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Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
2005-02-16, 01:00

The problem is that it would look really crappy to use a non-native resolution. The only way around bad-looking pixel interpolation is to run the LCD at exactly one-quarter of the native resolution, therefore having four physical pixels serve as a single pixel on the screen. On a 1920x1200 screen, that means it'll look good at 960x600 as well as 1920x1200. Obviously, 960x600 is too low a resolution for normal work.

Obviously you can run it at a lower, non-native resolution, and the screen may even become more readable as a result. But you'll lose a lot of sharpness. I'd rather Apple offer it as an option, and allow the buyer to decide whether it's worth the squintyness to get such a high resolution. By the way, I have used one of those Dells with a 15.4" 1920x1200 screen, and it's really bad for text. It's so tiny it becomes difficult to read. Windows has its own form of so-called resolution scaling. but it doesn't do a great job. Basically it resizes all the system fonts and interface elements to be 25% larger or something, but it doesn't work with certain web pages or certain applications, so you're stuck with squinty text even if you enable the option. You really need vector-based interface elements in order to achieve true resolution independence. One thing I will say in the Dell's favor is that the screen was EXTREMELY sharp and crisp. But it's not worth the huge drop in readability. I could see bumping up the resolution a notch on the PowerBooks (to 1680x1050 and 1440x900 would be sharper and still readable unless you have bad eyesight), but I wouldn't want to go any higher than that, and I wouldn't want either of those changes to be forced on anyone.

Another way around resolution independence would be if you could possibly create a screen that can run at quadruple the current resolutions. It would require more advanced hardware than we have now, but only slightly more advanced software. If you could have a 15" PowerBook with a 2560x1708 screen, you could run it at the current native resolution of 1280x854 without any loss in quality. Then you could bump it back up to the high native resolution in certain applications, when you need it. Even have application-specific profiles for quick changes. The 17" would need a 2880x1800 resolution, while the 12" would have to use 2048x1536. Then again, it would probably not be worth the amount of work required to get such high resolution displays out. I mean, all it would accomplish would be a bit of an increase in quality for when you run it at an interpolated resolution. Writing resolution-independent software is much easier than developing huge-resolution screens, not to mention the hardware necessary to drive them. Four times the pixels equals four times the VRAM necessary to buffer all of them, so we're looking at 256-512 MB of VRAM just to drive such huge displays as well as the current PowerBooks drive theirs.

Last edited by Luca : 2005-02-16 at 01:06.