Rumors of a Mac with a Retina screen have been circulating in the specialized media for quite some time but in the last week they have been revitalized by a persistent breath of fresh air when Bloomberg, ABC News or the Los Angeles Times among others have launched their imminent launch.
So, while everyone is taking for granted that the main new feature of the new MacBook Pro and iMac will be the arrival of the high-resolution, higher-pixel-density Retina displays , we’ve decided to go a little further and look for some evidence to support the rumours of the classic “anonymous sources around the block”.
Mountain Lion and the 3840×2400 pixel monitors
Just this Tuesday the Hardmac people made an interesting discovery in the Mountain Lion beta by finding the clearest reference to date of a Mac with a retinal screen (two to be exact):
This image may sound Chinese to you, but the truth is that it details the configuration parameters of the resolution for external monitors when this is not indicated by the manufacturer. It wouldn’t be so important if it wasn’t for these two lines: 3840×2400 internal 16×10 1920×1200 and 3360×2100 internal 16×10 1680×1050 which can be translated by something like “this is the definition of an internal 3840×2400 pixel resolution screen to provide 1920×1200 pixel output”. That the internal display of this future iMac or Macbook Pro has four times the resolution of the external display points to the characteristic increase in pixel density of Retina displays.
The same file also describes a game support mode that would work at a lower resolution (like the mentioned 1920×1200 pixels) to scale images just before displaying them on screen, making it possible for games to run smoothly by multiplying each pixel by four offering the same current density and preventing our graphics card from burning out.
Not big icons, HUGE!
And if you don’t believe me, click on the image above with a comparison between the new Automator icon in Mac OS X 10.7.4 and that of previous versions. Exactly, as the guys from AppleInsider discovered last week, the icons of some applications like TextEdit or Automator have become in the last update of OS X 1024 × 1024 pixels of resolution, twice the horizontal and vertical resolution of the classic 512 × 512 pixels.
Patents, what would we do without them
Los nuevos iMac y MacBook Pro con Ivy Bridge se dejan ver en Geekbench
Just yesterday, a new Apple patent was issued for user interface design that complements others already filed by the company in January of this year and some time ago in 2004. The patent deals with the specification of user interface elements “independent of the procedures and high screen resolutions” that can be used and consists of storing the attributes of an element for various resolutions in a “recipe” file that allows the operating system and its applications to be viewed with the same size regardless of the resolution of the screen on which they are displayed.
Those of you who have owned an iPhone 3G or 3GS and made the leap to iPhone 4 or 4S know what I’m talking about. Two different resolutions but exactly the same size of icons, bars and other elements of the system interface and its applications. Apple points out in the patent text two typical ways to achieve this: enlarging or reducing the images; but it discards them in front of its system because of the inconsistencies in the width of the lines that define the embroidery of the objects. “If the borders are blurred or poorly defined, the entire GUI design may be compromised” .
Elementary Dear Watson
Seriously, is it just me, or is it nonsense that the new iPad has more resolution than a MacBook pro or iMac? In this side-by-side comparison, you can see how the iPad with its small 9.7-inch screen knocks even the 17-inch MacBook Pro off its feet and rivals the 27-inch iMac in vertical, but not horizontal, resolution.
Some brands such as Toshiba or Viewsonic have in the past marketed monitors with native resolutions of up to 3840×2400 pixels although their price has always been prohibitive even for the most seasoned professionals, and until not too long ago, using them meant adding a good sum for an equally well-equipped graphics card. Time goes by and the stars finally line up, giving rise to the right combination of elements such as lower panels (although probably not so much as to avoid an increase in the price of these future Macs) and increased card power.
And speaking of cards, do you remember the graphics card that the new MacBook Pro is supposed to have? ABC News assures that it will be a Nvidia GeForce GT 650M , which very conveniently is able to support resolutions of up to 3840 × 2160 pixels. Very convenient, right?