iOS 8 Beta Supports 3X Image Assets to Render Better Display on iPhone 6


The release of iOS 8 and iPhone 6 are only a few weeks away. The tech outlets are searching desperately for any news on the next iPhone or the next iOS. They are keeping contact with iOS developers because the developers are working on iOS 8 beta 5 beta currently.

iOS 8 Beta Supports 3X Image Assets to Render Better Display on iPhone 6

One of those developers called James Thompson has recently discovered a strange behavior in iOS 8 beta. His discovery adds authenticity to the previous claim by some sources that iPhone 6 will sport better resolution. The behavior that James has spotted in iOS 8 beta is ‘pixel-tripling’. The feature increases the screen resolution three times the base resolution.

News of pixel-tripling is not new. 9to5mac broke the news in May this year. Mark Gurman of 9to5mac reported iPhone 6 will have 1704 x 960 pixel resolution. Gurman wrote a section of analysts believe the screen size in iPhone 6 will be larger while another section claimed Apple would work on iOS so iPhone 6 could support enhanced resolution.

Apple released iPhone 5S in 2013. The original display of 5S was 568 x 320, but Apple created sharper image by applying 2X scaling mode which doubled the resolution. iPhone 5S’s resolution is 1136 x 640 pixels. The base resolution however was 568 x 320.

3X Mode

The 3X scaling mode stands for tripling the aforesaid base resolution. It requires explanation. Apple increase the base resolution three times in both vertical and horizontal directions. This will cause the existing 2X resolution to increase 150%. The vertical resolution will increase to 1704 pixels and the horizontal resolution to 960 pixels. The current aspect ratio of 16:9 will be intact. Just divide 1704 and 960 by 106.5 and you will get 16 and 9 respectively. The display will look a bit taller and wider.

James Thompson however reported that iOS 8 beta 5 doesn’t yield the same result every time. Since Apple is using the ‘initWithContentsOfFile’ method for rendering 3X image, 3X assets should invariably be loaded every time. The code was written in such a way that whatever resolution image is used for test purpose, the 3X asset will always be loaded.

During the testing phase, every image is assigned a number that represents the screen scale of a device. The 1X image is unclear, the 2X image is moderately clear. The 3X image consists of pristine clarity. The code path accepts only default 3X scale; arbitrary scales are not accepted. Even if testing is done with other sizes like 4X or 8X, the code path renders only 3X scale.

From this we can culminate the behavior doesn’t indicate anything buggy, rather has its roots iOS 8 coding which has specifically been done for iPhone 6. The API itself looks for @3X assets by default. iOS users can rejoice because iOS 8 will amount to finest resolution.

However, doubt still exists related to the base resolution. Some industry sources have claimed the base resolution will be 414 x 736 pixels, which means iPhone 6 will render 1242 x 2208 pixels resolution after 3X scaling.

Since release dates of iOS 8 and iPhone 6 are just around the corner, we need to wait for just few weeks now to see whether the base resolution be 568×320 or 414×736.