2012 Looks Set To Be The Year Of The Retina Display Mac

2012 Looks Set To Be The Year Of The Retina Display Mac

We’ve been seeing references to HiDPI display modes in OS X Lion for a while now, which has helped cement rumors that Apple will release a Retina Display MacBook Pro, at least, in 2012.

As such, today’s report that Apple left a big reference to HiDPI mode intact in developer builds of OS X 10.7.3 isn’t a big surprise. The functionality can be seen in Finder’s “Get Info” window, and allows you to open a file or app in HiDPI mode, which (while non-functional right now) would presumably user higher-definition fonts, graphics and other UI elements. Retina Display Macs seem like a shoe-in in 2012 at this point, don’t you think?

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  • minimalist1969

    I guess the big question is how do we measure what is a “retina display” and what is not?  Because a 27″ iMac, a 13″ macbook air, a 10″ iPad and a 3.5″ iPhone all get used at different distances from our eyeballs and therefore each device requires a different resolution to make the pixels disappear.  

  • macgizmo

    No, I don’t think. Retina displays will require a LOT of work for developers. I’m thinking about Adobe, Microsoft, etc. There’s no point of having a retina display if the only thing that looks good is the Finder and Apple’s apps.

  • Al

    I wonder if we’ll ever see Resolution Independence? It’s been banded about the Mac rumours since before the beginning of time yet never happens. Its like achieving Nirvana.

  • JDWages

    This is just dumb.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Why in THE world would anyone like me who owns a 27″ iMac need a retina display?  Shall I suddenly have need of peering at my screen from a distance of 3 inches so I can see how glorious the technology is?!  Poppycock!  Even when my face is “close” to the screen, it’s still a foot away. And with anti-aliasing, I don’t notice any pixelation at all.  (And no, my eyes are not bad.  Even at age 40, I still don’t need glasses.) 

    If I’m dead wrong on this, then please tell me why.  Please tell me what practical use I can get out of a 27″ retina display while giving due consideration to the viewing distance.  And if your only answer is “so we don’t need anti-aliasing anymore,” I forewarn you, I will still remain unconvinced.  I doubt Apple will make the move to Retina displays on big-screen iMacs “only to eliminate anti-aliasing”!

    With that said, I can see a reason for such displays on the iPhone, iPod Touch and upcoming iPad3.  In fact, I have been holding out on the purchase of an iPad just so I could get the Retina display on the iPad3.  Why?  Well because even though the physical distance between my eyes and the screen won’t be much different whether I’m using my iMac or iPad3, the fact is that the tinier the screen, the more closely you squint and scrutinize the content.  Therefore, it means that you will be more likely to notice pixelation and therefore benefit from a retina display on a smaller screen device.

  • Yap Yusuke

    2012 looks set to be the year of ass kicking for cult of mac!!

  • MacNews1

    It’s all in the mind, really…

  • Seth Chapman

    Y’know….I just bought a new Macbook Pro this summer…but if they’re redesigning as much as it’s being talked about, especially if it gets a retina display…I’m selling this thing faster than I can blink.

  • minimalist1969

    Its not that much work really. Text is the main beneficiary and that system controlled.

  • minimalist1969

    Rather its all in the price.  Large retina displays could cost a fortune.   

    Which is why the analyst prediction of 50″ Apple TV’s that do double duty as iMacs is such so absurd.   Not only would a 50″ “retina display” with double the pixels per inch of an existing iMac be astoundingly expensive,  it would be a complete waste of pixels when viewed from 8 feet away. From that distance a 50″ 1080p display already is a “retina display”.

  • minimalist1969

    I didn’t really notice the pixelization on the iPhone either… until it was gone.  Nobody “needs” a retina display.  But it does make reading text a joy once you have it.  And it makes for great marketing. 

    It doesn’t even have to be double the pixels.  But it does have to be consistent amount across all Macs.  iPhones are easy as they all have the same proportion screen.  But there are already dot pitch variations between different Macs so that complicate things (Airs are higher resolution that MBP’s and MBP’s are different than iMacs)

  • iMakary

    i’ve read all the comments, i have to admit that the difference between the resolutions of lion and snow leopard icons was noticeable. the icons in snow leopard looked horrible and disappointing, (i just got a mac last april.)

    despite the better resolution in what might come in the future i don’t think it’ll be that big of a jump from what lion already has. 

    however, leave it to apple to spin it in a way to leave people in a “i gotta have that!!” i doubt that tho, tim cook is no steve jobs, (i really find his accent annoying)

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John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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