The ” retina display ” from Apple It first appeared on the iPhone 4 in 2010, and all iPhones produced since have featured the “Retina” brand in their marketing. So what makes a “Super Retina” and “Super Retina XDR” display different?
Super Retina stands for OLED
Apple has been using Retina to describe its high-pixel-density displays for more than a decade. The term is marketing parlance and it means that you cannot distinguish individual pixels at a normal operating distance from the screen. All screens used in the iPhones , iPads and Apple Mac they are now “Retina” quality or better.
The term “Super Retina HD” was first used to describe a new type of display that debuted on the iPhone X. Apple moved away from an LCD panel in favor of OLED and needed a new marketing term to describe it. “Super Retina” is Apple’s marketing language for a display that uses OLED technology.
OLED panels differ from LED-illuminated LCDs in that they are self-emitting, which means that they generate their own light thanks to organic compounds within the screen. This provides an excellent contrast ratio, where the screen can turn off individual pixels to deep blacks that are not possible on an LCD screen.
In comparison, a LCD screen should block light from background always on to display black, resulting in raised blacks that appear gray. Since OLED displays do not require backlighting and can turn off pixels entirely, use less battery power than their LCD counterparts.
XDR is extended dynamic range
Apple switched back to “Liquid Retina” LCD displays for the iPhone 11 launch, but it also released the iPhone 11 Pro at the same time with the new “Super Retina XDR” marketing.
Since then, the “Super Retina XDR display” has appeared on the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro range, in mini and Max sizes. This display is Apple’s second attempt at an OLED display, with a contrast ratio , brightness and compatibility enhanced with high dynamic range (HDR).
Apple has used the “XDR” mark elsewhere to refer to enhanced dynamic range, specifically in the 6K. Pro Display XDR by $ 4,999 reaching 1,600 brightness nits . However, unlike the OLED panel seen on the iPhone 12, the Pro Display XDR uses a dimmable backlit LCD panel.
This second-generation OLED panel enhances the original by doubling the contrast ratio (from 1,000,000: 1 to 2,000,000: 1) and introducing up to 1,200 nits of maximum brightness for HDR content. On some models, like the iPhone 12 Pro, Apple reports a typical brightness of 800 nits, up from 625 on older panels.
Liquid Retina displays are LCD
Most of the iPhone models produced now use Super Retina displays, but older models like the second-generation iPhone SE and iPhone 11 use LCD panels. These have larger bezels, a lower contrast ratio, and use more power than OLED panels, but they still look fantastic.
Display technology is constantly evolving, especially in the mobile space. Can wait more low temperature polycrystalline oxide (LTPO) screens that their refresh rates and consume even less power in future devices.