Air Display Update Turns New iPad Into HiDPI External Monitor For Mac | Cult of Mac

Air Display Update Turns New iPad Into HiDPI External Monitor For Mac


Air Display makes OS X look even crisper on the new iPad's Retina display.
Air Display makes OS X look even crisper on the new iPad's Retina display.

Avatron has released a new version of its popular Air Display iOS app that allows the user to view OS X Lion in hi-res HiDPI mode on the new iPad’s Retina display. Air Display turns your iPad or iPhone into a secondary display for your Mac, and the latest update takes advantage of the new iPad’s 2048×1536 screen resolution by exploiting a super hi-resolution mode in Lion called HiDPI.

Notice the huge difference between the normal graphics in OS X and HiDPI mode? (image courtesy of OS X Daily)

HiDPI elements in OS X have been turning up for months, indicating to most that Apple is set to unveil new Macs outfitted with Retina displays in the near future. With the latest version of Air Display, you can take advantage of the HiDPI elements in OS X Lion that are already there. The new iPad’s Retina screen is required to use the new display mode.

Avatron explains:

If you’re like us, you haven’t slept since March 16 because you’ve been enraptured by your new iPad with its stunning 264-DPI Retina screen. And you may have been wondering when Air Display will support the 2048×1536 resolution.

Performance Tuning

After Apple announced the new iPad on March 9, we worked like mad to add Retina resolution to Air Display. We got done in time, but of course we couldn’t ship the Air Display update until we had tested on a real iPad. Just in case.

It worked like a charm in the iPad simulator. Unfortunately when we got our new iPads and tested performance, we realized that the 4x increase in pixel count was killing our frame rates. So our engineers rushed back to the laboratory to experiment with codec settings, image filters, color spaces, threaded decompression, and god-knows-what-else.

Frame Rates

Finally we’ve got it working with good speed. What’s more, through all of this performance tuning and profiling, we’re delivering dramatically better frame rates on other devices as well. Especially the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S, which have dual-core CPU like the new iPad.

Not only that, but this update will let you take advantage of Retina resolutions on iPhone 4 and 4S as well.


So you will be able to use your new iPad as a 2048×1536 computer monitor. But that’s not all! On Mac OS X Lion or Mountain Lion, you’ll be able to turn on HiDPI mode. HiDPI is a hidden feature in Mac OS X that renders with double-resolution on a double-resolution screen.

You’ll need to download the newest Air Display desktop app to enable HiDPI mode on your Mac running Lion. The universal iPad/iPhone app costs $10 in the App Store, which isn’t cheap if you’re just wanting to play around. However, if you’ve considered extending your Mac’s display with an iPad or even iPhone, Air Display is the best app out there for the job.

[via MacStories]


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