Retina Air seems unlikely

Discussion in 'MacBook Air' started by Mjmar, May 24, 2012.


Will the next generation MacBook Air have a retina display?

  1. Yes

    64 vote(s)
  2. No

    85 vote(s)
  1. Mjmar macrumors 65816

    May 20, 2008
    Does anybody else think that the retina display will be MBP only for awhile before it makes its way to the Air? There are a few reasons why I'm pretty confident on this:

    1. Cost. The MacBook Air has become the "average user" laptop ever since the white Macbook was dropped from the line. So, cost is a main priority for the Air, and retina displays cost more.

    2. Battery life. Since the Air is so thin and light Apple would most likely be unable to keep the same battery life as the current gen. if a retina display is added into the mix. We saw this with the new iPad, which became heavier, hotter and slightly thicker. If the MBP loses the optical drive, Apple will be able to utilize that space for more battery power, but the MacBook Air has no new space to utilize.

    3. Power. Even though Ivy Bridge is a decent leap forward, it is unlikely that Apple would be able to power a retina display while maintaining the same amount of "snappiness" of the current Air using a ULV Ivy Bridge chip with integrated graphics. And unlike the MBP, the Air probably won't be seeing dedicated graphics anytime soon.

    What do you think? Will Apple be able to overcome these obstacles, or will the retina display be absent from the next generation Air?
  2. Mad Mac Maniac macrumors 601

    Mad Mac Maniac

    Oct 4, 2007
    A little bit of here and a little bit of there.
    I don't know if they will include retina on the MBA but I'm hoping they don't. For the 3 reasons you listed above.

    It seems like Apple had to work so hard to accomodate retina in the new iPad, that I would recommend to my friends the cheaper iPad 2 with a better battery life.

    I would much rather the MBA price drop $100 and increase battery life than go retina and stay the same price and reduce battery life. If you want retina, go mbp
  3. neilpryde23 macrumors regular

    Nov 28, 2011

    According to the article, with IGZO displays, I don't think power consumption for a "Retina" display itself will be nearly as much of an issue as it was for the iPad and its 'retina' screen.

    That being said, however, I could definitely see Apple waiting til Haswell comes out since it's iGPU is supposedly going to be 2.5x's better than Ivy Bridge (Speculation of course).
  4. Dunbar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    If the 13" MBP gets a retina display I can't see it being a cost issue since the MBP starts at $100 less than the 13" MBA. The new iPad got a retina display, more RAM, a larger battery and LTE with no increase in price. I think a full fledged laptop will cope with the higher power demands of a retina display better than a mobile A5X powered device like the iPad. They may have to increase the battery size (and device weight) but there should plenty of space for it in the MBA chassis.
  5. deadwalrus macrumors regular

    Feb 16, 2011
    You miss the fact that the Air's are already 85% "retina": It would be pointless to double the pixels, since it would not make a difference beyond a 10% or 15% addition.

    This chart illustrates how close various Apple products are to being "retina":


    (Futher elaborated in this article.)

    Personally, I would rather have an IPS display with better color and viewing angle. Although an IPS display with 20% more pixels would be ideal.
  6. Beanoir macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2010
    51 degrees North
    Retina in a Macbook?...seriously, are people still buying this junk?

    The pixel density of Apple's "retina" is 326dpi, and if you're holding your iPhone/iPad greater than a distance of about 1 foot from your face (or your eyes to be exact) then you won't even realise the difference, and this assumes the user also has perfect 20/20 you can just about argue the case to install it in a handheld device....just

    But given I assume most MacBook users won't be sitting so close to their screen (unless of course vision is an issue, in which case none of this argument applies anyway) then it's a pointless task for Apple to install such a high res screen in a notebook...

    ...unless of course Apple believes that a high percentage of it's client base buy into the marketing hype and will happily part with they hard earned beer tokens to be the first to get "retina" on their notebook...which is more likely the case and why Apple just might offer a "retina" display in a notebook.
  7. Zeni Xeni macrumors newbie

    May 19, 2012
    I don't see it happening, nor do I believe it's necessary. An IPS display for better viewing angles is sufficient.
  8. jgc macrumors regular

    Feb 21, 2012
    First of all, love the pic of Michael Scott.

    Second of all, I wholeheartedly agree. My current PC has a 15.6" 1366x768 screen and I have NO problems with it. The 1440x900 is a gorgeous display and already a big improvement personally. And the Air being the ultra portable, and with rumours of creating a lower price point product, I don't see a retina display coming into play. I think they'd prefer to have improved battery life and increase its portability than make an already great display even better (arguably). IGZO would make this a non-issue but I don't see that happening.

    As for the iPad 2 comment... I actually just bought one refurbished. Sure, retina would be nice however I paid $319 for the iPad 2 vs. $499 for the iPad 3 with retina display (both entry-level prices). I know battery is similar, but slightly better on the iPad 2 and with a faster charging time, slightly slimmer body due to smaller battery, and avoiding all the QA issues (a variety of screen problems and overheating)... the iPad 2 is worth the savings.
  9. KPOM macrumors G5

    Oct 23, 2010
    ASUS just announced that their Zenbook Prime will have an optional 1920x1080 screen, even in the 11.6" version. I could completely see Apple doing the same.
  10. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    retina display for mac is ********. what i need from a mac laptop is bigger workspace.

    i prefer to have 13" air with 1680x1080 so i have a bigger workspace to work with photoshop.

    13" air with retina means sharper quality images but everything else that not hires look like crap and the most important thing is same screen real estate, so working with photoshop needs a lot of scrolling.
  11. Oli3000 macrumors regular

    Apr 20, 2009
    They won't let ASUS get the jump on them, I'm sure of that!
  12. KohPhiPhi macrumors 6502a

    Feb 9, 2011
    I TOTALLY agree.

    I would much rather have a resolution bump from current 1400x900 to 1680x1080 (more screen real state) than from current 1400x900 to 2800x1800 (more crispiness).

    In my opinion, tons of screen real state trumps ultra-high crispiness. I dont need the fonts to be laser sharp... what I need is to minimize the annoying scrolling!

    If Apple goes Retina in the next update, that would mean that they weight marketing hype over actual customer benefits.
  13. Dunbar macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I disagree that retina on the MBA is a waste. I notice the lack of retina going from my iPad 3 to my 13" MBA. It's not as big a difference as on the old iPhone or iPad but it's definitely not as sharp as the retina displays. If you want more screen real estate buy a bigger laptop...
  14. qijianjonathan macrumors member

    May 10, 2012
    Ann Arbor
    This is really interesting, and I've never thought about it like this before. Thanks!
  15. Moonjumper macrumors 68000


    Jun 20, 2009
    Lincoln, UK
    I think once the transition to retina starts on Mac, they will all have to change quickly to avoid seeming like old tech.

    From some of the rumours, I have a feeling that they will not go down the simple pixel doubling route. Macs are a lot nearer retina than iOS devices previously were, and the way you can scale the doc for instance, means they have some scaling ability in there.

    Better than pixel doubling, would be screens that were over the retina threshold, but included some scaling technology (which is improving massively because of SD content being shown on HD TVs) for clarity. This would allow your own choice for trading off size against workspace.

    Don't forget that Macs are a lot more powerful than iOS devices, which offers a lot more options for how to deal with this.

    If this were possible, I wouldn't be surprised to see a 32" 3840x2160 IGZO iMac (one of the sizes mentioned here: ).
  16. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    I think a lot of people are missing the idea here....

    There's the GUI, menu bar, toolbar etc and then there is the apps data, which will/should be treated differently.

    In the ideal scenario, which currently is used by iOS retina optimized photo apps, the GUI/menus are the same size, just crisper but the photos are pixel per pixel, the real rez of the photo.

    So in an optimized version of Photoshop or Pixelmator, the GUI will stay the same size but the photo will be shown at native pixel per pixel resolution.

    This means less scrolling, the opposite of the quote above. The question is, will this cause more zooming in order to accurately use the editing tools on the tiny pixels?
  17. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    NICE! :D

    yes, it means more zooming equals more scrolling.

    so if apple put retina display on the mac, then we'll be stuck with the crappy screen real estate for the next decade.
  18. spacepower7 macrumors 68000

    May 6, 2004
    I agree with your complaints, I believe a lot of this is up to app programmers. I deal with PC apps and companies often and many still have haven't updated their 2012 apps for Microsofts' windows 7 ( yet limited version ) of resolution independence that came to the public in 2010 or earlier.

    You are going to deal with these issues regardless if it is Apple or MS, and the bigger apps may take longer to adjust.

    I want more ppi on the 13" and all other displays but it's funny when I see self proclaimed tech nerds on theverge and other tech forums that think 1366x768 is good enought on a 15" display.

    You can't please everyone,,,,

    Apple will only do it if and when it makes sense, and as someone that uses the iPad 3 for research many ours a day, it definitely made sense.
  19. ValSalva macrumors 68040


    Jun 26, 2009
    Burpelson AFB
    Retina displays are the future but it's doubtful they will appear on any new hardware refreshes this summer. From what I've heard the HiDPI mode in Lion and Mountain Lion don't work well even on Apple apps such as TextEdit.

    Until OS X is fully baked for HiDPI mode there is little chance of retina Mac Displays.

    I could see HiDPI mode being talked about at WWDC with the goal to get developers on board for either an update to 10.8 or simply waiting until 10.9. By then battery, weight, graphics, and price issues should be improved too.
  20. thewoz macrumors member

    May 26, 2012

    ASUS already DID get the jump on them. And so did Samsung 9 series.

    Why do you need to call it "retina". It's a gimmick.
  21. Mac32 Suspended

    Nov 20, 2010
    I definately don't think retina is a waste. 1400x900 is already a lot for a 13'' screen, at some point these high screen resolutions will be less and less usable - everything will just be too small. If 1400x900 isn't enough, yes, than buy a bigger laptop. I would love to have the retina screen.
  22. thewoz macrumors member

    May 26, 2012
    It will be 1080p and apple will call it Magical and say they invented 1080p and that no one else has it.

    Retina or no, it will be an option to get the higher res screen and apple will charge you 1 arm 1 leg and your first born. So don't worry about it.
  23. aleni macrumors 68020

    Jun 2, 2006
    1400x900 on 13" is not enough. 1920x1080 in 13" is too not good.

    What is the best is 13" at 1680x1080. If this ever put on the mac laptop, this is the maximal resolution and apple can think about for the next couple of years about making the retina display based on the 1680x1080 screen real estate.
  24. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    The technology is not just a gimmick. The issue is that Apple are just trying to coin the phrase "retina" and create a marketing hype for something that is available in many other devices. Most companies are slightly more modest about high pixel densities, whereas Apple want to give you the idea that this is some amazing mac feature.
  25. ixodes macrumors 601


    Jan 11, 2012
    Pacific Coast, USA
    Apple doesn't respond to market trends, other mfgs improvements. Or what the users want. They'd rather dictate, a practice most of their flock reveres.

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