Retina Artwork Bloats iPad Apps To More Than Double Their Size


A retina, surrounded by an eye. Photo Bodey Marcoccia (CC BY-SA 2.0)
A retina, surrounded by an eye. Photo Bodey Marcoccia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The new iPad appears to be all upside: A retina display, 4G connection, no loss in battery life and a potentially great new camera. But there is a dark side lurking in there somewhere, one that you won’t see until developers start to update their apps to be retina ready, and those apps start to gobble up your 16, 32 or 64GB of storage by the Gigabyte.

What am I talking about? Bitmap images. When quadrupled in size to look nice on the hi-res screen, bitmaps bloat the apps containing them. For example, iMovie for iOS jumps from a merely large 70MB to a terrifying 404MB. That 16GB iPad is starting to look a little small, right?

Vietnamese unboxer extraordinaire,, has compared the sizes of Apple’s updated iWork and iLife apps on its prematurely-arrived third-gen iPad. To confirm them, I dug into my backups, comparing the old app sizes with the new retina-ready apps released last week. Here are my numbers, which you can confirm yourself by checking the old and new versions:

App iPad 2 Retina iPad
Keynote 110MB 327MB
Numbers 104MB 375MB
Pages 89MB 331MB
iMovie 82MB 404MB
iPhoto N/A 129MB

Scary, right? Clearly, the culprit here is the inclusion of theme templates and graphics, as text and vector graphics are the same size however large they are rendered. Oddly, though, iPhoto manages to be the smallest of these iApps, despite packing a rather overworked interface and including a few themes for the Journals section.

Then again, those themes are simple tiled background textures, and presumably iPhoto was the first app to be created especially for the retina display, and is perhaps better optimized.

One upshot of this awful bloat — apart from forcing people to skip the 16GB iPad altogether — is that I expect to see a lot more vector graphics in the UI elements of iOS6. Anything else is just messy.

  • MySkyizBlue

    32 gb isn’t even enough on my iPhone I can’t imagine owning a 16 gb iPad with retina.
    I would rather save my money, earn more, and spend it on a 64 gb (maybe 128) iPad coming next year.
    Which is exactly what I’m doing. besides the camera on the thing isn’t even that good.

  • BigBinks

    That’s not a retina, that’s a cornea…

  • Gavin

    So will the iPad 2 users suffer from the same bloat from future updates to apps? This is going to kill my memory.

  • facebook-100000670318505

    The thing is that those apps have had major upgrades with them and that a double hundred mb won’t do that much 

  • Timorteus

    I always try and buy the entry level product of any Apple device, as they always have the lowest profit margins, and I don’t like the feeling of being ripped off. I found a 16GB iPad2 fine, however I’m now a little bit worried about my 16GB new iPad that is on its way now! :( 

  • Stephen Vivian

    This is a bit scary. I mostly use my iPad for web surfing, but I do enjoy some social media apps and consuming music, tv shows, and movies. I was planning on buying the new iPad in 16gb’s. Hopefully it’s enough. Though I guess with my iTunes Match I won’t have to worry too much about the being limited to 16gb’s…

  • Bash Ba?h

     Apple should have got rid of 16GB and have 32/64/128GB

  • Tim Lanfair

    I’m really surprised they did not offer a 128 gig model…i would have pre ordered that in a second

  • Shane

    Think about it, people. What’s next for the future version of the iPad? Another camera update? Sure, but it’s not going to be enough to get people in line. It’s going to be the increased capacity sizes! So, why would they throw all their options into just one new iPad when if they portion them out, they can guarantee people will buy them in an ongoing manner. It’s going to be just like the iPod.

  • tornacious

    I always buy the max memory iPhone and iPad, since you get more for your money each doubling of the memory.

  • Connor Mulcahey

    How bout that tactical display from senseg? THAT will get people in line! How about a beefed up version of Siri that is 10X more capable and more reliable? How about wireless charging? Those will too! Add the camera, processor, ram, flash memory, thinner lighter, battery life and it is clear that there will always be things to upgrade to. I can assure you thought that we will not see all of those for at least another 5 years.

  • RadTech5000

    I’m glad I got the 64GB Version! Apple really shouldn’t have a 16GB version it’s just to small for this new iPad.

  • Brandon Dillon

     The emphasis is on the cornea, but the retina is still there.

  • Dinnie Lim

    This is quite worrying. I am wondering if I should buy a 64GB instead of the 32GB like I had planned to. Hmmm.