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What Is A Retina Display? Apple’s New Display Revealed

Apple has announced a new model of the highly popular MacBook Pro series of laptops, the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

The newest and greatest MacBook to date (did I mention insanely expensive too? Starting at $2199) comes with the latest Intel i7 ivybridge CPU, 8 GB of RAM, 256 GB solid state hard drive, USB 3.0 and thunderbolt connectors packaged into a slim 3/4″ thick aluminum body.

The big selling point, however, is the new display called a “Retina Display”, which promises the highest resolution laptop monitor ever made. Basically, resolution is the amount of dots length by width that a display has to make an image. Your typical laptop sold today will be a 1366×768 (roughly 720p) display. Some higher end laptops contain either a 1650×1050 or 1920×1200 (roughly 1080p) display. So what about this new Retina Display? Try a whopping 2880×1800! That’s an amazing 50% more pixels in each direction then the previous maximum laptop resolution.

All of those pixels are packed into a display just 15″ wide diagonally, so the result is a screen which has 220 pixels per square inch. Why is it called Retina Display? Because the human eye can only see a certain amount of detail at a specific distance, and Apple has found that at the typical distance someone sits away from a laptop computer that you will be unable to see individual dots on the screen only perfectly smooth images.

Apple has a fantastic comparison on their site to show a regular display vs a Retina Display at:

http://www.apple.com/macbook-pro/features/ [1]

The Retina Display also features very wide viewing angles (so the colors don’t change as you look from the side or above the screen) and a very high contrast ratio.

What are the downsides to this amazing display? Simply put: Everything is smaller! For example, your 12 point font looks REALLY tiny on a 15″ display, unless you zoom in. Also, most modern software (and Apple’s native applications) will come with support for the Retina Display to “zoom in” the applications, but apps not specifically designed for it will look blurry when zoomed in.

Look forward to this exciting technology to come to more manufactures soon. Apple does not produce their own displays but does often buy up a lot of manufacturing capacity for these advanced products. Still, Apple’s innovations often trickle down to other device makers within a year of release, so expect other devices to feature Retina-like displays in the future.