold…mind boggling.

      • And by insulting people, are your contributions any better?

      • sparklehedgehog - 8 years ago

        Mister grey likes the sound of his own voice

      • jrox16 - 8 years ago

        The resolution of the iPad currently is great, there is no reason to increase it and waste battery. If you can’t see pixels without holding it a couple inches away and squinting, the ppi is good. Perhaps instead these new assets are for the rumored iPad 12 inch?

      • Rhys Morgan - 8 years ago

        The point is that there’s literally no point in having a higher-res display on the iPads.
        They already have an incredibly high resolution screen with imperceptible pixels under normal use conditions.

    • sparklehedgehog - 8 years ago

      I love how he can penetrate an iPad screen with his xray vision

    • mpnine - 8 years ago

      If they are transferring the technology used in the iPhone 6 and 6+ displays, there will probably be much more gained than just an increase in pixel density. Given that DisplayMate’s recent review of the 6+ display noted that it substantially improved almost every notable LCD performance metric relative to the prior iPhone displays, there could be a significant improvement in the iPad display. He also noted that the current iPad Air displays, while very good, weren’t ideal in a few areas (color gamut, for example, was low).

      If the iPhone 6+ Retina HD technology received the “best smartphone LCD display” crown, we very well could be looking at the best tablet LCD display in a few weeks. Couple those improvements with possible lamination of the display to the cover glass and we’ll have one of the best displays availble. While the retina part may not be the most important, a significant improvement in the overall display quality that happens to come with a bonus PPI increase on a device that is entirely display, would be a big deal.

      Add in a modest performance boost and improved power efficiency from the A8, the same great all-day (and then some in some cases) battery life of the Air, and the added convenience of Touch ID, and it’s a pretty significant upgrade over what was already one of, it not the best tablet available. It won’t be a huge overhaul, but this is more or less the “S” year in the hardware cycle.

      I have an iPad Air and while I have no complaints about the current hardware given my usage, but I would love to have these improvements.

      • Fallenjt JT - 8 years ago

        Bottom line: iPad Air 2 will have the same resolution with dual domain pixels called Retinal HD, Touch ID, A8x chip, 2GB of RAM and thinner due to the front glass and touch screens are being laminated directly onto the LCD screen…. I think it’s justified for the $100 upgrade.

  4. beyondthetech - 8 years ago

    Great, three sets of assets in every iOS app binary. What a bloated mess. I guess that puts an end to 16GB device purchases.

    • taoprophet420 - 8 years ago

      Higher resolution cameras and higher resolution displays makes it a joke that Apple has 16 GB base models. It leaves a horrible experience for users. They need to up free iCloud data to at least 10 GB since they don’t ant to make 32 GB the entry model for iOS devices.

      • iphone6splus - 8 years ago

        16 GB is enough for school, stores, grandparents.

      • sparklehedgehog - 8 years ago

        Not my grandparent it isn’t or my 2 year old daughter

      • Jason - 8 years ago

        Bad for Apple & developers too. Every 16GB device sold is one that is much less likely to upgrade to the newest OS over time due to lack of space. It appears 8/16GB devices are slowing iOS8 adoption and increasing fragmentation.

      • Fallenjt JT - 8 years ago

        16GB is enought for 80% of users out there. Complaining about storage, get 64GB or more iCloud drive which is dirt cheap now at 20GB for less than $1/month.

      • taoprophet420 - 8 years ago

        With App sizes and photo sizes increasing. There is no way 16 GB is enough for 80% of users. Add in the 3.6 GB or so free space rehired for the ota update to iOS 8 it’s not enough space. What is the actual capacity of the 16 GB now? The 64 is 55.6 GB.

        I have always bought the middle capacity option on iPhones I’m just worried about new customers experience with the phones. With a moderate camera use and moderate number of apps especially with the higher resolution screens and photos storage will be quickly used up.

        16 GB as the standard entry for an iPhone isn’t the optimum for a good customer experience. You factor in the $700 a $800 that iohones cyst in countries that don’t offfer subsidies in eastern Europe and developing countries and it turns away buyers.

    • jrox16 - 8 years ago

      Plenty of people get iPads and use them for Internet, email, maybe books, and install very few apps or photos. It’s enough for them, and if it’s not, get the bigger one, what’s the problem here?

      • Fallenjt JT - 8 years ago

        I got around 90 apps in my 16GB iPad Air and 4GB of pictures, but still have ~3GB left.

    • mpnine - 8 years ago

      I sprang for the 64GB iPhone 6, and luckily have avoided the over the air update issues. I bought a 16GB iPad Air last year, and luckily don’t store a lot of media, if any, on it. In the future, I’ll probably go for a 64 GB unless the base jumps to 32.

  5. jrox16 - 8 years ago

    I hope Apple doesn’t waste battery and increase the resolution of the current iPads, it’s pointless since you already can’t see pixels at normal use distance.
    QHD screens, like 16mp cameras which take terrible low light photos, are nothing more than marketing machismo, bullet points to impress people who fall for big numbers on paper. The LG G3 for instance has a terrible screen when it comes to white balance and color accuracy and its battery life takes a hit for no real benefit. Apple’s been historically smart about these things, only upping specs when they actually make the experience better and don’t hurt battery life, so I’m hoping this might be about the rumored larger iPad if anything.

    • charilaosmulder - 8 years ago

      I believe there’s no hope: Apple will ship @3x iPads (be it the A8 iPad or the A9). But one thing will be nice about the announcement: we’ll get an explanation from Apple. The @3x on the 6+ just slipped through calling it a retina HD screen because both new iPhones had new sizes and thus new resolutions. Not so on the iPad (except if they announce this 12.9″ iPad at the same event).

      • Fallenjt JT - 8 years ago

        No reason for 3x Retina for iPad Air since the new Retina HD look a lot better at the same resolution (iPhone 6 vs iPhone 5/5S). I’d bet that 3x Retina will go to 12.9″ model (@298 dpi which is Retina too)

  6. mpnine - 8 years ago

    If the DisplayMate review of the iPhone 6+ Retina HD screen is any indication, we should be welcoming the same display technology (and the associated bump to 400 or so ppi). The quality of the Retina HD display technology is a huge jump, even over the pretty good current display in the iPad Air. It goes way beyond just smaller pixels.

    “The iPhone 6 Plus matches or breaks new records in LCD Smartphone display performance for: Highest Peak Brightness, Lowest Screen Reflectance, Highest (True) Contrast Ratio, Highest Contrast Rating in Ambient Light, most accurate (pure logarithmic power-law) Intensity Scale and Gamma, most accurate Image Contrast, and the smallest Variations with Viewing Angle for Brightness, Contrast Ratio and Color. Where the iPhone 6 Plus display does very well but does not break LCD performance records is in: Resolution (1920×1080 versus 2560×1440), Pixels Per Inch ppi (401 ppi versus 538 ppi). and Absolute Color Accuracy (3.1 JNCD versus 2.1 JNCD).”

  7. charilaosmulder - 8 years ago

    “Triple-size elements are used by the new iPhone 6 Plus to maintain “Retina” quality on the larger display”

    Wrong. The iPhone 6+ already has more dots (non-retina pixels) on screen to compensate for the larger screen. But instead of going for @2x to keep the retina density for the intended viewing distance, they went @3x to make it sharper. And then weirdly scale the huge resolution down to the lower res 1080p display.

    • Fallenjt JT - 8 years ago

      Uh…401 dpi is not 3x but 489 dpi. “scale the huge resolution down to the lower res 1080p display”…Am I missing something in your explanation?

      • charilaosmulder - 8 years ago

        You’re almost there understanding my somewhat vaguely defined statement. @3x is indeed 326*1,5 = 489ppi. That’s exactly how the iPhone 6 Plus works internally. It translates into a pixel count of 2208*1242, which is then downscaled to fit the 1080p display.

        I know, it sounds stupid, that’s because it is. There are a few benefits though: 1. Semi-techies will like this familiar 1080p number (we know better). 2. The production costs are lower (we shouldn’t care, we just want the best from Apple) and 3. A 1920*1080 display consumes less power than a 2208*1242 display of the same size at the same brightness. However the A8 chip must continuously work to downscale the graphics, which renders all 3 benefits obsolete.

        Ideally the iPhone 6 Plus should’ve had a 1564*880 resolution on @2x. It’s so big people naturally hold it further away since most scalable content shows up bigger (instead of showing more on the screen), so the @2x resolution would look sharper than on any other iPhone. @3x with active downscaling consumes a lot of power, both the display and the SoC. I’ve heard that even the safari tab view lags sometimes on the 6 Plus, that’s ridiculous. Both graphics and battery life take a larger penalty than needed.