Why do non-retina apps look like crap?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by BiggAW, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. BiggAW macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #1
    Why do non-retina apps look like crap on the iPad 3? It seems to me they should look just like they would have on an iPad 2. I also wonder why some magazines haven't updated their apps yet for Retina. There's a couple of magazines I want to get, but I can't subscribe because they look horrible without Retina.
     
  2. darngooddesign macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2007
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    #2
    Did you contact the app and magazine developers?
     
  3. defc0n1 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    #3
    That's because you need to download RetinaPad from Cydia.:cool:
     
  4. Kolmogorov macrumors member

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    Apr 16, 2011
    #4
    Because you break one pixel into four, these four pixels have gaps between them. You don't get the same image even these four pixels are displaying the same color.
     
  5. Beta Particle macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    #5
    Rather than using nearest-neighbour resampling, most apps seem to be using something like bilinear resampling. This might be better for images, but looks really bad for UI elements and makes text appear fuzzy.

    Even if an app were using nearest neighbour resampling, which should technically look the same, due the the higher density display, there is no obvious grid overlaid on the display which helped mask just how low resolution it is.
     
  6. takeshi74 macrumors 601

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    Feb 9, 2011
    #6
    Same reason SD looks awful on HDTV's. While some scaling is better than others, scaling generally looks awful.
     
  7. Redjericho macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2011
    #7
    I agree with you, but I made this judgement months ago and got blasted by down votes and people telling me it would look the exact same on the iPad 2. I thought my device (or eyes) were broken.
     
  8. ThatsMeRight macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2009
    #8
    They look the same as on the iPad 2, but because you are so used to 'retina quality' you'll immediately see the difference (whereas on the iPad 2, everything is low-res (including springboard) and than you are less likely to notice the blurry-ness).
     
  9. Beta Particle macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2012
    #9
    It's not really the same. With SD, you're scaling from 720×240 images that need deinterlaced (either to 240p or 480p) and then scaled up to 1920×1080.

    With the iPad, you're scaling from 1024×768 to 2048×1536, which is an even 4× and trivial in comparison.

    The problem is not the scaling, it's the type of scaling that Apple chose to use. Essentially, it results in non-retina apps being filtered. I took a photo of the Korg iMS-20 app running on my iPad 2 at 1024×768, then sent over a screenshot of that to my iPad 3 and took a photo of it. Finally, I took the 1024×768 screenshot and scaled it to 2048×1536 using Nearest Neighbor resampling in Photoshop, and took a photo of that on the iPad 3.

    Be sure to click these images to open them in a new browser tab and display them at 100% ("magnified") size for comparison.

    iPad 2 photo:
    [​IMG]

    iPad 3 photo:
    [​IMG]

    Nearest Neighbor scaled image displayed on iPad 3:
    [​IMG]


    Note how the Nearest Neighbor scaled image looks virtually identical to the iPad 2 one, except the grid over the image is all but eliminated due to the higher pixel density.

    This is what I mean when I say that the iPad 3 could look almost the same as the iPad 2 when running non-retina apps, though the additional clarity due to the higher pixel density could make the lower resolution of these apps more apparent than it is on the iPad 2 itself. (the grid can help mask the low resolution)

    Instead, Apple chooses to filter apps by default, which can work well with images; notice how edges on the dials smoother, and there's no blockiness on the red light, but looks awful with fine details/text; see how soft/fuzzy everything else looks.

    Most of the apps I use on a regular basis have now been updated with retina support, but I'm sure that at least some of them used to render with Nearest Neighbor scaling rather than being filtered. I'm not sure what the reason for this is, but personally I feel that Nearest Neighbor scaling should have been the default, and filtering your app should have been optional. iPhone apps running on the iPad generally seem to render this way, so there's no reason they couldn't do that with iPad ones, or make it a system-level preference. I suppose that's too technical an option for Apple to give people…
     
  10. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #10
    I need to go ahead and do this. It's really, really annoying.

    Interesting.

    What I was about to say, but better said.

    Great explanation! Thanks. Good to know that there are some good posts still in this forum aside from the rampant fanboyism. :)
     
  11. BiggAW thread starter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #11
    Done. First time I typed more than 1 line of text on the iPad. Fastest chicken pecking I've done since the Windows 3.1 era!
     
  12. PrayForDeath macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2012
    #12
    Thanks for the explanation. I don't entirely understand your post, but I'm glad to see someone else who thinks non-retina apps on new ipad look worse than they do on ipad 1/2.
     

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