Mac OS X Tiger to support resolution independence, larger icons

Posted:
in macOS edited January 2014
The next major release of the Mac OS X operating system will include technology that will eventually grant users more control over the way application windows are displayed to the screen.



According to reliable sources, Apple Computer's Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" OS will introduce developer support for resolution independent user interfaces (UI), breaking the software assumption that all display output is to be rendered at 72 dots per inch (DPI).



The new Quartz-driven technology will soon let users choose between viewing more detail (more pixels per point, but fewer points on the screen) or a larger user interface (fewer pixels per point but more points on the screen) without altering the resolution of the computer's display.



From its inception, Apple's Quartz graphics subsystem was designed to be resolution independent across output devices, allowing content that is displayed on-screen at 72 DPI to be scaled for output to printers of varying DPI.Â*In order to extend this capability to the computer display, developers will need to make slight adjustments to their applications to support a new "scaling factor" parameter.



When a scaling factor is in effect, Mac OS X provides this factor to applications as a multiplier of the base resolution of 72 DPI. Therefore, if the user chooses to display content at 72 DPI, the scaling factor is 1.0. However, if the user chooses to display content with greater detail, the scaling factor may be higher than 1.0.



According to confidential Apple documents, resolution independent UI will not be a user level feature in Tiger, nor will it be exposed anywhere in the Tiger user interface. Instead, the company is providing early support of the technology to developers who wish to prep their applications ahead of time, or implement the feature on an individual application basis.



Documents state that, in future release of Mac OS X, users will be able to set a global resolution scaling factor in the same way that changes to screen resolutions can be made in the system's Displays preferences panel.



In order to support resolution independent UI, sources say that Apple will be updating Icon Services in Mac OS X Tiger to support icons that are 256 x 256 pixel in size. The most recent version of Mac OS X supports icons up to 128X128 pixels in size.



\tIn recent weeks AppleInsider has provided extensive coverage of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Previous reports include coverage of Tiger's Spotlight search, Safari with RSS, Mail 2.0 with smart mailboxes, iCal 1.5.3, Resolution Independent UI and 256x256 Icons, AppleScript 1.10, Installer 2.0, web enabled Help, Fast Logout, Access Control Lists, OpenGL enhancements, adoption of OpenAL, Core Data, PDF Kit, SQLite, and networking-related enhancements.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    zapchudzapchud Posts: 844member
    Nice.



    Too bad that 10.4 won't give the user controls to globally scale the graphics. I'd do it at once.
  • Reply 2 of 28
    n9ytyn9yty Posts: 2member
    Oh Yes!



    This would be an INSTANT justification for the Tiger update, and would bring something to MacOS that've wanted to see since the early days... It's interface is beautiful, but a screen hog... Allowing the users to scale the interface as they see fit would be HUGE.
  • Reply 3 of 28
    Umm, how does this work with a raster based interface? I could see how scaling would be cool with vector graphics, but how would a bitmap magically add pixels if you increased the scale?
  • Reply 4 of 28
    louzerlouzer Posts: 1,054member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by schmidm77

    Umm, how does this work with a raster based interface? I could see how scaling would be cool with vector graphics, but how would a bitmap magically add pixels if you increased the scale?



    Just like what happens now in any graphics app when you change the zoom to 125%.



    Or if that doesn't help, think of Expose. It takes current windows and shrinks them in size, but keeps them live (updated as time passes). So, instead of doing this to windows, just do it to all screen objects, and you've effectively way increased your usable space.



    Too bad it won't be ready until 2008...
  • Reply 5 of 28
    kim kap solkim kap sol Posts: 2,987member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by schmidm77

    Umm, how does this work with a raster based interface? I could see how scaling would be cool with vector graphics, but how would a bitmap magically add pixels if you increased the scale?



    I think there will be a cap on the scale factor just like there is with icons today.



    As long as the graphics scale down well, that's all that matters. Widgets and other UI graphics will have to be updated so that they meet the max scale factor and then tweaked so that they look good at a smaller scale factor. Then we're good to go for another 10 years (assuming the max will be high enough to support monitors between 200 and 300 ppi pretty well.)



    I remember people blasting Apple for adding support for 128x128 icons. Boy were those people short-sighted. Imagine 32x32 icons on 100+ppi screens.
  • Reply 6 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Louzer

    Just like what happens now in any graphics app when you change the zoom to 125%.



    Or if that doesn't help, think of Expose. It takes current windows and shrinks them in size, but keeps them live (updated as time passes). So, instead of doing this to windows, just do it to all screen objects, and you've effectively way increased your usable space.



    Too bad it won't be ready until 2008...






    2008!!!!!!! ????????



    Tiger will be released in the first half of 2005!!!
  • Reply 7 of 28
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    Sounds like it won't be system-wide until after Tiger, but this is still a GREAT direction to move in!



    I bet they beat Longhorn with the full implementation, even if this is only an app/dev thing in Tiger.
  • Reply 8 of 28
    yevgenyyevgeny Posts: 1,148member
    Good move for Apple. Nice to hear that this is coming. Hopefully this means that Apple can one day start shipping 14 inch LCDs with a resolution greater than 1024x768!
  • Reply 9 of 28
    I thought the whole point of this was so that image quality and sharpness would increase as the definition of the display increases.



    If vector graphics were used throughout the system, then the image detail would increase as the dpi increases. This just seems to a way to change the dpi but without any positive benefit in image detail.



    I'm almost certain that this is Microsoft's goal with Longhorn.
  • Reply 10 of 28
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,116member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by schmidm77

    I thought the whole point of this was so that image quality and sharpness would increase as the definition of the display increases.



    If vector graphics were used throughout the system, then the image detail would increase as the dpi increases. This just seems to a way to change the dpi but without any positive benefit in image detail.



    I'm almost certain that this is Microsoft's goal with Longhorn.




    Yes but as we move to 30" LCDs and greater it also allows you to keep your icons and text at a decent size. That's going to be just as important.
  • Reply 11 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    Yes but as we move to 30" LCDs and greater it also allows you to keep your icons and text at a decent size. That's going to be just as important.



    I don't think it would matter in that case. Are the individual pixels getting smaller with the 30" LCDs? I think the issue is going to be with the HD displays that will be comming out in the next few years. As I said, as long as I am scaling the interface to accommodate the increased dpi, I would also like the image detail to increase with it.
  • Reply 12 of 28
    filburtfilburt Posts: 398member
    Woohoo. I hope this means 15-inch PowerBook will finally get 15.4" wide LCD with a choice of 1280x800, 1680x1050, and 1920x1200 resolutions.
  • Reply 13 of 28
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,116member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by schmidm77

    I don't think it would matter in that case. Are the individual pixels getting smaller with the 30" LCDs? I think the issue is going to be with the HD displays that will be comming out in the next few years. As I said, as long as I am scaling the interface to accommodate the increased dpi, I would also like the image detail to increase with it.



    The two should go hand in hand. More PPI should translate into sharper graphics at all sizes. I truly think this is going to be a win/win scenario.
  • Reply 14 of 28
    Quote:

    Originally posted by hmurchison

    The two should go hand in hand. More PPI should translate into sharper graphics at all sizes. I truly think this is going to be a win/win scenario.



    I keep using dpi instead of ppi, whoops.



    I just don't see how detail will increase if they are still using bitmaps throughout the user interface. Raster images don't just magically increase their detail when you increase the ppi, as I've said.
  • Reply 15 of 28
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by schmidm77

    I keep using dpi instead of ppi, whoops.



    I just don't see how detail will increase if they are still using bitmaps throughout the user interface. Raster images don't just magically increase their detail when you increase the ppi, as I've said.




    Well, obviously, Apple isn't forced to use all the bitmaps they have now. They can completely overhaul the way the interface is drawn with impunity at or after Tiger, because there's no public SDK for skins or themes. So I fully expect that Tiger (or some subsequent release) will swap in vectors for the current bitmaps wherever possible. There are some things (icons) which will probably remain bitmaps for the sake of speed or simplicity, but if Apple does this even half right then any bitmap can be swapped with a vector image at any time, and the system simply uses one scaling algorithm instead of another.



    In the meantime, a lot of bitmaps (e.g. on the Web) will be beyond their control, and those are just going to have to look chunky when they're scaled up. Some pixel-pushers might even consider that a feature.
  • Reply 16 of 28
    vinney57vinney57 Posts: 1,162member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by schmidm77

    I keep using dpi instead of ppi, whoops.



    I just don't see how detail will increase if they are still using bitmaps throughout the user interface. Raster images don't just magically increase their detail when you increase the ppi, as I've said.




    Apple UI Widgets will be increased in size (Some are pretty big already. I don't know about you but I never have the disc/folder icons at full size). It will be up to developers to increase the resolution of their custom UI elements.



    Its not about magically increasing resolution, its about having control over the UI presentation that makes screen size/resolution less of an issue.



    Its the future and a very good thing.
  • Reply 17 of 28
    rokrok Posts: 3,519member
    hey, if this means i don't have to try to decipher 9 pixel high palette names in adobe photoshop at arm's length on a 23" cinema display, then i am all for it.



    and i'll fess up... i dogged them for 128x128 icons, but i never imagined an affordable 23" flat panel back then.
  • Reply 18 of 28
    gavrielgavriel Posts: 175member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by coolkamio

    2008!!!!!!! ????????



    Tiger will be released in the first half of 2005!!!




    Yes, but if you read the article it mentions that while Tiger (10.4) will support the feature, versions after that will be the ones that allow the *user* control over its function. That will optimistically be version 10.5 which should arrive sometime in 2007 or 2008.
  • Reply 19 of 28
    hobbeshobbes Posts: 1,252member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Gavriel

    Yes, but if you read the article it mentions that while Tiger (10.4) will support the feature, versions after that will be the ones that allow the *user* control over its function. That will optimistically be version 10.5 which should arrive sometime in 2007 or 2008.



    Yup. And it seems that Apple's moving from a 14-mo. dev. schedule to something closer to a 18-mo. dev. schedule, so.... unless they're preparing something really revolutionary.... 2007 for Tiger's successor would be a good bet.
  • Reply 20 of 28
    I'm still confused to see how this is an amzing new feature...



    maybe its just the way the article is written.



    If we're talking about new types of screens with resolutions of more than 72 then thats fantastic... we can finally design print design that looks as detailed on screen as it does on paper. But the article says that the screen resoution doesn't change... so really you're just zooming in and out of the screen non?



    If that is the case then we already have an example of how this works, if we turn on accessibility zoom functions, you can zoom into the screen. This is actually pretty handy for pixel pushing as previously mentioned!



    Am i just missing the boat completely?

    Niall
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