Thoughts on future MBP resolutions

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by chuges, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. chuges macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2011
    Right now the 13 rMBP has a resolution of 2560x1600 (effectively 1280x800) and the 15 rMBP has a resolution of 2880x1800 (effectively 1440x900). Do you think Apple will eventually increase the resolution of the 13 inch to 2880x1800 and the 15 inch to 3360x2100? The lower effective resolutions of these "professional" machines seems a little out of date, especially when you think about the macbook air (which is less "pro") which already has a 1440x900 resolution.

    I really like the 13 rMBP but the low screen real estate is a pretty big hindrance in my book. Maybe they're waiting for Haswell to drop before increasing the resolution so that there will be more power to drive the extra pixels in day to day tasks? Otherwise I don't see the rational behind giving the supposedly more advanced computers a lower resolution. Or do you think these resolutions are here to stay?

    What do you think?
  2. jclardy macrumors 68040


    Oct 6, 2008
    I would suspect there won't be a screen upgrade until they do the next hardware redesign in 2-3 years. They just started producing the 13" rMBP less than 4 months ago, meaning they will probably build up a supply of the current 13" retina display to get cheaper component prices.

    Have you tried the current machines with scaled resolutions? They still look better than a laptop with that native resolution plus you can easily switch between them. I am currently running my 13" at 1680x1050 and loving it. Only problem I have is that I own Creative Suite 5 which doesn't have a retina update so everything is pixel doubled.

    More likely I think the 13" will end up getting a quad-core CPU at some point, if not the next refresh to improve its status as a "pro" level machine.

    Plus the visual difference would be minor in reality so marketing it would be difficult ("More 'Retina' than before!") But it would allow you to run 1920x1200 scaled on the 13" which would be awesome...
  3. Asuriyan macrumors 6502a

    Feb 4, 2013
    I think the next jump will be a move to 4k, which I wouldn't expect for several more years (probably at least 2017)- as stated above, they'll probably stick with the current panel for a few years to get the prices down and supply up. I do think the scaling will improve a lot in the next couple of OS X releases, even for existing models. You can already grant yourself quite a bit more real estate, but the performance hit makes it kind of questionable- better optimization of their scaling software will mitigate this.
  4. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    Technically you can use scaled HiDPI modes on rMBP 15" and 13" which on a *true* retina display *should* look clear.

    Buy yeah, i think the Hi-Res retina would be the optimal resolution, since rMBP *can* run scaled resolution with no problems it's just a matter of display PPI.

    and 257 PPI seems reasonable enough. Or trying to remove the bezel, increasing screensize to 15.6 or something...


    update to CS6, it works so much prettier on retina updates apps.
  5. chuges thread starter macrumors member

    Oct 31, 2011
    Yeah I think scaling the resolution is one solution for right now, but it's not quite as clean+clear compared to what you would get if the native resolution was larger to begin with. And I don't think it works as well for non-optimized applications that have to rely on pixel doubling. Still can't really figure out their rationale for keeping effective resolution below the Air. Though I can see them doing a silent screen resolution upgrade in the future...I'm guessing only techies would be interested and care enough to notice
  6. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    I have no idea what do you mean by 'effective resolution'. By utilising supersampling, the rMBP can emulate resolutions up 1920x1200 - and still look 'better' than a native 1920x1200 screen. Will the image quality improve if the PPI of the screen improves? It all depends on the viewing distance. If we assume that the current display is really 'retina' (which I personally don't believe), then no PPI increases will bring any noticeable effects. All in all, I think that they will increase the resolution at some point when the technology becomes more accessible, but right now there is no real incentive to do so.
  7. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    I think that people just don't feel okay using "simulated" resolutions and wish for an effective area with 4:1 mapping.

    i.e. in photoshop, to have 1:1 pixels in 1680*1050. I can understand that
  8. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    But thats exactly the fun thing. What is a difference between 'real' and 'simulated' anyway? If the pixels are so small, the whole concept of physical resolution starts to loose its meaning. After some threshold it does not matter if there is an integer ratio between the virtual pixel and the real pixel - as nobody will be able to see the pixel boundary in the first place. And here it does not matter whether one pixel of the photo directly maps to one physical pixel or the whole thing is offset on the sub-pixel boundary (as long as pixels are interpolated). Is the current retina display technology that far? No idea. But its not that far off.
  9. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    I'm well aware of that actually. The retina display is a first since introduction of computer LCD that makes non-native resolutions feasible and as good as on CRT.

    I for example, sit dangerously close to the screen, so at scaled 1680*1050 I can *spot* the imperfections.

    If you ask me, once they go 1680*1050*2, they're pretty much where they want to be.

    It still feels a little *dirty*, using scaled resolution, you know? But I think that's *only* for the people that actually know what's going on :)
  10. MacKid macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    Apple has settled onto 1440x900 as the sizing for UI elements that they like for 15" notebooks. I think if they were willing to suck it up and go with higher resolutions, they would have done so during these last few years, when cramming a 1920x1080 into anything and everything became fashionable.
  11. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    That's true. Else they would have made 1680*1050 standard.
  12. Krauser macrumors regular

    Jan 19, 2009
    Having heard all the talk of how Retina resolutions scaled on the machines looks subpar comparatively, I was curious to see how they looked in person. In reality, there's not much of a discernable distance, and almost an impossibly small difference when sitting at normal viewing angles, between the "best for retina" settings and the other larger scaled resolutions. As a matter of fact, the scaled resolutions still look as good, if not better, than native panels at that resolution anyway, and while they might not be as good as the best for retina setting, there's no arguing that they still look excellent anyway.

    I'd be more concerned about the performance hits from scaling resolutions than the actual quality of the image. It seemed to make the machine stutter a little bit more and have a slightly more noticeable lag with regards to the interface, at least when being rendered by the HD4000.
  13. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    I have to disagree with this.

    I was in the St John's Center Apple Store 2 weeks ago, and put my Late 2011 17" MBP (Anti-glare) right next to a 15" rMBP scaled to 1900x1200.

    Yes, the colors on the Retina were much brighter than on my Anti-Glare 17" MBP, but when I pulled up a project in Eclipse on both machines, the text on my 2011 MBP was noticeably clearer. Not by much, but it was enough for me to walk away.

    I really hope Apple brings out a Retina 17" by 2015 - I don't want to have to buy a Razer Blade when my AppleCare runs out.
  14. leman, Mar 1, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013

    leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Are you sure that Eclipse was not getting pixel-doubled? I don't use Java, but Xcode and Textmate are much sharper on the rMBP than on anything else I have seen.

    P.S. I just downloaded Eclipse and tried it out - it definitely gets pixel-doubled. The whole application is rendered in low-DPI mode and this is why it looks blurry. I always thought that SWT uses native OS X controls so it should work seamlessly. Not sure what the problem is.

    P.P.S. This shows a work-around: Unfortunately, it does not work 100% - some areas are still blurry and the resize performance is abysmal (I guess the layout manager in SWT is rather poorly coded).
  15. Ploki macrumors 68040

    Jan 21, 2008
    Retinizer sometimes work. I used that on Max/MSP. It's still not perfect but at least text is sharp.

    It's technically not possible for *text* to look better on a 1920*1200 display at the same relative size.

    retina represents text @2880*1800 effective resolution means text gets around 50% more effective pixels for rendering. The only thing that might be impacted is artwork. As with artwork that gets mapped 1:1 on the retina, you actually get *less* effective pixels for it on a downscaled version of 1920*1200.

    And you can see that if you move your head unbearably close enough to the screen. And only then. It's not like you can work in photoshop/illustrator pixel perfect without zooming in anyway, pixels are way to small.
  16. MacKid macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    Let's be honest, you aren't going to buy a Razer Blade for any reason. Unless you need a $2,500 conversation-starter a party, I guess. It'd be cheaper to buy a rare breed of african cat, or something.
  17. Pentad macrumors 6502a


    Nov 26, 2003
    That is just not right. I do a lot of programming on my MBPr and it is the best notebook for programming. Period. I too use Eclipse, Visual Studio via Parallels, NetBeans, Xcode, and Dreamweaver and the MBPr is a programmers best friend.

    The screen makes reading through code so much nicer. It is like reading text on paper.

    Testing in a store is just not the same as using it in a real world settings. I have had my MBPr since August and I could never go back to programming on a standard LCD display. You truly have to do some work in an IDE (in this case) to really appreciate the difference.

    I will bump the resolution to 1680x1050 for an application or IDE that has a bunch of windows that I need to see.

    I believe that Apple will release a 17" MBPr in the future. If you follow the display technology sites, retina panels are getting better and more cost effective. A viable 17" MBPr isn't that far off.

  18. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    Absolutely, a 17" rMBP would solve my problems nicely. Granted, I'm a couple of years out before I need to worry about it.

    MacKid, yes - I need a portable, powerful system for the work I do. The 17" MacBook Pro is almost perfect. If they had simply moved to Ivy Bridge and continued with the Antiglare screen, I would have purchased it new, instead of going second hand.

    The only system I've found comparable to the 17" MBP in portability/power is the Razer Blade (2nd gen, obviously).

    If in 2 years Apple has not released a new 17" MBP, then I will be forced to go with whatever iteration of the Razer Blade is out at that point. And honestly, I'll be sad to do it!
  19. MacKid macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    If you need to spend $2500 on a 17" laptop, there are far better options, or at least options that don't cost $600 more than they're worth, like the Razer Blade.

    If what you're looking for is performance, the rMBP outperforms the Razer Blade.

    If what you're looking for is portability, the rMBP is lighter, and smaller in every dimension.

    If what you're looking for is a 17-inch screen because that makes you feel like a professional at the professional workstation for professionals :rolleyes:, you should still get an rMBP because you can get a 1920x1200 when you need it, and glorious definition when you don't.

    There's literally nothing the Razer Blade does that isn't equal to or worse than the rMBP, except those token physical two inches. You'd be better off spending the same amount of money at HP or Dell.
  20. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    Same resolution, 15" vs 17", you'll have more screen real estate with the 17". There's no physical way around that, regardless of what Apple may think. Same resolution text, but larger. I can program on my 17" MBP without feeling like I need to sit on top of the keyboard.

    It's simple a matter of ergonomics. I'm not a small guy (230lbs / 6'1") and I NEED the larger system. I'm not nearly as comfortable on a 15" notebook.

    I'd love to know of another quad core i7 class system under 1" thick with full graphics capabilities (minimum 1 GB video RAM) that lets me code for more than a token hour or two on battery power. My research brought me to the 17" MBP and the 2nd generation Razer Blade. Considering I got my 17" MacBook Pro for $1100 less than a new Razer Blade, I feel very good about my purchase.

    Another note, why does everyone bandy about this "omg professionals don't NEED 17" laptops" as thought it somehow nullifies anyone's desire to have a larger laptop? Ergonomically, a 17" laptop fits me just as a 15" would fit someone that's 5' 8" / 200lbs, or a 13" fits my wife so well (120lbs / 5' flat)

    Now take my buddy Carl, who's 6' 7", every bit of 380lbs. Tell him to work on a 15" laptop. He used a freaking XPS M2010 (yeah, THAT'S the kind of person that bought them) up until recently, when he upgraded to an m18x-R2, and he thinks that the 18" system is too small for him.

    Just because *you* don't believe a 17"+ necessary, please refrain from telling others what they find necessary in a portable system.
  21. MacKid macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2003
    I didn't tell you not to buy a 17" laptop. I suggested that you not buy an overpriced, underpowered Razer Blade. I almost bought an M18x, and the M17x sounds like it fits your needs (or vanities) perfectly. Again, for every dollar you spend, you can get more performance from any computer vendor than you can from the Razer Blade. You sound familiar with its specs, which is even more confusing.

    If it's battery life you care about, or processor performance, or graphics performance, or portability, the rMBP wins in every respect, and the M17x wins in most.

    The idea that your laptop screen size needs to scale with the size of your body is funny, though. Maybe in an epic future where we type with our biceps and read text with our pectorals.
  22. leman macrumors G3

    Oct 14, 2008
    Eclipse would still be blurry on a 17" rMBP until they update SWT to support HiDPI rendering.

    And I don't understand your definition of real screen estate. The estate is defined by amount of things you can fit on the screen. Two screens of the same resolution have identical real screen estates. Anyway, the 17" is not coming back. It does not make sense for Apple financially to bring it back. The 15" is faster, more compact and can fit the same amount (or more) of stuff on the screen. Almost nobody would pay $3000+ for a 17" model if they can have the same thing in a more compact enclosure and cheaper.

    P.S. I am a bigger guy than you and I would never choose to own a 17" computer - its just too damn big and heavy. A computer must be functional. But this is of course where personal opinions diverge. I do agree with MacKid though that your notion of 'bigger person needs a bigger computer' is a bit absurd.
  23. Doward macrumors 6502a

    Feb 21, 2013
    I'm not saying a bigger person NEEDS a bigger system - only that a bigger person will likely find a bigger system easier to work with, regardless of resolution.

    Put it this way, I've no interest in using my Optimus G's screen as a mobile workstation. I mean, sure, it's 1080p in under 5" screen, and text is as sharp as can be - but I need more than 5" of screen, period. I define screen real estate simply "how well does the screen accomplish what I need it to do" - it's a combination of resolution and screen size.

    A 1080p 5" screen has less real estate than a 17" 1080p screen, simply because the 5" screen is too small to be truly useful.

    A 17" screen provides almost 15% more physical screen than a 15" screen. That 15% makes for a more comfortable computing environment for me - so why wouldn't I want it?

    A 13" laptop is not comfortable in my lap. A 15" is more comfortable, but a 17" fits me best of all. So yes, my money will go to the manufacturer that produces the product I need.

    The 17" MBP weighs in ~6.7 lbs. If that's too heavy for you to carry daily, I might have to suggest getting out more often ;)

    The Razer Blade packs in more punch, and manages to weigh a hair less than even my current MBP! Do I care to lug around a 1.5" 13 lbs 17" laptop? No, of course not. Would I carry around a 7 lbs 1" 17" laptop? With pleasure!

Share This Page