Tag Archives: deathofthepixel

Another nail in the pixel’s coffin

On Monday Apple released a new MacBook Pro with Retina Display. It has an incredibly high resolution screen with 5.1 million pixels. Four times as many as the regular 15″ MacBook. Compare to your big full HD 1080p TV, which has only around 2.1 million pixels.

So a regular person sitting in front of this computer at a regular distance cannot see the individual pixels on the screen.

This is another step in Apple’s quest to  kill the pixel: sure, screens will still be made out of pixels but you as a user could not care less, everything will look perfectly smooth.

Need more proof? This is how you select screen resolution on this new Mac:

Screenshot from AnandTech

Yep, they only mention anything related to actual numeric screen resolution as a little side not in grey letters.

The new iPad

Left: iPad 2. Right, the new iPad and its Retina display. Click to zoom.
The new iPad vs iPad 2 screen comparison by The Verge. 

A new iPad is out. It’s not iPad 3 nor iPad HD. Just iPad. Kind of how Apple used to name the new version of the iPod. And it’s “Resolutionary” – lame pun intended by Apple, not by me.

The biggest change, at least in my mind, is the new “Retina” display. Four times as many pixels in the same area, making each individual pixel so small that you cannot effectively see them anymore. That’s it! The pixel has died, you no longer need to worry about the number of pixels in your iPad; more pixels would be pointless since you cannot see them already!

And so the death of the pixel continues.

And if it’s anything like the difference between the screens on the iPhone (3G, 3GS) and the iPhone 4(S)… it’s going to look amazing.

The death of the pixel

This is something I was thinking about the other day. Even though computers are becoming more and more complex everyday, they appear to be simpler to the regular, non tech-savvy user.

Before 1984, these kind of users did not even exist. You had to know at least a few arcane commands in order to use the all-text interfaces of those days. Now almost anyone can set up a network and start a video conference. Things that while possible, were really difficult to do some years ago.

The main player when it comes to making things simpler is, of course, Apple. I can think of many examples over the years, but let’s stay recent: iPad. iPad owners don’t need to be aware of some very basic computing concepts. Concepts that we thought were essential to anyone using a computer only a few years ago. Files and folders and filesystems exist under the hood of the iPad, you just don’t need to know about them! Apps are running and they are being terminated, but the user doesn’t ever needs to explicitly quit or close anything (If you see a stylus or a task manager, ‘they blew it’). Most iPad owners don’t know – and don’t need to know – what kind or how fast the processor is nor how much RAM it has… these things did not influece their purchasing choice.

The next concept that Apple is trying to kill is our old friend the pixel. Sure, displays will keep using pixels in order to render images, just like there are still files under the iOS hood, or behind the iTunes or iPhoto library… but the user won’t need to know.

This is what the iPhone 4’s Retina display is about: Make the pixels so small that you cannot even see them. If you can’t see them, why would you care about how many of them there are on your screen? There are already rumors circulating about future iPads having a Retina display one day. Newer reports say that Mac OS X 10.7 Lion is building in support for Retina-level displays for the Mac. Once all these screens have pixels so small that you can’t see them, users won’t need to care anymore about them: The death of the pixel. The rest of the industry will follow, as usual.

Farewell, pixel. It was nice knowing you.