Apple Updating Website with Hi-Res Images for Retina Displays

In preparation for the launch of its new iPad this week, and perhaps with future Macs in mind as well, Apple has begun to update its website to high-resolution images and raster text to take advantage of the iPad’s dramatically increased display resolution, as discovered by AppleInsider commenter “dglow.” 

As of Tuesday morning, only portions of the Apple site have been updated, notably the homepage and dedicated iPad page, although it appears to be a steady work-in-progress with more graphics being replaced daily. 

Apple appears to be distinguishing the high resolution versions of its images with a “2x” tag, allowing curious users to locate the upgraded images rather easily. Some examples of the improved resolution follow:

HiDPI Comparison 1

HiDPI Comparison 2

HiDPI Comparison 3

HiDPI Display ResolutionsThe HiDPI Display Resolutions

The high resolution graphics are currently only viewable by enabling HiDPI mode on OS X 10.7.3, the ability to do so found only in the developers’ settings of Xcode. This mode, accessible to developers in the latest version of OS X Lion, effectively quadruples the size of all user interface elements by doubling their height and width resolutions. When HiDPI is enabled for applications that have already been graphically updated by Apple, the result is a “Retina-display-like” clarity on your Mac. However, at this early stage, many of Apple’s UI elements and all third-party apps have not been upgraded, resulting simply in a blown-up pixel-doubled mess. 

Even for the apps that have HiDPI graphics, their relative sizes are doubled when enabling the mode, making them practically useless on current Mac displays. The benefit of HiDPI won’t be fully realized until Apple (or third parties) begin shipping “Retina” displays for Macs likely in the next year or two. The much larger anticipated resolution of these displays will result in UI objects that appear the same relative size as they do today, but with much higher resolution and clarity.

Following the new iPad’s 2048x1536 resolution, rumors suggest that new MacBook Pros are in the works with 2880x1800 resolution displays targeted for later this year.