Mac OS X Lion Building in Support for Super High Resolution 'Retina' Monitors

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Today, Apple seeded Mac OS developers with the first preview of Mac OS X Lion. Apple has outlined a number of new features such as new Mail client, document Versions, and much more.

But one particularly interesting under-the-hood change that we've learned about is an evolution of Mac OS X's "resolution independence" features. Resolution independence has been a long talked about feature that would eventually provide support for high DPI (dots per inch) displays. While there has been the beginnings of support for it starting in Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) and into Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), full support was never realized. In Mac OS X Lion, however, references to Resolution Independence has been replaced with a new system that could pave the way for these super high resolution "Retina" monitors.

Taking cues from iOS, Apple has reportedly built in support for what it calls "HiDPI display modes". These HiDPI modes allow developers to supply 2x-enlarged images to support double-high resolution displays. Like the iPhone 4's Retina Display, this means that user interface elements will remain the same size, but everything will be twice the resolution and therefore twice as detailed. For example, instead of a 1440x900 pixel 15" MacBook Pro, you could have a 2880x1800 pixel 15" MacBook Pro. All the screen elements would be the same physical size as elements on the 1440x900 display, but with a much higher level of detail. Developers would simply need to provide 2x-resolution images for their user interface elements, just like on the iPhone to support its high resolution Retina display.

This new system seems far easier to support than the previous system which tried to support an arbitrary number of resolutions with elements described in vectors or multiple bitmaps. So, it's easy to see how this could pave the way for Apple to start releasing monitors and notebooks with double-resolution displays. There has already been talk about iPad-sized Retina displays which would have 2048x1536 resolution on a 9.7" screen. It's not hard to imagine that technology will advance enough in the next couple of years to allow for similarly dense laptop or even desktop displays. HiDPI modes are not enabled by default and must be enabled in Lion's Quartz Debug.

Article Link: Mac OS X Lion Building in Support for Super High Resolution 'Retina' Monitors
 

Rudy69

macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2009
655
802
Am I the only one who read about the 15" MBP with a 2880x1800 display and thought I would LOVE to leave the display at a 1:1 resolution (no "retina" bs) and just have more screen real estate? :)
 

KnightWRX

macrumors Pentium
Jan 28, 2009
15,046
4
Quebec, Canada
Am I the only one left on this earth who buys monitors with higher pixel counts to fit more information on the screen, not to make things "sharper" ? I like the way it works now, more pixels = smaller fonts, smaller pictures, smaller everything so more of it shows up.

My MBA still has huge pixels and could use a higher DPI screen and shrink everything so I can display more.

Am I the only one who read about the 15" MBP with a 2880x1800 display and thought I would LOVE to leave the display at a 1:1 resolution (no "retina" bs) and just have more screen real estate? :)
Ah, great, apparently I'm not the only one. There's still hope yet.
 

chrmjenkins

macrumors 603
Oct 29, 2007
5,322
154
CA
Not going to happen without resolution independence. Unless of course you like putting your face on the screen to read it.
 

osx11

macrumors 6502a
Jan 16, 2011
825
0
great.....now we're going to have the retina display discussion for macs as well :eek:
 

Richdmoore

macrumors 68000
Jul 24, 2007
1,808
267
Troutdale, OR
I hope there is some way to work this backwards to previous MacBook pros, to allow for bigger menu bars. The small menubar (due to having a 17 MacBook pro) is an issue with my dad, as he gets older. (His vision is fine, he gets regular checkups.)

Getting old sucks, as he would say.....
 

gorjan

macrumors 6502
May 16, 2009
356
0
CPH
Am I the only one left on this earth who buys monitors with higher pixel counts to fit more information on the screen, not to make things "sharper" ? I like the way it works now, more pixels = smaller fonts, smaller pictures, smaller everything so more of it shows up.

My MBA still has huge pixels and could use a higher DPI screen and shrink everything so I can display more.



Ah, great, apparently I'm not the only one. There's still hope yet.
I'm onboard too. I want more screen real estate, the sharpness of icons and text is good enough for me. If you can read the letters, maybe it's time to get glasses?
 

Apple Corps

macrumors 68030
Apr 26, 2003
2,575
542
California
Not going to happen without resolution independence. Unless of course you like putting your face on the screen to read it.
Per the article:


But one particularly interesting under-the-hood change that we've learned about is an evolution of Mac OS X's "resolution independence" features. Resolution independence has been a long talked about feature that would eventually provide support for high DPI (dots per inch) displays. While there has been the beginnings of support for it starting in Mac OS X Tiger (10.4) and into Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6), full support was never realized. In Mac OS X Lion, however, references to Resolution Independence has been replaced with a new system that could pave the way for these super high resolution "Retina" monitors.
 

Starship77

macrumors regular
Aug 30, 2006
192
20
Man... imagine a 27 inches iMac at 5120x2880 resolution! :eek: :eek:

You would be able to see a 14,7MP picture in 1:1 actual size!
 

profets

macrumors 601
Mar 18, 2009
4,553
4,451
Am I the only one left on this earth who buys monitors with higher pixel counts to fit more information on the screen, not to make things "sharper" ? I like the way it works now, more pixels = smaller fonts, smaller pictures, smaller everything so more of it shows up.

My MBA still has huge pixels and could use a higher DPI screen and shrink everything so I can display more.



Ah, great, apparently I'm not the only one. There's still hope yet.
I'm sure there's even more of us. I wouldn't mind some scaling though. I remember seeing a 30" ACD and thinking how weird the title bar looking being vertically tiny and horizontally stretched across a huge screen.
 

Ubuntu

macrumors 68000
Jul 3, 2005
1,816
151
UK/US
Am I the only one who read about the 15" MBP with a 2880x1800 display and thought I would LOVE to leave the display at a 1:1 resolution (no "retina" bs) and just have more screen real estate? :)
Hmm, not on a 15 inch imo. I think the current 1920 by whatever resolution is fine for a 15 inch, but would only want to see a 2560+ resolution on a 17 inch screen.
 

John.B

macrumors 601
Jan 15, 2008
4,135
646
Holocene Epoch
Taking cues from iOS, Apple has reportedly built in support for what it calls "HiDPI display modes". These HiDPI modes allow developers to supply 2x-enlarged images to support double-high resolution displays. Like the iPhone 4's Retina Display, this means that user interface elements will remain the same size, but everything will be twice the resolution and therefore twice as detailed. For example, instead of a 1440x900 pixel 15" MacBook Pro, you could have a 2880x1800 pixel 15" MacBook Pro. All the screen elements would be the same physical size as elements on the 1440x900 display, but with a much higher level of detail. Developers would simply need to provide 2x-resolution images for their user interface elements, just like on the iPhone to support its high resolution Retina display.
Does anyone know the max resolution for Display Port?
 

exscape

macrumors member
Jul 29, 2008
57
0
I'm onboard too. I want more screen real estate, the sharpness of icons and text is good enough for me. If you can read the letters, maybe it's time to get glasses?
Somewhat ironically, glasses would help against overly small letters, but would NOT help against fuzzy letters.
 

InfoTime

macrumors 6502
Jul 17, 2002
446
226
Am I the only one left on this earth who buys monitors with higher pixel counts to fit more information on the screen, not to make things "sharper" ? I like the way it works now, more pixels = smaller fonts, smaller pictures, smaller everything so more of it shows up.

My MBA still has huge pixels and could use a higher DPI screen and shrink everything so I can display more.



Ah, great, apparently I'm not the only one. There's still hope yet.
I bet you're not yet 40 years old.

By the time you're 50 you'll be glad that manufacturers addressed the dpi issue. I provide support for lots of 50+ year old computer users. Nearly every one of them wants their display set to make the print larger, optimal resolution be damned. It would be nice for them to buy a bigger display and get bigger AND sharper images (not bigger but jaggier).
 
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