Retina Displays Also Coming to Next-Generation iMac


Joanna Stern from ABC News claims that not only the MacBook Pro family but also the iMac line is set to gain ultra high-resolution "Retina" displays.

The laptop will see the introduction of the “Mac Retina Display,” which is said to have a very high resolution. ABC News has similarly heard from its own sources that both the next MacBook Pro and the iMac would be getting very, very high-resolution displays. Apple refreshed its new iPad with a Retina Display in March.

It seems natural that Apple wants to move all its displays to the retina standard. But, it’s unclear, how Apple will implement the increased resolution given that most Macs already approach Retina resolution at typical viewing distances.

Many have assumed that Apple will follow the model used in the iPhone and iPad, doubling the resolution in each dimension with a screen carrying four times the pixels of its predecessor. But as screen sizes get even larger, quadrupling the number of pixels starts to bump up against the hardware capabilities of graphics chips and display interface standards.

The 21.5-inch iMac would see a pixel count in the range of the 17-inch MacBook Pro as its 1920x1080 resolution would be bumped to 3840x2160, but the 27-inch iMac would move from its current resolution of 2560x1440 to a monster Retina display at 5120x2880. The same panel could also be used in a revised Apple Thunderbolt Display should hardware be able to support the resolution.

Apple, however, could increase display resolution by a smaller amount than seen on iOS devices. Moving to something in the range of 160-170 ppi, for example, could result in user interface elements becoming too small for users to click on with ease unless applications are specifically updated with new elements designed for that pixel density range.

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