The King is freaking Naked! – Debunking the Retina Hype
I have decided to stick my neck out here and swim against the tide. Yesterday, Apple released another “Retina” device and of course the usual pandemonium in the tech world as expected.
Since Retina made its debut I have been watching the Tech blogosphere go gaga with ooo’s and aaa’s but I haven’t seen anyone compare the advantage of Retina to its disadvantage. The only advantage is the DPI density, that you can look at you pixel to so called “infinity” and still not notice any jaggedness of fonts and pictures etc. You know what, I am writing this on standard resolution screen, I don’t notice any jaggedness in this Word document. I haven’t noticed jaggedness since ClearType technology and its variations in other OSes.
So what’s the point? Looking with naked eyes (or with four eyes it you wear glasses) you can’t see jaggedness on anything above 100DPI. You will have to do your best at that level to see anything wrong with the screen, and by the time you reach 150DPI its just a waste of pixel density. I know some of you will crucify me, and cite headaches and all at anything below 200DPI, you know what, it’s just an excuse to your partner to buy yet another addictive device. Yes, you can’t see any difference anymore with naked eyes after 150DPI. Do you know how they show the difference between normal DPIs and Retina display on all Tech sites? They show the difference under a microscope. Yes, under a freaking microscope. Tell me, which of you do your day-job under a microscope looking at your computer display. It’s plain nuts!
Which brings me to Retina’s disadvantages:
- Like almost all Apple’s products, it is a brag right! Yes, there is nothing to Retina than to brag my d@#ck is bigger than yours. Anyone who has a need to brag as such should see a shrink because you are compensating for a need in your life.
- It is inefficient. Because of increased resolution, there are more wasted pixels on the screen. These pixels have to be powered, supplying power to something you don’t need is inefficient, it’s a waste of resource, and environmentally irresponsible. The power you supply to these pixels have to be generated which impacts the environment. By the time you take the energy to power those extra pixels and multiply it by the number of Retina devices, you begin to realize we are talking of serious impact on our planet. Like they say, “if you don’t do it for your money, do it for your grand-children”. The next generation bears the brunt of our current obsessions with devices. Retina is so inefficient that it requires more battery on the “New iPad” than iPad2, grows hotter than iPad2, has less battery-life than iPad2, etc etc.
- Requires Apps Re-Writes. It is a normal cry now, anything that sports “Retina” display has to have the “right” apps for it. Sad that none of the Tech blogs are calling Apple to this inefficiency: Apple creates a problem where none exists, and therefore has to be fixed by devs. The following logic hold if you can figure it out:
- When you put high resolution on a small screen, your screen elements suffer if it doesn’t scale. It’s a simple question of proportions. The screen elements are made to a certain specifications, especially on a Touch device. A button in an App need to be a certain size to accommodate an average finger size. Certain font sizes are chosen for readability per DPI. So what happens when you increase resolution and your elements are fixed, they seem tiny and unreadable on the small screen. Therefore elements have to be made bigger. For example, a 320×240 standard graphic element now has to be made 640×480 to be made usable on a retina screen and so on and so forth. You get the picture. A size 10 font has to be made size 20 font to be readable. All for nothing, just because someone convinced you higher resolution on a small screen is better.
- App devs need to drive more pixels for games on a small screen. Can you imagine, you are playing an HD, Xbox level resolution game on one third or fourth of the screen estate. It’s a waste. Its lots efforts to make the elements visible on the screen. The game still looks small despite the fact that it’s a large resolution game.
- I can’t think of any more disadvantages off the top my head at the moment, but I am sure you will think up of other. If you comment, I’ll add them here.
- [Update] Someone pointed out another disadvantage offline: The manufacturing cost, not in terms of price, but in terms resources needed to produce it. All the energy waste during production, and the waste materials and chemicals from the production that will probably end up dumped in the ocean somewhere.
So please stop this Retina screen madness and see Retina for what it is: A sales gimmick. Nothing more, nothing less. There are people clamoring now for Retina Windows 8 devices, believe me, you don’t need them. If Apple has succeeded in pocketing every blogger out there (I know most of them are pushing their Apple stock), then let it be that this “little fella” here have the nerve to shout it out loud: “The King is freaking Naked!” Save our environment, stop inefficient use of Technology.
[Update: 2012-07-09] For those of you bashing me on my stand on Retina, you’d better read this from the CIO Journal! “Apple withdraw from Green Electronics initiative” Apple has just removed itself from the Green Electronics initiatives as none of its current devices meets the goal of energy efficiencies. And before it is hit by class action suits, Apple has decided to withdraw itself there losing permanently the Good for Green logo right.
[Update: 2012-08-04] Engadget carried a piece about Retina and Windows Desktop that I think confirmed my assertion in this post. What really got my attention is the following quote:
Windows on Retina display
Making full use of the Retina display’s 2,880 x 1,880 resolution, the Windows desktop is startlingly huge with tiny text and dwarfed navigation buttons lost within it. Pegging the dpi at 200 percent, however, strikes a balance between readability and definition. System text, icons and windows are easy on the eyes, but third-party apps are hit-or-miss, as they require developer support for large, crisp and readable visuals. With a bit of tweaking, the oversized-desktop is useable, but a 1,920 x 1,080 experience is a bit easier on the eyes, and is more forgiving of apps that lack support for the extra pixels.
As you can read, the large Desktop on a small screen is a waste, the editors had to increase the fonts DPI to 200 to be able to read anything on the screen. Navigation buttons were “dwarfed” making them un-usable. So you tell me what is the efficiency of a large Desktop on a small screen in which you have to increase the screen elements to be able to see anything. I think its stupid.
[Update: 2012-08-11] A guy just published the complete maths of 20/20 Vision and Retina proving my point. Read it and convince yourself Retina is just a gimmick to sell you expensive devices.