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

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 
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 ]
post #2 of 32
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.

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"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #3 of 32
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?
post #4 of 32
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.
post #5 of 32
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.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #6 of 32
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?
post #7 of 32
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.
post #8 of 32
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.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #9 of 32
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?
post #10 of 32
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.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #11 of 32
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.
post #12 of 32
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.
post #13 of 32
While we're at it, can you start a rumor about an AppleTV with a Retina Display?

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post #14 of 32
The tweeted HiDPI mode was 960x540 resolution. What's so "Hi" about that?
post #15 of 32
when did Appleinsider change their name to Apple Blog Regurgitater?
post #16 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post

when did Appleinsider change their name to Apple Blog Regurgitater?

A long time ago.
post #17 of 32
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.
post #18 of 32
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.
post #19 of 32
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.
post #20 of 32
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.
post #21 of 32
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.
post #22 of 32
It's not just the UI resources that give it away. Anyone can put their Mac in HiDPI and see for themselves: it works perfectly now, whereas previously it was glitchy, with toolbars looking bad and many other small issues.

I would be over the moon if the next iMac had HiDPI, but I suspect it will just be the laptops for now.
post #23 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

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.

First off, for all the users who are calling it pixel doubling, its actually pixel quadrupling. The space currently occupied by one pixel will now be taken up by four.

As far Windows having scaling that's true only the implementation by developers sucks. It has never been done well because it's a pain in the ass. It's why you haven't seen Apple release it even though it's been there since Tiger. They realized the nightmare in trying to get it done right by ALL applications.

Apples main goal is to make beautifully readable text like on the iPhone. They can't enable the scaling they put in Tiger because everything else will get messed up. So they waited until the technology caught up. Now they can do exactly what they did when the iPhone 4 came out. They quadrupled the iPhone 3GS screen resolution. Now the OS can take care of scaling the fonts which will still take up the same physical size on the screen as before. It will also do the same to graphics. Applications that are retina display aware will create new high resolution icons and the OS will use them instead.

Now applications will look exactly as they do today only with retina display fonts if they are NOT retina display aware yet. For applications that are retina display ready they will have beautiful fonts and graphics.
post #24 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mretondo View Post

First off, for all the users who are calling it pixel doubling, its actually pixel quadrupling. The space currently occupied by one pixel will now be taken up by four.

[...]

Now they can do exactly what they did when the iPhone 4 came out. They quadrupled the iPhone 3GS screen resolution.

It's only a doubling of the resolution but a quadrupling of the pixels. It's easy to make that mistake.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #25 of 32
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.

OS X does have some vector icons. If you want to see, browse to the /System folder in Finder, and type .pdf in to the search box, and make sure "System" is selected in the Search: bar (they store vector icons in PDF files).
post #26 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by mretondo View Post

First off, for all the users who are calling it pixel doubling, its actually pixel quadrupling. The space currently occupied by one pixel will now be taken up by four.


Its quadruple the total resolution, but a 2x scaling in both dimensions, height and width. People are getting that confused a lot, icons will have double the width but quadruple the total pixels for example. So depending on what your talking about, "quadruple resolution" would be correct or "double dimensional scaling" would be, not double resolution, as you said.
post #27 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by tipoo View Post

Its quadruple the total resolution, but a 2x scaling in both dimensions, height and width. People are getting that confused a lot, icons will have double the width but quadruple the total pixels for example. So depending on what your talking about, "quadruple resolution" would be correct or "double dimensional scaling" would be, not double resolution, as you said.

But display resolution is defined by measuring two dimensions so doubling the resolution (e.g.: 768x1024 => 1536x2048) is correct. It's only what talking about the 1 dimensional pixel that we can talk about quadrupling.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #28 of 32
I wondered what the whole bent finger thing was about...

Until I saw this, and it all made sense:



Is it maybe about multitouch, showing how many fingers it takes to complete an action?

And having all the little gloves look as similar as possible is... good, right? Apart from the slight... flaccidity of it, I'm liking the modern look compared to the "old pointer" files linked above.

As for the increasing screen resolution, sounds great.
post #29 of 32
Will they release a non glossy display again? Ever since they EOL'D the Cinema Display I am hoping my screen won't break. For that reason I got Apple Care, but what if it breaks down? I cannot imagine Apple having a large stock of spares...
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post #30 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Will they release a non glossy display again? Ever since they EOL'D the Cinema Display I am hoping my screen won't break. For that reason I got Apple Care, but what if it breaks down? I cannot imagine Apple having a large stock of spares...

They still sell the 30", so they'd swap you out with one of those.
post #31 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilBoogie View Post

Will they release a non glossy display again? Ever since they EOL'D the Cinema Display I am hoping my screen won't break. For that reason I got Apple Care, but what if it breaks down? I cannot imagine Apple having a large stock of spares...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They still sell the 30", so they'd swap you out with one of those.

There are other vendors with DP/mDP matte displays that are nice. Getting one with TB and all the ports in the back is likely tough, but I'm thinking TB will take off well enough to make that a non-issue soon enough.

"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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"The real haunted empire?  It's the New York Times." ~SockRolid

"There is no rule that says the best phones must have the largest screen." ~RoundaboutNow

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post #32 of 32
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

They still sell the 30", so they'd swap you out with one of those.

But that's only refurbished, not new. Whilst Dell still sells the 30" which has the same panel.
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