Resolution Independent Mac OS X Leopard?

robbieduncan

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Jul 24, 2002
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I can't get the link to load but Apple publically told developers (I'm not an ADC paid member, it's right there in the docs) that 10.5 would support resolution independent displays LAST YEAR when 10.4 was released. Developer accessable support is in 10.4 (you can turn it on via Quartz Debug).

2004 page from Apple.
 

Chundles

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Jul 4, 2005
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mkrishnan said:
In the long run, this feature, together with a continuing increase in pixel density, is going to be amazing for user interfaces. :)
I want my next Mac to be a 13.3" MacBook with a 1920x1200 screen. Res Independence makes it not only possible but a fantastic thought that I could see native 1080p HD video but not have to squint to see the menus etc.

Bring on 10.5! Gonna be a great ride towards WWDC and the release when it happens.
 

sunfast

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Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is the implication of resolution independance? How is it any different from changing your screen size (like you do in windows - never tried it in OS X)?
 
sunfast said:
Excuse my ignorance, but what exactly is the implication of resolution independance? How is it any different from changing your screen size (like you do in windows - never tried it in OS X)?
At the moment, when you change your resolution to something higher, it makes all of the stuff on the screen appear smaller. Resolution Independence mean that items on the screen will appear sharper and clearer, without changing in size.
 

sunfast

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I see! That sounds really awesome - I understand why people are getting excited about it. Can we expect small panels to have higher resolutions once this is available?
 

mkrishnan

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Jan 9, 2004
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Chundles said:
I want my next Mac to be a 13.3" MacBook with a 1920x1200 screen. Res Independence makes it not only possible but a fantastic thought that I could see native 1080p HD video but not have to squint to see the menus etc.
Exactly... I'm really hoping OSes that do this (and especially OS X) will break the deadlock quickly and spur screen manufacturers to make screens like that available to OEMs, so that soon, a MacBook can have one of these. :)
 

dpaanlka

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Balli said:
At the moment, when you change your resolution to something higher, it makes all of the stuff on the screen appear smaller. Resolution Independence mean that items on the screen will appear sharper and clearer, without changing in size.
What if you want everything smaller in order to have more space.
 

mkrishnan

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dpaanlka said:
What if you want everything smaller in order to have more space.
That's the whole point...if the OS display and interface are resolution independent, an application can be designed one time in an easy way so that it can be adjusted to be how Balli wants it or how you want it. Right now, the designer has to make a choice with graphical elements, and satisfy you or him/her, but not both of you.
 

dpaanlka

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mkrishnan said:
That's the whole point...if the OS display and interface are resolution independent, an application can be designed one time in an easy way so that it can be adjusted to be how Balli wants it or how you want it. Right now, the designer has to make a choice with graphical elements, and satisfy you or him/her, but not both of you.
From what I've been hearing, it sounds like a lot of nonsense, extra time, costly development, wasteful use of computer resources for not that much benefit. What's wrong with the way it is? I'm having a hard time picturing how one would use Photoshop or some other pixel-important program with this system.

I'd like to see it in real life because I don't know if what I'm picturing is correct.
 

mkrishnan

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dpaanlka said:
I'd like to see it in real life because I don't know if what I'm picturing is correct.
Well, in the long term... suppose you are photoediting in Photoshop. Right now, you have a 100DPI screen, and a picture that could easily fill the screen at 300DPI. So if you view it in a way that fits the screen, then you only see an interpolation that combines every nine pixels into one pixel, right?

Now, suppose you had a 300DPI *screen*. Today, this would mean that each piece of the interface -- all the buttons, all the menu graphics, and so on, would be 1/9th the size they are now. Are your eyes really that sharp?

What the Res Independent UI allows for is for you to easily work with that screen and get the benefit of the high resolution for your image, and yet scale the user interface elements to whatever you consider a usable size. Granted the user interface elements can also be much prettier since they're at a much higher resolution, but that doesn't help you tangibly.

Another example would be that often, even with a 100DPI screen, if you are reading a text document, you reach a point where you could read the text if it was printed at that size on paper, but because of the screen's resolution limitations, you can't make it out. Again, the res-independent UI allows you to have the best of both worlds in this scenario, with a higher resolution screen and sharper text.

At the other end of the extreme, your eyes may be very sharp, but there are others with special needs who do not have the ability to analyze very small buttons and so on. The Res Independent UI again allows the system to be designed to be capable of accommodating your ability to see sharply and their need for large sizes at the same time, without having to make a compromise on either of your behalfs.
 

dpaanlka

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mkrishnan said:
Well, in the long term... suppose you are photoediting in Photoshop. Right now, you have a 100DPI screen, and a picture that could easily fill the screen at 300DPI. So if you view it in a way that fits the screen, then you only see an interpolation that combines every nine pixels into one pixel, right?
Except on many occasions I'm zooomed wayyyyyy in so piexls appear exponentially larger than they really are. How will this handle that?

mkrishnan said:
Another example would be that often, even with a 100DPI screen, if you are reading a text document, you reach a point where you could read the text if it was printed at that size on paper, but because of the screen's resolution limitations, you can't make it out. Again, the res-independent UI allows you to have the best of both worlds in this scenario, with a higher resolution screen and sharper text.
Starting closely at tiny backlit text doesn't sound very appealing for the eyes. I imagine I would zoom closer into a document to see text that is 8pts. In this case, 300dpi would still not do me any good.
 

mkrishnan

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dpaanlka said:
Except on many occasions I'm zooomed wayyyyyy in so piexls appear exponentially larger than they really are. How will this handle that?
It probably won't substantially impact that situation. But in general, you'll see much better detail at most zooms. I'm not going to argue into liking it. But I think that when it happens you will....
 

odedia

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robbieduncan said:
I can't get the link to load but Apple publically told developers (I'm not an ADC paid member, it's right there in the docs) that 10.5 would support resolution independent displays LAST YEAR when 10.4 was released. Developer accessable support is in 10.4 (you can turn it on via Quartz Debug).

2004 page from Apple.
The link is probably dead because it's been digged at http://digg.com and many people are reading it.

BTW, the author of that piece is refering to the promise of Resolution independent UI for Tiger as well.
 

MisterMe

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Jul 17, 2002
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dpaanlka said:
From what I've been hearing, it sounds like a lot of nonsense, extra time, costly development, wasteful use of computer resources for not that much benefit. What's wrong with the way it is? I'm having a hard time picturing how one would use Photoshop or some other pixel-important program with this system.

I'd like to see it in real life because I don't know if what I'm picturing is correct.
You might be going a bit too far, but I do believe that the resolution-independent GUI is over-hyped. The most important change is that the UI elements would be vector graphics rather than the raster graphics (bitmaps) that we have today. Rather than creating each icon in multiple sizes, developers would need to create just one vector-based version of each icon which would scale to any arbitrary size. Rather than concerning yourself with the pixel density of your monitor, you would set the size of your GUI elements in inches, centimeters, picas, or whatever is most comfortable for your vision and sense of aesthetics. Such a GUI would return us to the day when a document displayed on screen was exactly the same size as its printed copy or whatever size you choose.

Make no mistake. Most applications today give you the ability to scale a document to whichever size is most useful. I routinely work on graphics documents at 400% actual size and on text documents at 120% to 150%. The resolution-independent GUI will not have a marked effect on our ability to do productive work. Neither will it cure cancer, end our dependence foreign energy sources, ensure that our favorite reality TV show contestant wins, or end terrorism. However, it will make our computing experience just a little nicer. That's not a bad thing.
 

dr_lha

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MisterMe said:
The most important change is that the UI elements would be vector graphics rather than the raster graphics (bitmaps) that we have today.
Actually this isn't necessary for a resolution independant display, and is most likely not to happen. Most likely is that most things will remain bitmaps, apart from those elements that make sense to render as vectors. Bitmaps can be scaled to fit any resolution, to a limit, in the same way the icons in the Dock get larger and smaller when you have Dock magnification on.

There is a lengthy, but excellent, discussion of this here:

http://arstechnica.com/staff/fatbits.ars/2006/4/23/3720
 

russed

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not to highjack the thread but do you think that when it gets to WWDC they will do a demo and then be able to offer the beta to developers to take away? that would be so cool if so and i think it will have to be necessary with the time scales that are available (as they said it will be ready by the end of the year?)

that will really show microsoft how to develop an OS!
 

MisterMe

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dr_lha said:
....

There is a lengthy, but excellent, discussion of this here:

http://arstechnica.com/staff/fatbits.ars/2006/4/23/3720
I read the discussion. What they are talking about is not such much a resolution-independent display as it a high-resolution-dependent display. Everything under that discussion is predicated on having a 200-300 dpi monitor. Save the higher resolution of the hardware, the differences between today's GUI and that one are, at best, subtle.
 

Catfish_Man

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MisterMe said:
I read the discussion. What they are talking about is not such much a resolution-independent display as it a high-resolution-dependent display. Everything under that discussion is predicated on having a 200-300 dpi monitor. Save the higher resolution of the hardware, the differences between today's GUI and that one are, at best, subtle.
Scaling between a few sizes of bitmaps is not difficult; icons already work that way in OSX. So it would be high resolution support + being able to modify things' size the way you want within certain bounds. In my opinion, resolution independent display comes down to one single thing:

Text won't look horrible anymore.

100dpi is *TERRIBLE*. Printers were way past that by the time the original macintosh was released. I think this will be the single biggest usability enhancement to general purpose computing since color monitors.
 

dr_lha

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MisterMe said:
I read the discussion. What they are talking about is not such much a resolution-independent display as it a high-resolution-dependent display. Everything under that discussion is predicated on having a 200-300 dpi monitor. Save the higher resolution of the hardware, the differences between today's GUI and that one are, at best, subtle.
You're probably right, but the above article is what Apple means by resolution independant screen, they do not mean that all icons/buttons/graphics will magically become vectors in Leopard.

The difference to the man on the street will be minimal.
 

Eric5h5

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Dec 9, 2004
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dpaanlka said:
What's wrong with the way it is?
A lot. My 19" CRT monitor will support higher resolutions than the one I'm using, but I have to stick with one that's a little lower than I'd like, because a number of GUI elements just get smaller than I'm comfortable with, and there is currently no way to change that. The close button in OS X is already small enough as it is, for example, and it just gets tinier and tinier as the resolution goes up.

With a resolution-independent UI, as resolution goes up, everything looks SHARPER, not SMALLER. Conversely, the user has the ability to make the entire UI as big or as small as he wants...no more compromises!

Also, you're probably overcomplicating things. Photoshop wouldn't be affected; it would still work exactly the same as it does now. (Except you'd have the ability to make the tool palettes bigger or smaller.) Resolution independence won't save the world, but it will introduce some much-needed consistency and functionality as displays get better.

--Eric
 

savar

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Jun 6, 2003
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dpaanlka said:
Except on many occasions I'm zooomed wayyyyyy in so piexls appear exponentially larger than they really are. How will this handle that?

Starting closely at tiny backlit text doesn't sound very appealing for the eyes. I imagine I would zoom closer into a document to see text that is 8pts. In this case, 300dpi would still not do me any good.
This is a confusing concept. The basic idea is that elements on a screen should not be measured in terms of pixels, but in terms of actual size -- as if you were holding a tape measure up to the screen.

If the menu bar is 1/4" thick, then it should always be 1/4" thick, no matter what resolution you're running in. If you have a laptop with a 1024x768 screen and then you go home and plug into a 30" ACD, the menu bar should still be 1/4" thick. So the OS has to know the dimensions and density of the display device, and color in how ever many pixels corresponds to 1/4" for that device.

Now if that's too small for you (say you're my grandparents), then you can make the menu bar 1/2" thick.

A simple way to think about it: no part of the GUI should ever be raster graphics, it should all be vector graphics. So the scroll arrow can not be a rendered tiff of a scroll bar control, it must be a vector drawing which can be rasterized at any resolution.

When you're in photoshop, that's totally different, because you're looking at rasterized images. When you zoom in on the rasterized image, you're still going to get that blocky, pixellated look, because thats how a rasterized image looks when you blow it up.
 

dr_lha

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Oct 8, 2003
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Savar you should read that Ars link I posted above. There's no good reason why the entire desktop should be vectors and there are many reasons why it shouldn't be. High enough resolution bitmaps can be used to elements that it doesn't matter that they become blocky. Its not likely for example that someone would ever need a 1 foot wide "close" button on their window title, so making a 100 pixel high version and scaling according to the DPI of the monitor is good enough.
 

howesey

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Dec 3, 2005
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dr_lha said:
Actually this isn't necessary for a resolution independant display, and is most likely not to happen. Most likely is that most things will remain bitmaps, apart from those elements that make sense to render as vectors. Bitmaps can be scaled to fit any resolution, to a limit, in the same way the icons in the Dock get larger and smaller when you have Dock magnification on.

There is a lengthy, but excellent, discussion of this here:

http://arstechnica.com/staff/fatbits.ars/2006/4/23/3720
It will be implemented anyway. :)