Announced last week, Avatron’s popular utility Air Display, a $9.99 app that can turn any iOS device into an external display for a Mac or PC, has been updated today to include support for two major new features and technical achievements: HiDPI mode and Retina graphics. Meant to be enjoyed on the new iPad’s Retina display, Air Display 1.6 requires the installation of a desktop application that will handle the wireless connection between Lion and the iOS app.
Once installed, Air Display Connect on the Mac will allow you to easily select the device you want to turn into an external monitor. For the new iPad’s display (and Retina iOS devices in general, but of course the app gives its best results on the iPad), Avatron has enabled support for high resolutions, although an option is present to render items at non-Retina resolutions as well. The Retina display’s tightly packed pixels have also allowed Avatron to use HiDPI mode — a hidden feature of Lion which draws element on screen at double the size – in a meaningful and gorgeous-looking way. (more…)
Digging through the build of Mac OS X Lion that was seeded to developers yesterday, MacRumors discovered the presence of “HiDPI display modes” which suggests that Apple is planning for the possibility of Mac displays running something similar to a Retina display sometime in the near future.
Developers would, as they have done on the iPhone, provide each UI element in two sizes, one in the size they currently are and then one at twice the resolution. It would work virtually identically to how Apple implemented the Retina display for the iPhone, with the high-resolution displays using the double sized UI elements so that physically the size of the elements would stay the same.
MacRumors gives the example of a 15” MacBook Pro that has a resolution of 1440×900 that could be doubled to 2880×1800 and then use an app’s UI 2X elements and which would leave the application’s UI elements the same physical size, but with much greater detail. Apple had previously dabbled in the notion of creating OS X a resolution independent OS through a number of methods from using vector graphics to providing bitmaps for multiple screen resolutions, but none had previously eventuated.
The HiDPI mode is not turned on by default and must be done so through Lion’s Quartz debug in Xcode.