We’ve all been reading rumors about Retina displays for Mac since December 2011, and with the arrival of the new iPad with a retina display, the updates to the current OS X (Lion to include @2x icons) hardware specs aiming for graphics with very high resolution capabilities. It’s no wonder why the rumors make sense. WWDC 2012’s icon displaying the tons of screens representing iPhones, iPod Touch and iPads is another hint.
From a developers point of view and looking at the resolutions of iPhone 4/4S and iPad (3rd gen) we’re some trouble designing for retina iPad with a resolution of 2048×1536 which is higher than any display smaller than a 30″ apple cinema display to show the entire view of the retina iPad. We’ve having to design for a 1024×768 resolution on our MacBook Pro 17″ or a hi-res MacBook Pro 15″ (with 1680×1050, which barely fits the iPad in portrait mode) plenty of scrolling to see the screen, infact designing for iPhone 4/4S’s retina display with 960×640 resolution we’re cramped a little in portrait mode.
When laying out the storyboard in Xcode we’re presented with a 1x design/layout of the iPad and as you add screens and views the display again feels cramped and you have to keep zooming out and then back in and eventually we start using the sidebar for the storyboard.
The iPhone is also displayed in 1x when laying out the storyboard and as you add more screens you start scrolling a lot (which is much easier when using a mouse or touchpad thanks to the gestures)
A retina display mac would rightly be in place as it’ll let the user display the entirity of the iPad or iPhone display as we’re testing the app we’re building in the iPhone Simulator and wouldn’t have to switch between retina and regular.
As rumored a 15″ MacBook Pro would have a retina resolution of 2880 (reg. 1440) x 1800 (reg. 900) which would easily fit a retina display of a retina iPad (2048×1536) in landscape but not so much in protrait thats where the higher res (1680×1050) 3360×2100 would be perfect to display a portrait retina iPad and portrait retina iPhone along with the ability to layout storyboards with out a lot of scrolling.
And if they continue the tradition with a 17″ MBP with 3820*2400 would make it a blast to design clean UI for the retina displays.
So I’m looking forward to these new MacBooks with sick retina displays and beefy graphics from nVidia.
Update: I just noticed in the iOS Simulator that I can use the scale-down feature when simulating using the retina display modes by up to 50%. They did think of everything 🙂