Three Guys and a Podcast

Three Guys and a Podcast: Apple News & Analysis

April 03, 2012 at 8:41am Pacific Time
by: Karl Johnson
Categories: Mac Applications, MacBook
tagged: retina, display

The Latest iPad, which debuted a couple of weeks ago, now includes a Retina Display. The pixels are small enough on a Retina display that the user can not see them at normal viewing distances. It gives the user a very crisp and sharp display, which is great for viewing pictures, movies and reading text.

How does that compare with other Apple products? The Macbook Air does have a higher resolution option, but it is no where near the pixel density of a retina display. The iPhone 4 and 4S Retina Display have 326 pixels per inch or PPI. The new iPad comes in a little under that with 264 PPI. Generally, people hold the iPad farther away, so the pixels are still unnoticeable. The current MacBook Air PPI comes in at around 130 depending on the screen choice. The MacBook Air has half of the PPI of the new iPad. Will that change soon?

It only took Apple one and a half years to move from a 3.7-inch Retina display to a 9.7-inch retina display. Making the jump to a 11 or 13 inch Retina display should not take as long. Some rumors sites believe we might see a Retina Display on Macs as early as this summer. That is unlikely, as the Mac software is not ready for such a high resolution display yet. Apple is already getting the Mac OS ready by updating the graphics in the next generation operating system code named Mountain Lion. When Mountain Lion comes out, the OS should be ready. The Mac developers are also going to have to update their software to make full use of all those extra pixels, as well as the graphics chip makers. There is still more work to be done to get ready for a Retina Display on the Mac.

The MacBook Air is the best selling Mac right now and it is the one Apple is concentrating most of their efforts on. They have been updating the MacBook Air about every 9 months lately. The next time should come out before Mountain Lion and is unlikely to have a retina display. The next update after that, which should be out in a year, will likely be ready for the high resolution display. Another year gives Apple, Mac developers, graphics hardware and the display manufacturers enough time to get everything in place for a Retina Display MacBook Air.

The MacBook Air is already beating the competition in size, weight, and industrial design in the ultra-light laptop market. When Apple adds a Retina Display to the MacBook Air, it will extended an already big lead. Look for new these new MacBooks sometime around Spring 2013.

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