Monthly Archives: May 2012

What TechCrunch Doesn’t Get about Retina Display MacBooks

This post in TechCrunch about the rumored/expected retina display MacBook Pros is incredibly stupid.

The first question is, in short, why do we need a Retina MacBook? Presumably it would be a superior experience for video and photo editing and offer designers far more real estate on a large screen, especially when viewing photos at lower resolutions. As evidenced by the iPhone’s Retina display, gaming will become considerably more compelling. This presupposes a rich and vibrant OS X gaming ecosystem.

via Begun, The Retina Wars Have | TechCrunch.

I love my iPad’s retina display, I’m holding off on my next MacBook in the hope/expectation a “retina” display will be available, and I’d love a “retina” monitor at my desk, but WTF is Biggs talking about?

“Retina displays” are awesome for text, and other fine detail. The resolution is also nice for UI elements, but the limitation on how densely you can pack controls isn’t display resolution, it’s Fitts’ Law. For photos and other continuous-tone images, its nice, but less important. For moving images, I think its low value, just look at how crappy a single still frame from an HD video can look to see how much the brain filters out. For 3d games, well, it might reduce the need for anti-aliasing, but game developers will often sacrifice resolution for frame-rate and other aspects of visual quality when the 3d hardware isn’t up to the task, so I question whether it is a big win.

In short, a retina display macbook will be awesome, but not for the reasons John Biggs thinks.