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iPhone 3GS Supports 1080p, iTunes 9 Integrates Facebook

Gordon Kelly


iPhone 3GS Supports 1080p, iTunes 9 Integrates Facebook

There is some interesting Apple chitter chatter going around the web this week, let's take a look...

What seems to have gotten most attention is the fact an iPhone 3GS is actually capable of 1080p (1920 x 1080) 'Full HD' playback on the handset. This seems quite the coup and yet bizarrely is something Apple wants to keep under wraps. The official line is VGA is its limit, the same as the iPhone 3G which is quite a poor argument given the significantly more powerful graphics capabilities of the 3GS.

As for the nitty gritty there are likely several reasons why this is being kept quiet. Firstly, there are some issues with extremely high bitrate HD content and secondly, not all audio codecs play nicely. The iPhone 3G also fails these tests completely so it may be Apple doesn't want to confuse consumers. In addition, there appears little practical benefit to playing 1080p video on an iPhone without decent TV output options (HDMI port in generation four please!) and I suspect playback will destroy battery life.

What will Apple say about all this? Expect stony silence.

Next up we hear iTunes 9 could well be headed into (even greater) bloatware territory with the integration of social networking. Primarily this will involve the ability to create a new playlist and share it on Facebook. This can feature a short user description and a link to the playlist. How this will work when opened if recipients don't own all the tracks (iTunes purchase links?) is currently unknown, but it does sound a little fussy compared to the Spotify html track, album and playlist sharing approach. Besides, there are many things I have long waited to see in iTunes (playback directly from a connected iPhone, multiple computer iTunes syncing, native network support) but Facebook integration has never been one of them...

Lastly, if you've just made the significant investment of buying an iPhone 3GS and want to keep it safe then Apple accessory specialist Cygnett may have the thing for you. It wades into the ultra competitive field of iPhone cases with a new line of 'Jellybean' hard cases. Unlike most, the Jellybean line still allows the Apple logo to be visible on the back and includes a screen protector to guard against scratches, smudges and dust.

As usual, full access to the iPhone screen, buttons, camera and charging/syncing is available with the case on and the identical form factor of the 3GS to the 3G means they will fit both models. The range goes on sale immediately, with cases priced at just £12.

So yet another busy Apple rumour week draws to a close. Expect the circus to kick off again first thing Monday morning...


iPhone 1080p playback via Engadget (video link)

iTunes 9 via BGR

Cygnett Jellybean Cases


August 21, 2009, 10:33 pm

I wouldn't say 30Mbps is extremely high bitrates in anyones book.


August 21, 2009, 11:27 pm

any news on the iTablet...? :)


August 22, 2009, 5:57 am

just what you want everyones music habits being thrown at you isnt it bad enough that you now know exactly what people are doing in their lives from people you havent seen or spoken to in years

or even worse basically ads from itunes 'this person bought this you should (read: have to) buy this (or you may fall behind your peers)'

I cant wait until apple fully unlocks the potential of the iphone its all there waiting but I do want it done right so I'm happy to wait for now but hopefully not too long


August 22, 2009, 6:10 am

@xbrumster - nothing and I wouldn't expect anything an Apple's annual September event either. This is something for 2010 - at the earliest - imho.


August 22, 2009, 11:01 am

i'm expecting a flash application to be announced from adobe, at the event. and (dare i say it?) some design revisions for the iphone (matte back option)

that's my wish list...

Barry Ward

August 22, 2009, 1:37 pm

The one advantage I can see of the iPhone being able to play HD videos is you would then no longer need 2 copies (SD and HD) of the same video on your PC. You would only need the HD version as it will play on both. I hate having 2 copies of the same video just because my 3GS can't play the HD one.


August 22, 2009, 8:50 pm

@ Barry - for me, that would be negated by resource overhead. There is no discernable benefit to this resolution on a screen a few inches wide, but decoding a 1080p video on an iPhone is going to eat up a lot of storage and processing power, and by extension, battery life.


August 23, 2009, 6:19 am

Agree with 'life'. I don't really see Apple as holding back on the iPhone's potential, just rather being sensible. The screen resolution wouldn't do the video justice, and the processing power/battery life hit would just make it pointless.

P.S. I also just promised myself that's the last time I'll ever agree with Apple on anything...


August 23, 2009, 6:51 am

@Barry, @life @drdark - for me the one obvious benefit to iPhone HD decoding would not for viewing on the handset, but for outputting to an HDTV.

It would be rather excellent to be watching a show on your iPhone, then plug in an HDMI cable and finish off watching it either your own, or your friend's HDTV. Seamless.

As for the practicality of such a solution - and Apple agreeing to use HDMI in the first place (!) - neither seems particularly realistic.


August 24, 2009, 6:28 pm

Gordon hit the nail on the head.

Already, I use the iPhone to watch the occasional TV show, (if say an episode of 24 or Tudors has failed to record on my SKY HD - I can get the episode on iTunes and play through my iPhone into the TV). The only gripe, is that a series that we're used to watching in HD glory is suddenly less impressive.

This would fix that! And you could take a load of HD movies for watching in your holiday hotels instead of the bootlegged old DVD's they'll rent you from reception....!

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