Updated UI resources in OS X 10.7.3 may hint at preparations for Mac Retina Displays

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014


The discovery of newly-upgraded high-DPI UI elements in Mac OS X 10.7.3 has led to some speculation that Apple is continuing to lay the groundwork for high-resolution Mac displays that approach the pixel density of its Retina Displays.



John Gruber of Daring Fireball on Monday pointed to a series of Twitter posts (1, 2) outing UI resources that scale to larger sizes in the latest release of Mac OS X Lion, which arrived last week.



The new elements include the pointing-finger cursor in Safari, the "grabby hand" in Mail, and the camera cursor for taking screenshots and a few others. One straightforward reason for the change could be that Apple wanted to improve the look of the Universal Access zoom feature. But, reports from some Mac Mini users outputting to HDTVs over HDMI that upgrading to 10.7.3 caused their system to reboot into HiDPI mode have added to the mounting evidence that Apple is planning for high-definition Mac displays.



Apple added HiDPI modes to Mac OS X Lion last year, but they were previously only accessible by installing Xcode. HiDPI is modeled after the UI resolution doubling that takes place on Retina Display iPhones.





Image enlarged 2X.







Gruber went on to wonder "whether we may be on the cusp of Apple releasing HiDPI Mac displays and/or HiDPI MacBooks. I.e.: retina display Macs." He did, however, add that he has been anticipating "super-high-resolution Mac displays" for over five years, so his speculation should be taken with "a grain of wishful-thinking salt."



Late last year, a rumor emerged that Apple was preparing new versions of its MacBook Pro lineup with double the resolution. The resulting display for a 15-inch MacBook Pro would be 2,880 by 1,800 pixels and is expected to set off "a new round of competition for panel specifications."



Chipmaker Intel has indicated that its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors will support resolutions up to 4K, or 4,096 by 4,096 pixels per monitor. Multiple reports have suggested that the company will launch its Ivy Bridge Processors in the second quarter of 2012, and Apple is expected to begin adding Ivy Bridge chips to its Macs in soon after. Wallpapers as large as 3,200 by 2,000 pixels were also discovered in a developer preview of Mac OS X Lion last year.



[ View article on AppleInsider ]

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Comments

  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Nailed it! Maybe, but at least I'm not the only one with the thought though this is coming quite bit later than I would have expected. Usually these "discoveries" get noted much sooner.
  • tipootipoo Posts: 578member
    Why would the fingers be bent? That just looks odd.



    Is HiDPI any different than the DPI setting in Windows? I have a 1920x1080 15' display in my laptop and by default it was eye explodingly small, but I was able to set the DPI to 125% and everything looks great. From what we've read so far it seems like all visual aspects will still be the same size, just with higher resolution, but what if we want to change the size? Would it support non-factorial scaling?



    Anyways, this is exciting, about time someone pushed the industry forward. Other components (minus maybe batteries) have gotten immensely better over the last few years, but displays have pretty much been stuck at the same resolutions. The only downside to this is games would have to run at non-native resolution, but everything else should benefit. I wonder if the GPU would pull any more juice for regular tasks though?
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,857member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post






    I HATE YOU SO MUCH. I WANT TO THROW YOU INTO A VAT OF MOLTEN ALUMINUM.



    The new pointer is hideous. The old one had such CLASS to it. ONE pixel inset for the curve at the top of the glove. ONE pixel border.



    Not this monstrosity. It looks like an amateur hour map over at the Alternate History forum.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tipoo View Post


    Why would the fingers be bent? That just looks odd.



    Is HiDPI any different than the DPI setting in Windows? I have a 1920x1080 15' display in my laptop and by default it was eye explodingly small, but I was able to set the DPI to 125% and everything looks great. From what we've read so far it seems like all visual aspects will still be the same size, just with higher resolution, but what if we want to change the size? Would it support non-factorial scaling?



    Anyways, this is exciting, about time someone pushed the industry forward. Other components (minus maybe batteries) have gotten immensely better over the last few years, but displays have pretty much been stuck at the same resolutions. The only downside to this is games would have to run at non-native resolution, but everything else should benefit. I wonder if the GPU would pull any more juice for regular tasks though?



    1) They technologies are different but I think it's safe to say they are essentially the same thing.2) MS has been far ahead of Apple in this area for a long time when they released the Windows Presentation Foundation. While not truly RI it did allow for scaling of elements much better than Apple who tentatively promised us RI back in Tiger before removing it from the website, and then basically left it as an unfinished work that you could enable with a PLIST switch.



    3) I now know your real name.
  • tipootipoo Posts: 578member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post




    3) I now know your real name.



    Lol...From my identical comment on Gizmodo, I'm guessing? Who do you post as over there?
  • l008coml008com Posts: 163member
    If they're going to do retina displays and/or resolution-independence, why aren't they replacing these raster GUI elements with vector GUI elements. What a waste of space to have massive png and tif images all over the place when a single tiny eps will do the same job, much better, and much smaller.
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by tipoo View Post


    Lol...From my identical comment on Gizmodo, I'm guessing? Who do you post as over there?



    That's it!



    I use solipsism for all the tech forums I frequent but I haven't made a name for Gizmodo. The comment formatting doesn't lend to any in-depth conversations like on AI.
  • tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 40,857member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by l008com View Post


    If they're going to do retina displays and/or resolution-independence, why aren't they replacing these raster GUI elements with vector GUI elements. What a waste of space to have massive png and tif images all over the place when a single tiny eps will do the same job, much better, and much smaller.



    While I generally agree with the sentiment to go vector... can it truly do that? Is the increase in processing power necessary to do vector stuff WORTH the tradeoff from larger bitmap images?



    For the whole OS, mind. You have to take that into account. Will a vector Time Machine interface run better than a retina bitmap Time Machine interface?
  • solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by l008com View Post


    If they're going to do retina displays and/or resolution-independence, why aren't they replacing these raster GUI elements with vector GUI elements. What a waste of space to have massive png and tif images all over the place when a single tiny eps will do the same job, much better, and much smaller.



    Isn't their processing overhead with vector graphics that make them being rewritten instead of held in memory an issue? I seem to recall that this is why iOS uses raster graphics instead of SVG, but I'm not a developer so I may have misunderstood everything.
  • tipootipoo Posts: 578member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    That's it!



    I use solipsism for all the tech forums I frequent but I haven't made a name for Gizmodo. The comment formatting doesn't lend to any in-depth conversations like on AI.



    Ah, so that must be you over on Anandtech as well.



    But back OT: So, what took Apple so long to get DPI scaling, and why will it still not be user-configurable and rather a simple doubling? I like making things smaller than most people would on high resolution displays, I understand they'd want to double everything by default but hopefully there will be an option for manual scaling.
  • l008coml008com Posts: 163member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    While I generally agree with the sentiment to go vector... can it truly do that? Is the increase in processing power necessary to do vector stuff WORTH the tradeoff from larger bitmap images?



    For the whole OS, mind. You have to take that into account. Will a vector Time Machine interface run better than a retina bitmap Time Machine interface?



    With all of the 30+ FPS 3D rendering games can do in real time, I suspect that rendering 2D UI elements that generally don't move, or move very slowly, would be a piece of cake for modern computer hardware. And with all of the images being tiny, you're also talking about speeding up loading times because the file size savings gets added up among all of the images in an app, and there are many.



    And as far as time machine... I think that's a poor example to cite, because the time machine interface is a horrible, slow, clunky interface anyway that was designed for show and not for use. But that said, just a quick bunch of stars flying by, I imagine that would be awfully easy to recreate with vector images. You wouldn't even need to make it 3D. You could easily cheat and make a 2D plane with stars that slide from the center, off the edge, and get bigger as they go. Because the point of view never moves, 3D would by very easy to fake. But I'd much rather see them build a whole new TM interface that didn't suck to use, regardless of what kind of images it uses.
  • suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,156member
    While we're at it, can you start a rumor about an AppleTV with a Retina Display?
  • cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,151member
    The tweeted HiDPI mode was 960x540 resolution. What's so "Hi" about that?
  • applestudapplestud Posts: 367member
    when did Appleinsider change their name to Apple Blog Regurgitater?
  • l008coml008com Posts: 163member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post


    when did Appleinsider change their name to Apple Blog Regurgitater?



    A long time ago.
  • pnoblepnoble Posts: 9member
    To be more precise 4K is a digital cinema format that depends on the film aspect ratio, e.g.: 3,996 x 2,160 for 1.85:1 (standard widescreen) or 4,096 x 1,714 for 2.39:1 (anamorphic Panavision).



    Meanwhile, Intel, at their 2011 developer's conference, presented a PowerPoint slide showing a 4,096 x 2,304 resolution display: i.e. a standard 16:9 display ratio.



    It is possible that the Ivy Bridge GPU will in theory drive a square 4,096 x 4,096 display.
  • togglemediatogglemedia Posts: 1member
    Do you find the Mickey Hand that Apple released with Mac OS X 10.7.3 is grossing you out. Yes. Here is some much needed relief:



    http://togglemedia.posterous.com/mickey-hand-retina



    Enjoy responsibly.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,836member
    For one the I-Beam cursor seems to have a cross hair in it. At least the definition of it is sharper on my 2008 MBP. There also seems to be difference in font handling in Safari.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    I HATE YOU SO MUCH. I WANT TO THROW YOU INTO A VAT OF MOLTEN ALUMINUM.



    The new pointer is hideous. The old one had such CLASS to it. ONE pixel inset for the curve at the top of the glove. ONE pixel border.



    Not this monstrosity. It looks like an amateur hour map over at the Alternate History forum.



    It isn't that bad, looks like OJ's glove. Speaking of which the J in OJ is looking a bit different too. Need to go check my default settings, maybe the upgrade changed things.
  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,836member
    While you are right in one sense, the use of vector images should be preferred, the fact is sometimes it is just easier and far more performant to use raster images. Especially if you can make use of hard are support for cursors.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by l008com View Post


    If they're going to do retina displays and/or resolution-independence, why aren't they replacing these raster GUI elements with vector GUI elements. What a waste of space to have massive png and tif images all over the place when a single tiny eps will do the same job, much better, and much smaller.



  • wizard69wizard69 Posts: 11,836member
    But it also isn't afraid of raster graphics where it makes sense. Processing overhead can be an issue with vector graphics depending upon the GPU. But even a GPU has advantages when it comes to handling raster graphics in some cases using hardware that directly works with things like cursors.

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


    Isn't their processing overhead with vector graphics that make them being rewritten instead of held in memory an issue? I seem to recall that this is why iOS uses raster graphics instead of SVG, but I'm not a developer so I may have misunderstood everything.



    I'm not sure if the characterization that iOS uses raster graphics is technically correct, the fact is that the OS and apps have access to a mix of methods depending upon the suitability for the app. Many iOS apps are largely vector based.
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