iOS 5 Opens Door to True 1080p Apple TV
iOS 5 appears to unlock new 1080p capabilities for the iPad 2, allowing video in the 1080p format to be synced and played directly on the device. While the iPad 2 is of course unable to directly display full 1080p content on its own screen, many users are interested in outputting such content to larger screens, and it also opens the door to a true 1080p Apple TV.
Yesterday, 9to5Mac reported that under iOS 5, Apple's video player will now play back and sync 1080p content. Cult of Mac now speculates on that development to suggest that Apple is preparing to support 1080p output on the next-generation iPhone and Apple TV, devices that will presumably be based on the A5 chip found in the iPad 2.
What's interesting to us about this feature is that it implies that Apple is happy enough with the processing speeds of its A5 chip that they are going to enable 1080p video on devices with an A5 minimum spec. For right now, that's just the iPad 2, but come iOS 5's release in September, two other devices will fit the bill: the iPhone 4S and the next Apple TV.
The current Apple TV, which is based on the same A4 chip found in the iPhone 4, is only capable of outputting 720p video, leaving some consumers hoping for more on a device that should be dedicated to a high-quality television viewing experience. The original rumor regarding the second-generation Apple TV as an A4-based streaming device had pegged it as supporting 1080p and with 16 GB of storage. The released product does not, however, support the higher-resolution content and comes with only 8 GB of storage for the operating system and content caching.
Apple's iOS devices have supported 1080p output in some form for several generations, with the iPad 2 currently able to generate 1080p graphics and output at that resolution to external displays. The device can not, however, officially support 1080p video files under the iOS 4.x software. Other users have been able to demonstrate 1080p video output on the iPhone 4 and even the iPhone 3GS, but the high-resolution content has not been supported through iTunes and the iOS devices' built-in video player from Apple.