The latest tech gossip doing the round is that the MacBook Pro would not be the only Apple computer sporting the breath taking retina display. The iMac line might also be set to gain the high resolution Retina display. If you thought the new iPad was the device with the largest retina display on the planet then Apple seems to be all set to break its own record.
The MacBook Pro has been at the center of rumors of HiDPI or in other words the retina display. We all have heard so much about it that we expect Apple to unveil MacBook Pro with the retina display at the WWDC. However the notion of the iMacs benefiting from this ultra-rich display does actually make sense. Apple has been a pioneer in bringing amazing technology to its consumers first. They would want the retina display to be standard on all iOS devices. What most tech experts are curious about though is how Apple will bring this technology to big screens considering that most iMacs already feature retina resolution displays when viewed from particular distance.
Some people think that Apple will replicate what it did for the iPhone and iPad however on a much larger scale. They will double the screen resolution which translates to each screen carrying four times more pixels than the earlier version. We have already heard about this and how the new generation MacBook pro would feature a 2880 x 1800 display compared to the 1440 x 900 display on the current MacBook pro.
However as the screen size increases the question arises is if the hardware would be able to handle the demand for high resolution display. Will the iOS 6 concepts prove too much for the graphic processing unit and display hardware?
A 17 inch MacBook Pro with a 3840X2400 resolution might still seem within the realm of possibility however the doubts arise when you consider the rumor of the iMacs getting the retina display treatment too. A 21.5 inch iMac would use a similar display to the 17 inch MacBook Pro however a 27 inch iMac would see its display bumped up to a mammoth 5120×2880! If Apple can pull that off they could use the same display panel in a new Apple Thunderbolt display. This is however subject to the hardware’s ability to handle such resolutions.
iOS 6 concepts suggest that increasing the resolution to such high numbers might bring along a few challenges. Apple might increase display resolutions on its Mac computers by a smaller amount when compared to present iOS devices. Most Mac models already offer pixel densities of 100 to 130 pixels per inch or PPI. Increasing that to a 160 to 170 PPI might be a challenge and is the benchmark to qualify as retina display.
The icons and fonts which you see on your screen do vary in physical size based on the machine you might be using. However most software and programs are designed to run a seamless display within the 100 to 130 pixels range. If we were to move to a 160 to 170 ppi range the icons and fonts on the screen would be too small for users to work with. Updating all the programs to make them compatible with this high resolution could take a long time thus leading to compatibility issues from the outset. Otherwise the elements can be scaled to the same physical size which you find on lower resolution displays. This would however defeat the purpose as the image quality would inevitably be affected.
Apple can actually turn to using the pixel doubling motif on larger Mac displays without the need to quadruple the number of pixels and add strain to the hardware. This could however lead to a smaller workspace for users. For instance, rather than upgrading the current Mac display of 2560×1440 on the 27 inch Mac to 5120×2880, Apple could get away with a 3840×2400 display which would present a retina display workspace of 1920×1200. This can however annoy users as the icons and elements displayed on the screen would be smaller compared to what they use at present.
So once again Apple seems to be ahead of time with technologies that current hardware might not be capable to handle. They will face challenges no doubt however the company seems committed to make the transition. The OS X Lion and Mountain Lion seem to be already equipped to take advantage of the retina display. What is left to be seen is how Apple can pull off this technological home run.
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