Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter packs a tiny computer inside
While trying to run some recording tests on iOS devices, the guys over at Panic.com came across something rather unusual on the Apple Lightning to Digital AV adapter. Apple claims that the Lightning Digital AV adapter outputs 1080p video over HDMI from the source iOS device, whether it's iPad 4 or iPhone 5. However, when mirroring the output feed, the maximum resolution was limited to 1600 x 900 pixels. Furthermore when using the Lightning Digital AV adapter, text output contained compression artifacts.
The mystery was solved once the Lightning Digital AV adapter was cut open and out came an ARM SoC chip with 2GB onboard RAM. Basically the Apple Lightning Digital AV adapter streams video by using AirPlay codec to upscale videos to 1080p. It's only upon close inspection and getting behind the scenes, so to speak, that you can find out that the Apple Lightning Digital AV adapter is upscaling videos to 1080p and not giving pure HDMI output signal; a testament to how good the AirPlay video compression system is. This also explains the $50 (AED 199) price tag on this adapter; because it actually contains a small computer inside it!