Originally Posted by specuvestor
As for the different image, it could be just that one is for desktop browser, and the other for mobile device. Does HTML5 or H.264 support this "unique" resolution at all? If not then retina display will be overkill not because it is lousy/ redundant hardware but because software has yet to catch up.
The browser reports that it is using a pixel ratio of 2 (rather than 1×) and the website detects that, serving up the new images. Seems like a fairly good solution to me. (though Apple's implementation means that both images are downloaded, whereas it can be done in a way which only downloads one version)
I'm not sure what you mean about "HTML5" supporting it though, websites can be built for any resolution.
My point though, was that websites shouldn't
be using graphics for text and UI elements. We now have solutions for using custom fonts on the web that work across all modern browsers, so there's no need to render text as images, which looks bad on the iPad or on a PC hooked up to a TV with the zoom turned up.
This is just being done on my PC, but here are a couple of websites scaled up to huge sizes. (I don't know if you're familiar with the iPad, but it dynamically scales all pages)
Notice how most of Engadget's "text" is actually images. There's no reason for thisit's a waste of bandwidth and as you can see, looks terrible at anything other than 100% size.
At The Verge, much more of the UI is rendered as actual text, but the logo is still an image that doesn't scale well. Because it's black and white, it probably wouldn't be much of a size increase if they simply replaced it with a "retina" sized graphic, or better yet, they could replace it with a vector image which would support scaling to any size.
There are still many small images here which could be replaced with CSS. Here's a demo of what can be done for example: http://nicolasgallagher.com/pure-css-gui-icons/demo/
Note that these all maintain their sharpness as you scale them up. (they aren't perfect, but it's just a demo)
Giant Bomb is an example of another site which is going even further, and has more complex/detailed UI elements drawn as HTML/CSS elements, such as the rounded corners, gradients etc. Even though the site is scaled up to a large size, the game covers on the right still look sharp, as they are using higher resolution assets.
They still have things on the page that wouldn't be difficult to replace with vector graphics though, or even unicode text elements.
For example, the downwards arrow they (and the verge) use in the menu could be replaced with ▼
As for video, I believe the iPad still only supports up to 1080p with its hardware decoder, so it does require some upscaling. (but not much if you keep it OAR)
It would have been nice to try out some 4K footage scaled down to fit the screen, but I don't think that's something we have to worry about with this generation of the device.
Originally Posted by specuvestor
Nonetheless my point is this: That the hardware and software has to be optimised for each other. So those who think retina is not useful may need to check their specs. I have yet to get the new iPad but I would think FaceTime will not be much different, for obvious reasons. We need to figure out the whole chain before jumping to conclusion.
That's true, but text in virtually all apps was automatically upgraded to retina for example, if apps were using the standard way to render text. (some apps such as magazines, which are effectively a collection of JPGs, or apps which render differently such as Kindle, do need updated though)
Just about all my apps have already been updated with retina support, the only real exceptions being games and music creation tools so far. (though a fair number of games have had updates)
Most of the apps which haven't
received updates yet, still look great, as it's only UI icons that are scaled and text or other interface elements are rendered at native resolution.