Retina display Macs may be getting closer
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Retina display Macs may be getting closer

The iPhone 4S boasts a Retina display, as does the new iPad. Perhaps the Mac is next in line for such technology.

"Ars Technica" (http://macte.ch/TQTWE) says a new clue found within in the latest developer release of OS X 10.8 ("Mountain Lion") suggests that 2012 may bring us the "summer of retina display Macs." A source with access to the latest Mountain Lion preview alerted "Ars" that double-sized graphics have popped up in some unexpected places, once again suggesting that Apple may be close to releasing laptops with high pixel-density screens.

Retina display MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros would be great. But I'd also like to see a Retina display iMac. Imagine a 27-inch iMac (my Mac model of choice) with 3840 x 2160 resolution. The current high-end model "only" has 2560 x 1440 resolution. Such a display requires quite a bit of processing power. But a top-of-the-line iMac with Ivy Bridge processors could certainly handle it.

Or perhaps a Retina iMac wouldn't sport 3840 x 2160 resolution. A "TUAW" article (http://macte.ch/Ex0ar) says that in order to achieve, or even handily exceed, the threshold for a Retina display, Apple doesn't need to double resolutions on most of its displays. It would suffice to boost a 27-inch Thunderbolt Display or 27-inch iMac from 2560 × 1440 to something around 2912 × 1638.

Of course there are problems to be resolved. Consider this post (http://macte.ch/2oGeK) from Tim Ricchuiti at "The Elaborated": "If Apple were to do something like [retina displays on Macs], the biggest question I would have is whether or not they’d put something into place for users who genuinely do want much smaller UI elements and much more screen real estate. That is, if Apple were to double their UI, and then use the 2×1080p resolution for the 27-inch iMac, there’s a sense in which current 27-inch iMac users would feel like they were actually losing screen real estate from their current 2560 × 1440 displays. But that’s why Apple’s Apple and I’m a guy writing about them: if and when Retina Displays do come to the Mac, they will have thought that issue through and either solved it, or decided that the set of users who would be upset by it isn’t a large enough group to hold other users back."

Despite issues, a Retina display on a Mac would put your HDTV to shame, and would also allow Macs to better support full 1080p HD video. My guess is that Apple will probably put a Retina display on the Macbook Air first with other models to follow -- and this after Mountain Lion is available.

Support for higher resolution Macs will come with Intel’s next-generation Ivy Bridge processors. The processors will support up to the 4K resolution, which allows up to 4,096 x 4,096 pixels per monitor. Oh yes, and I expect the company to optimize its fonts for larger resolutions.

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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