Apple's New MacBook Retina Display--do we need this?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by john_a|5, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. Apparently Apple just announced the new MacBook Pro and its Retina display that is 4 times higher resolution than their current MacBook.
    The new one is 2880x1800px. My current 23" studio monitor--there's is 15.4"--has about a 100/px per inch resolution and if my math is close, the new monitor is 225px/inch or so. That means that to see an image, a movie, my browser buttons, my program menus etc, that everything will need to be in excess of 4 times as large--download size.
    Personally, I am really happy with the resolution of my monitor for retouching and viewing images. I work a lot at 100%--and even higher at times. I think things look fine--what am I missing here?
    The higher resolution means we have to upload significantly larger files--not particularly a good thing--to have them viewed at the same size we see now (my current web images would only be about 2.3 inches wide at the resolution of this new monitor), movies will be at least 4 times the size etc etc.
    Who benefits from this. As programs adjust their interfaces so we don't need to pull out magnifying glasses to see what we are doing, the interfaces will get way too large for current monitors. The service providers will be more concerned about throughput and download volume--higher costs?, most will also need to acquire faster connections--more money--to keep internet response times (how long to load a movie or webpage) at current levels.
    I am all for better resolution in our equipment, but what am I missing with the current technology, who really is going to benefit from these higher monitor resolutions? Are we really at a disadvantage now, I don't think I am, but what am I missing?
  2. No we don't "need" it. After all, much useful work was done on 72 dpi monitors with only a limited color palette. Remember those cool Multiplan™ charts in magenta, cyan, and yellow?
    It's also possible to be too rich, too thin, or too smart. I suppose, though I wouldn't know from personal experience, that it's even possible to have too much bandwidth.
    Plenty of people still participating on this website used to tell us, frequently, that 6MP images could be sharper than images with more native pixies. There's a good chance that they may have been right for what they were doing then.
  3. >>> Are we really at a disadvantage now, I don't think I am, but what am I missing?

    I've never felt being at a disadvantage with respect to post-processing tools.
  4. I'm not certain about this but I think having greater resolution in a monitor is a good thing. When I compare the detail of a print (printed at 300dpi) to what I see on my Mac monitor, the monitor is never even close to the detail I get in the print. Mind you there's other problems too, like a compressed dynamic range in a monitor, but it seems to me that greater resolution will make the monitor look more "print like". Jerry
  5. You might not need it, but the combination of the high processing speed (and turbo boost if it works) and the pretty good graphics chip (very good for a laptop) and the SSD, as well as the display, is likely to make it a pretty powerful graphics workstation, and portable too. And great battery life for the field. Not bad at under 5lbs either, but expensive.
  6. Do we need it? I have two 30" LCDs at 2560x1600. Do I need it? I don't really care. I have the money and love using them.
    There is nothing forcing the original data source to be higher resolution. You can scale it right before displaying. Most modern browsers allow you to magnify the screen. In Firefox I just hit ctrl+ or View->Zoom->Zoom In. Some modern operating systems allow you to magnify a window or the entire screen. When I watch a movie I just hit the "F" key and it zooms it to full screen. Same with an image browser.
    Programs can adjust their interfaces in various ways. If the program is completely pixel based it may have alternate sized icons and can just change the font size so everything still looks fine. You can read these links on how the new Macbook handles scaling.

    Things like SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) are stored as vectors, not bitmaps so you can Scale them to any size you want without losing detail. Apple has been working on a resolution independent system for years but it still isn't finished. This isn't a great link but you can google more.
    Hollywood is already using 4K video cameras (roughly 4000x2000 pixels) 1080p HD video is just 1920x1080. Today 4K televisions cost around $60,000. In 5-10 years they may be under $5K and soon after that $1K and most people will have one in their house.
  7. lwg


    Images and text will be much smoother on the high res screen. I can see the pixel grid on my monitors. I could see it on my old iPhone as well. Since getting the newer iPhone with the retina display I am continually amazed at how crisp and clear even small text is on the thing. I suspect the same will hold true for the new Macbook.
    I really want to get a 30" screen with that pixel density.
  8. I am irreconcilably disappointed in this new MBP. The screen looks amazing - but the computer has nonupgradeable
    RAM and SSD, just like the MB Air! Hopefully by the time I want to replace my MBP they have a better option. By the
    time I finish with a laptop it always has more RAM and drive space than when I started with it, and my current one is
    sporting two drive - a regular HDD and a Maxtor XT hybrid - with the second drive in a special bracket where the DVD
    used to be.
  9. Do we need it? It's almost heretic :) We do need it, and always will always need more. We need 4K displays with little doubt.
    I was head of R&D for 3G Wireless in 1999 (WCDMA). We used to debate if we needed 384Kbps which was the 3G promiss at the time. Now I'm on 4G (LTE) delivering 72Mbps. We think it is not enough. 1Gbps wireless with LTE-Advanced (5G) is really it, well, until 6G comes along.
    The old rule of "is there demand" in business thought doesn't work anymore. The rule is when "technology provides it, the demand comes" and the uses of it are created after it arrives.
  10. After purchasing a 2011/15" quad and dealing with multiple hardware issues and Apple's stellar lack of knowledge & support many times over, I have learned a somewhat, very pricey lesson.

    I had 9 days of down time including a logic board replacement and afterwards the original OEM, included software refused to install. After 2 hours of further phone support, I asked,

    "You mean that I now have a $2K brick sitting on my dining room table?"

    "But it's a very beautiful brick." was the reply.

  11. I'm obviously a latecomer to this discussion, but I picked up a Retina MBP last week and I think digital photography is one of its killer applications.
    In particular, the latest version of Photoshop CS6 defaults to displaying images at 1:1 on the high-res display, and at 220 DPI it has a comparable resolution to a good-sized photographic print from a digital image. Getting in close on that display is like closely inspecting a nearly perfect inkjet print of the image. It's an excellent preview of what a photographic print will look like in terms of detail, much better than zooming in to 1:1 on a lower resolution monitor.
    My criticisms, which are minor, are mostly a matter of the unavailability of a retina-enabled Quicktime Pro or equivalent tools, which is important to me because I'm mostly using the system for CG animation, and often need to convert movies from one format to another.
    To Steven P. who had difficulties with his prior Mac laptop purchase, realize that hardware issues are fairly common among all computer manufacturers, and Apple's customer service is pretty good when compared against their competitors. Yeah, navigating that can be frustrating. Of course, odds are that most people won't have to most of the time.
  12. I've found the screen on the Retina to be its weak point - colour reproduction is just not very good, we've had to plug in an external monitor to do any kind of image processing. The internal monitor doesn't show colour shifts adequately. It's not a question of calibration to make the screen 'neutral', rather that if you make quite large colour shifts to an image in either direction, they don't show well on the internal Retina monitor and are very hard to evaluate. Any other monitor shows the same shifts perfectly well, including my Macbook Pro 17" which has an excellent monitor and is in a totally different class. For the Retina, we've had to go back to plugging it in to an Eizo external, which works perfectly well.
    I had a feeling might be something to do with smaller pixels not being able to transmit the same richness of colour - like some smaller sensors in cameras with very tightly packed pixels (too high resolution aren't good at colour reproduction, but that's just a suspicion.
    Apart from that, the MacBook Retina has been a brilliant computer, absolutely love it. Just wish it didn't have that screen.

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