The problem as I see it is that resolution independence and the support for 2X bitmaps are really two different things. Apple went with 2X bitmaps to simplify things for developers because as you note bitmaps don't always scale well. However that has nothing to do with vector operations and font drawing being resolution independent in Lion.
Originally Posted by Socrates
To say you're "shocked at the ignorance here" is a bit much - I suspect most people who've commented on 2x mode do actually understand it, but it's difficult to explain accurately and completely to non-developers.
I suspect you are being charitable here.
Technically, drawing on Mac OS now supports true resolution independence, but it doesn't work the same way as the old implementation, and it doesn't do all drawing using vectors, which is what a lot of people would assume resolution independence would require.
No that is resolution independence. That is the system draws to gal world dimensions and not to pixels. Bitmaps have nothing to do with resolution independence because nobly in their right mind would depend upon scaling of bitmaps to give consistent results.
For developer with a lot of bitmaps in their products the jump to 2X makes life easier for them.
All existing vector drawing, such as core graphics, OpenGL and text is now resolution independent, but to be honest that's not much of an achievement since they were all vector-based to begin with.
This I have to disagree with, it is a significant accomplishment and something that people have been waiting for for years.
What's new in Lion is support for automatic loading and display of @2x bitmaps, allowing resolution independence for non-vector-based drawing
Well I have to disagree again. Support for 2X bitmaps is not resolution independence in any shape or form. Rather it is providing a way to directly map graphics onto higher resolution screens. In effect the 2X support allows for same size images on a higher resolution screen, the images are not however resolution independent. Rather they are images designed to support specific resolutions.
(which is still what most apps use for user interface widgets, including Apple's apps) with minimal effort for developers.
This is a key point, 2X simplifies things for developers. Well as long as they can easily generate new bit maps as higher resolution versions of the original bit maps.
And if iOS is anything to go by, I think it's unlikely that Apple will support this feature for anything other than 2x resolution (i.e. one virtual pixel mapping to four real pixels) because the the bitmap scaling won't look great for any other scale (although any scale factor is technically supported, including non-integer scale factors).
The whole point of 2x bitmaps is to get around the scaling artifacts that happen when scaling is done aggressively. The problem is that this has nothing to do with scaling of vector drawing in Mac OS.
I'm certain that Apples goals are to keep it as simple as possible for developers. However they very carefully point out in documentation that developers should not assume that 1X & 2X are the only scale factors they will ever see. In fact they go out of their way to make sure that developers know how to get the correct scale factor. The fact that they go to great lengths to tell developer not to assume any specific scale factor is a sign to me that they at least have considered other than integer multipliers. In the end this probably won't be a laptop issue but rather an issue with larger screens.