This week we are taking a closer look at Apple’s new flagship model, iPhone 6. Does the Apple magic hype machine live up to expectations when it comes to video playback? Apple’s implementation of http-live-streaming certainly has delivered, and their newest in a now long line of iPhone’s is no exception. The iPhone6 continues to deliver the most consistent video playback of any device we’ve tested. Don’t take our work for it, let’s take a closer look.
iPhone continues to lead the market from a device sales perspective, with iPhone6 selling 10 million units in it’s first weekend launch. Apple still forces a streamlined experience with video playing full screen in most situations except for apps such as YouTube where inline playback is not the default.
The larger screen on iPhone6 is a real treat, and it’s got the specs to back it up. With a size of 4.7”, dimensions of 1334×750, and a pixel density of 326ppi, this is the nicest iPhone display yet. It’s worth mentioning that the new pixel dimensions are a bit out of the ordinary and we recommend encoding content to match these parameters. The remarkable clarity and color depth come from the LED-backlit, widescreen Multi‑Touch display with IPS technology and full sRGB color.
Like previous devices, Apple continues to support the broadest range of video formats.
H.264 video up to 1080p, 60 frames per second, High Profile level 4.2 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats;
MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats; Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format
Supporting playback features like Closed Captioning and scrubbing generally worked well, although we did find playback would pause momentarily when using the scrubber, and the forward button did not work in any of the samples we tested. Closed Captioning also worked well on YouTube, but not on any of the other OVPs we tried. What we found was that when tested on the desktop the captions were there, but were not available via iPhone 6. However, playback was seamless on the OVPs we tested, despite the Closed Caption limitations we found.
HLS remains our recommended format for iPhone 6. With our recently launched HLSpro feature that offers detailed control over h.264 profiles, video can be optimized on a device by device basis offering improved support of iPhones new and old.
While DRM is not supported by default, support is available through the development of a custom app using any of the popular DRM schemes.
Are you creating and delivering content for iPhone 6? Having any challenges? Let us know in the comments!