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Analyst: 'retina' laptop screens available, not cheap

updated 08:31 pm EDT, Wed May 16, 2012

New display may add between $60 and $90 to assembly cost

Rumors of a new line of Apple Macintosh MacBook Pros with an enhanced Retina Display are making the rounds this week. According to CNet, NPD DisplaySearch analyst Richard Shim said that super-high resolution 13.3 and 15.4 inch panels suitable for Retina Display usage are available now from component manufacturers. The increased resolution may come at an higher cost to Apple, and possibly to consumers.

The two displays in question haven't been named by manufacturer or part number, though Shim did list specifications of currently available displays that conform to a Retina Display specification. The 13.3-inch display has a 2,560 by 1,600 resolution with a pixels per inch (PPI) of 227. The existing 13.3 has a PPI of 127.

An available 15.4-inch LCD has a 2,880 by 1,800 resolution with 220 PPI. The existing 15.4-inch MacBook Pro display has either a PPI of 110 or 150 PPI, if the optional $100 upgraded display is purchased.

Adding a Retina-quality display would add approximately $92 to the 15.4-inch model cost of assembly, and around $65 to the 13.3-inch Macbook Pro. The Retina Display in the third-generation iPad cost $87, a $30 increase over the $57 display in the iPad 2. The increased cost was not passed on to the customer in that case, nor when the iPhone was supplied with a Retina Display in the shift from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone 4.

While the term "Retina Display" isn't scientifically defined with firm specifications, Apple sales materials declares a Retina-quality display to be at the point where individual pixels are no longer visible. The image sharpness on a Retina Display also depends on the quality of the source. Text is resolution independent, but a JPEG displayed on a website often doesn't conform to Retina Display specifications in pixels per inch. [via CNet]

by MacNN Staff





  1. macnnoel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    this is going to cost the competition much much more as they try to copy in vain

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cutting edge never comes cheap

    I honestly don't understand what the purpose of this article is. Any time new technology is introduced, it's bound to cost more, why is this unusual. Apple is leading with Retina display technology and fairly soon other vendors are going to try to copy it and it's going to raise their costs, too. Since Apple will be selling them in the tens of millions, Apple's economies of scale are going to give it a cost advantage over the competition. And there's no guarantee that consumers will buy those other brands if they have to pay more money. Sooner or later this is where display technology is headed.

  1. FireWire

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not cheap?

    SSD is "not cheap".. adding 60-90$ on a 1000$+ machine is really acceptable. I still didn't get why resolution-independance was scrapped, is it that complicated?

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