What is Retina

Retina Displays are all over the place now, and I’m a few hours from getting my new MacBook Retina. Did I really need such a computer and display? I am not sure. But I am certain that this is a step into the future, and it’s a chain of events I wanted to be part of. More importantly, I want Totoro Times to shine on Retina Displays.  So I had to understand the technology, use it, then develop the tools I am missing. Article originally written in 2012 but updated in 2014.

A NEW TECHNOLOGY?

Retina Display is not really a new technology itself, but just a fancy name given by Apple. The real technology behind it is actually simply a super high-resolution IPS screen that squeezes more pixels together. For example, the new MacBook Pro 15” Retina has an amazing screen resolution of 2880 x 1800 pixels which is twice the resolution of the normal one. Wow, everything must look damn small, right? Well, maybe not.

THE APPLE TRICK

Some people might be interested in using this new amazing resolution as it is (you can now have 4 Internet browsers next to each other instead of one), but most users wouldn’t : everything would look ridiculously small and your eyes will start hurting. So what is the trick here? It is very simple: to double the size of every elements on the screen! This is an awesome idea: all the elements will look the same way as before, except the fact that they will be delightfully crispy with a much higher definition and the text will have a fantastic anti-aliasing.

This is also exactly where the nightmare begins: all the image sizes will have to be doubled at the back than the sizes shown on the screen! What does this mean? Did you ever try to stretch an 320×213 image to 640×426 ? The result first is a performance loss (your retina device will need to perform the re-sizing) and second a huge quality loss; Retina requires double the resolution, which mean the actual size required for displaying a 320×213 is 640×426. And if we do not have it here, we are losing half the pixels to show a nice picture. That would not be acceptable for most of us!

THE WEB NEEDS AN UPDATE

All the software will be updated to support such a trick display, this is certain. But what about the Web? Well, every single webmaster will have to take care of this matter him/herself.

Using WordPress, for now, I believe the users should write their articles the same way as before. Only everything on your website will have to be doubled. This already works on retina enabled-browsers, the texts look better and all but not the images.

The task for the webmasters now, is to prepare and deliver images that are twice the size of the current display sizes of images on the website.

I wanted to get my files created automatically and easily, then to have my websites handle those new displays perfectly. And most importantly, I want the web to look beautiful on my own Retina display! I checked the existing plugins and scripts, but they are all achieving only one part of what I want, with not much support, and everything felt very far away from a nice solution including all the methodologies, features and tools. That is why I created WP Retina 2x.

I recommend you to use WPEngine or SiteGround. They are both excellent hosting services and work perfectly with all my plugins.