New Macs’ resolutions

I went to my local Apple store yesterday to take a look at the new MacBook Airs and was struck by two things. First, it’s amazing how big the 13″ Air seems after you’ve been playing with the 11″ Air. And second, Apple really needs to do something about the resolution of its screens.

I’ve talked about this before. When the Mac first came out, one of its great WYSIWYG features was that a pixel on the screen was supposed to be equal in size to a printer’s point: 1/72″. It was hard to confirm that back in the days of curved CRT screens with thick glass fronts, but it was certainly very close.

Back then, onscreen rulers matched up quite well with physical rulers, and 12-point type on the screen looked to be the same size as 12-point type on the printed page. But those days are long gone.

Using the figures on the Apple Tech Specs pages, here are the resolutions of all1 the current Mac models.2

Model Horiz Vert Diag Resolution
27″ iMac 2560 1440 27.0 109
21.5″ iMac 1920 1080 21.5 102
17″ MB Pro 1920 1200 17.0 133
15″ MB Pro (std) 1440 900 15.4 110
15″ MB Pro (opt) 1680 1050 15.4 129
13″ MB Pro 1280 800 13.3 113
13″ MB 1280 800 13.3 113
13″ MB Air 1440 900 13.3 128
11″ MB Air 1366 768 11.6 135

This is a huge resolution range. On an 11″ MacBook Air, a 72-pixel line—which would measure 1 inch long against an onscreen ruler—is just 0.53 physical inches long. On a 21.5″ iMac, that same line is 0.70 inches long. User interface items, like buttons, menu items, and scroll bars are 30% bigger on the iMac than on the Air.

When the iPhone 4 came out, its Retinal Display had double the resolution of the previous iPhone screens, and Apple knew its interface elements couldn’t just shrink to half their previous size and still be usable. So it worked out a systemwide way to double the pixel size of everything. Text stayed smooth because it’s defined by mathematical curves; bitmapped graphics got chunky, at least until developers added higher resolution images to their apps. Regardless of the doubling technique, Apple recognized that the physical size of the interface elements was essential to the usability of the device.

The 135 dpi resolution of the 11″ Air brings the Mac to nearly double its original resolution, but Apple’s done nothing to address the physical shrinkage.3 Part of the reason, I’m sure, is that the shrinkage has occurred slowly over decades instead of in a single jump. And part of the reason is that because the pointer has been shrinking along with the buttons and menus and scroll bars, it’s about as easy to hit a button with the pointer as it’s always been.

Of course, that’s assuming you can read the button labels so you know which one to click. The lack of font scaling to match the increased screen resolution is a real problem, and not just for 0x32-year-olds like me. Twelve-point text on a UI element is now the same physical size as 6.5-point text was on the original Mac. Even 14-point text is down at the size of what used to be 7.5-point text. Yes, the sharper screens can make up for some of this reduction but not all of it. Size matters.

Microsoft has universal settings to change the size of UI elements. Even X Windows allows you to set a screen dpi for fonts. Apple has nothing. With screen resolutions increasing at an accelerating pace, this has to be addressed soon.


  1. As commenters have pointed out, the original version of this table omitted the optional 1680×1050 screen available for the 15″ MacBook Pro. I missed it when first going through the Tech Specs pages. 

  2. The formula for working out the resolution is simple; it’s derived at the bottom of the post. 

  3. No George Costanza jokes, please. 


44 Responses to “New Macs’ resolutions”

  1. Blaise Pascal says:

    While your general point is valid, I wish to quibble with your math. You assume, perhaps incorrectly, that the vertical and horizontal resolutions (in ppi) are equal, that the pixels are square. It is possible that the pixels are not square, but rectangular, a factor which would need to be taken into account.

  2. Dr. Drang says:

    Blaise, another of the distinguishing features of the early Mac was square pixels, a rarity back in the mid-80s. That, fortunately, hasn’t changed.

    PS, love your triangle.

  3. Sigivald says:

    There appears to be a scaling factor in the OS already - see http://www.macworld.com/article/142173/2009/08/scaleapps.html

    It’s just not exposed to the user directly, or even very well indirectly. (I think some of the accessibility stuff might use it, but I don’t have a Mac here at work to check it on…)

  4. Grover Saunders says:

    I wasn’t aware that a 72dpi display was touted as a feature of the original Mac. This concern about tiny on-screen elements is exactly why I’ll probably be purchasing a MacBook for my near-sighted mother this Christmas instead of the Air, even though the Air is clearly the better overall value.

    That said, have you ever actually used the setting in Windows? It’s a disaster because not everything adheres to it, making many text labels completely unreadable (at least in XP, perhaps it’s different in modern versions of Windows). I imagine that’s why Apple doesn’t have a universal “Make UI elements bigger” option. That said, it does have Finder>View>Show View Options to change the font-size of the Finder and Universal Zoom (hold control and use your mouse to scroll up) to zoom in on any element, which is literally “Make EVERYTHING bigger.”

    Also, the foundations of a resolution independent display can be found in Snow Leopard, so it’s definitely on the drawing board. I suspect it was on the drawing board when Quartz was developed.

  5. Nathan DeGruchy says:

    It’s coming. The problem with resolution independent display is that it’s currently computationally expensive to do. The feature has been burried in Leopard and, I imagine, Snow Leopard. Perhaps they’re waiting on OpenCL to offload some of the work to.

    I would hardly say they’re doing nothing, though.

  6. Matt says:

    You could simplify the math fairly easily by using Pythagoras’s Theorem to show that the screen is sqrt(h^2 + v^2) pixels diagonally, then dividing this by the diagonal measurement in inches. You don’t need the angle, or any sines and cosines.

  7. retrocomputing says:

    “Also, the foundations of a resolution independent display can be found in Snow Leopard, so it’s definitely on the drawing board. I suspect it was on the drawing board when Quartz was developed.”

    Well, actually it was on the “drawing board” for Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger” already, which was released back in 2005. Back then it was already a part of the OS as we know it today but never had gotten a real UI and was only accessible through mystic Terminal commands. I wonder why it was never developed any further…

  8. eng says:

    Don’t forget the BTO option on the new 15” MacBook Pro of having a 1680x1050 screen (also in antiglare!), which by the way is wonderful.

    Using your formulas it has a resolution of ~129, which puts it in the range of the new Airs.

  9. Robin Stewart says:

    I don’t think it’s true, in the case of the Mac, that “screen resolutions are increasing at an accelerating pace.” I’m not aware of any data backing up that claim. It’s possible that the number of pixels has increased at an accelerating pace, but increases in the number of pixels come with a far smaller increase in screen resolution. (A 30% increase in DPI requires 69% more pixels.) Pixel count is the raw unit that display manufacturers have to produce and mobile chips have to support. Part of why Apple was able to jump to a double-resolution display on the iPhone was because the total number of pixels is still low, compared to other mobile devices like netbooks.

    It’s also not true that “Apple’s done nothing to address the physical shrinkage” in pixel size. Mac OS X has significantly larger text sizes and UI elements (such as the menu bar, scroll bars, and buttons) than the Mac Classic OS. At first, these UI elements looked huge compared to Mac OS 9. Over time, as screen resolution has gradually increased, they’re starting to look too small again. Perhaps it’s time for a second bump up in size.

    (I don’t think the “resolution independence” feature that Apple experimented with is the answer. Rescaling to any non-integer size wreaks havoc on carefully designed, pixel-aligned graphics. If you adjust font size only without rescaling the graphics, then carefully designed proportions get out of whack.)

  10. davesmall says:

    Love the 1920 x 1200 resolution on my MacBook Pro. It gives me a lot of screen real estate on a laptop.

    Once in a while the type is a bit too small to read but OS X takes care of that. All I have to do is spread my fingers on the touchpad and the type grows bigger.

    I think Apple has this issue in hand.

  11. JasonQ says:

    RE: Physical shrinkage

    I was in the pool!

  12. Mister Snitch says:

    What’s the point of coming here if I can’t make Costanza jokes?

  13. Hamranhansenhansen says:

    I think they are holding back resolution independence until after all their screens are 300 dpi plus. Then you can legitimately treat the screen as a printer and ask for 1 inch buttons and the buttons would always look good, because there will be enough dots to draw proper curves.

    Under 300 dpi, it makes sense to design for the screen in pixels. Yes, you have to understand your work will be a bit bigger or smaller on various systems. But you can make much better looking, much smoother work by using the minimal pixels to their best advantage.

    If you are working for print, you don’t need a systemwide adjustment like Microsoft’s (which doesn’t work anyway). All the design tools have zoom settings in them. If your output device is 300 dpi and screen is 100 dpi, scale your document zoom to 33% to see a real size view. When we have 300 dpi screens we will finally have the perfect screens for print work and ironically have almost no use for print. We’ll use the 300 dpi screens to make 300 dpi graphics for other 300 dpi screens.

  14. Aaron Prien says:

    I like the link to the article saying that resolution independence is coming in Leopard. Which has now come and gone.

  15. sam wight says:

    The other thing that has improved since the early macs is the bit depth of the pixels. The use of shades improves legibility of of letters, and the use of colors dramatically improves image representation. These two features allow graphical elements with the same number of pixels to be equally (sometimes more) visible at higher resolution (smaller size).

    Still, size matters, so we can all hope for resolution independence in Lion…

  16. Marc says:

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who’s noticed this. Apple laid the groundwork for resolution independence way back in 10.4; example article from six years ago:

    Apple Insider article

    You could actually turn this on via the developer tools, but it didn’t work well at all—the UI is a mess. Probably still is, haven’t even bothered to check in 10.6.

    It’s apparently kept getting pushed back, first to 10.5, and I don’t think it was even considered for 10.6, but we’ve already passed the point at which it’s becoming a near-necessity—even the 1600px 17” MacBook Pro was pushing visibility limits, and as soon as Apple started offering the 1080p version they officially made the UI nearly unusable with the default settings on one of their shipping products.

    The Air is just ridiculous—Apple needs to get this working yesterday. I can only hope it’ll be a big feature in 10.7—darn well better be, given that iOS has already surpassed the MacOS in this department, albeit with a lot less baggage being dragged along.

    Win7 actually does reasonably well with resolution independent UI elements—there are a few size options, all of which look good—although there’s still funky old stuff that doesn’t scale.

    I edited the link in this comment to keep it from running off the page.
    —Drang

  17. David W. says:

    There’s an easy way to adjust your pixel size — simply change your resolution. Just because your screen can do 1280 x 800 resolution doesn’t mean you have to use it. Simply select something like 800 x 600 which will increase everything on your screen by 30%, or go whole hog and try 640 x 480.

    The problem is that things simply don’t fit in those resolutions anymore. You have long menus coming in from the left on the menu bar and status icons coming in from the right. They duke it out right in the center.

    And, not all those dialog boxes work in low resolutions either. But, you don’t have to take advantage of all them pixels.

  18. Steve says:

    WTF is an inch?

  19. Jonni says:

    2 things:

    1) The size of the iOS interface must remain constant primarily because it needs to match the size of the fingertips interacting with it. Legibility is a secondary concern.

    2) It’s very easy to change the display resolution on any Mac to a lower setting, which effectively increases the size of interface elements, if they’re too small for you. Problem solved.

  20. Tim says:

    Don’t forget that different people prefer different resolutions. Some have amazing eyesight and like as much real estate as possible, others have poor eyesight and like “everything big”. Really all screens should have the option to be high or low res like the current 15” and 17” MBPs.

    The problem comes when, like the Air’s, there is only one choice, one of the two groups are going to be unhappy.

  21. Tim says:

    Hamranhansenhansen: You make some very good points.

    But the trouble with waiting for all their displays is that even Apple, who can turn a platform around about as fast as anyone can (see: PPC, Intel), isn’t going to upgrade everybody from 100dpi displays to 300dpi displays overnight. Even once they’re shipping 300dpi displays on all their new Macs (6 portables, 2 desktops, 1 standalone), there’s going to be millions of 100dpi Mac displays in the world — including, of course, every time somebody plugs their MacBook into a Dell display, or their TV, or the LCD projector at the office.

    It’s not realistic to think that every screen on a Mac will be 300dpi any time soon — maybe in 5-10 years. Based on past experience with such transitions, I think Apple will only wait until either 0 or 1 of their displays is 300dpi, before shipping an OS and tools for it, and telling developers to get on board. (The display has no use, without the apps for it!)

    Hmm, based on that, I’d say their first 300dpi display will probably be either a standalone display (like the Intel “Developer Transition Kit”), or maybe a MacBookPro (since a ton of Mac developers use them anyway — also one of the first Intel machines). You want every developer to buy one right away, so make it just the new hardware with nothing extra, or something that they would buy anyway.

  22. Tim says:

    Jonni: #2 works well if you have a CRT. On an LCD, it makes everything big, but it also makes everything fuzzy.

    Tim: I disagree that “different people prefer different resolutions”. Different people prefer different sizes. This has come to mean “resolution” only because none of the major operating systems (yeah, X11 is great but not “major”…) supports setting resolution in a way that actually works well. If you show people an iPhone 3 and an iPhone 4, even (especially?) people with poor eyesight prefer the 4, which has double the resolution but is exactly the same size.

    Really all screens should be 300dpi (or whatever is feasible), and the OS should be able to make the UI elements the size I want, without me having to think about “pixels” or “resolution”.

  23. Dr. Drang says:

    Matt @6,

    You’re right, as long as you use the word “pixel” to mean “the side length of one of the elements on my screen.” That’s the sense of the word when we say “pixels per inch.”

    However, a pixel is also a two-dimensional screen object that has a diagonal measurement that isn’t one pixel-width long. It’s because of the dual meaning—and the possibility of confusion—that I don’t like using pixels as a unit of measure except in the horizontal and vertical directions.

    Imagine a square screen, 1000 × 1000. How many pixels are along the diagonal? 1000.

    Pedantry, I suppose, but that’s how I roll.

  24. Dr. Drang says:

    Some general responses:

    1. Yes, I can change the resolution to put fewer (and bigger) pixels on the screen, but why should I have to sacrifice one element of readability (sharpness) to get another (size)?
    2. Not all applications come with a zoom feature. OmniOutliner doesn’t, and I’m forced to use a font size that looks childishly large on paper to make it readable on screen. If Apple had a system-wide method to adjust for pixel size, we wouldn’t see developers implementing (or not) their own solutions to the problem.
    3. Maybe I’m wrong about this, but my memory is that displays topped out at about 100 dpi (or ppi, if you prefer) up until just a few years ago and had been stuck there for a while. It’s only more recently that we’ve seen these higher resolutions, and I fully expect the advances in cell phone screens to make their way up to computer LCDs.
    4. Apple did increase the size of some of its UI features to match the change from 72 to 100 dpi. Standard label text started at 12-point and changed to 14-point. At 135 dpi, it’s time for another change.
  25. James says:

    I didn’t think it was possible to explain basic trig in such a verbose way. Do you really need two rectangles showing the same thing?

  26. hapa says:

    two things…

    dpi is not equal to visual experience… a higher dpi closer to your face can appear the same size.

    for the same reason, the dpi sweet spot for pixel invisibility on a desktop puter is lower than the 300 required to fool you a foot from your face. 200 or 150 might even get it done depending.

  27. Dr. Drang says:

    James @ 25, Yes.

  28. Dr. Drang says:

    To those of you commenting that a laptop’s pixels can be smaller than a desktop’s because the screen is closer to you:

    You’re right, but

    1. Even with the closer screen, UI elements on the 11″ MB Air seem small.
    2. Pixels on the 11″ MB Air are about 20% smaller than those on the 15″ MB Pro, and their screens would be at the same distance.
  29. Thom says:

    Or maybe they won’t have to address it. They could just make a major jump in physical screen resolution and then let software handle it, like they did with the iPhone. Suddenly everything is easier to see once again, and with more clarity.

  30. /b says:

    i am amazed to learn that macs, the bastion of graphics and desktop publishing, can’t handle resolution independence when my linux desktop does it no problem.

  31. N.R says:

    But the interface has to shrink for the smaller screens. How do you imagine it then, that the 11” screen icons would be the same size as the 27” screen icons? Either there would be tons of unused space on the 27, or none of the programs would fit into the 11”.

    I doubt the smaller size of Finder would even fit onto the 11” screen with the same pixel density as the 27” iMac.

  32. Bruce says:

    I don’t get it. The OS should make an inch on the screen the same size as an inch in real life. 12 point type, or any other size type, should be the same size on screen as in real life. Are people really arguing against this in the comments?

    As far as what size type works best (for menu items, etc.) on a particular size screen, that’s a different subject. That’s a feature request for the OS, but the feature that is being requested is not resolution independence.

  33. Rick says:

    I have a 15” MacBook Pro with a high-resolution screen (1680x1050). That gives it a pixel size that falls between the Airs. Some parts of OS X are just unusable for me with this setup. iCal, which starts with small elements that can’t be changed, is the worst, but it’s hardly alone.

    I came to OS X from Linux, where it’s possible on the popular desktops to resize most fonts on the system from one location. I’m still amazed at how primitive this aspect of OS X is - especially given the range of pixel sizes now in Apple products.

    I just don’t get arguments that screen zoom and changing the display resolution are ways to fix this issue. The only place this works without fuzzing out the contents is on CRTs. Apple stopped shipping those quite a while ago. Are there still some around?

  34. Scott Boone says:

    Something else that should be mentioned wrt interface scaling is the aging population. This has been an issue that Apple has seemingly ignored for far too long, and is especially puzzling given Apple’s track record with Assisted Access. My father is now 65 years old, and has been an Apple customer since he bought me my first Apple II in the 1980’s. He’s owned half a dozen Mac laptops and several desktops himself since then. He just purchased a 15” MacBook Pro, upgrading from a 15” PowerBook G4. He was interested in the 13” MacBook Pro because of its size and his desire for increased portability (and hence would have bought the new Air instead), however because of his age and the onset of presbyopia (a degenerative eye condition that affects most all older folks) he simply can’t work with these hi-res screens. He regularly complains about his 24” iMac. The “change the resolution” trick doesn’t work because it makes UI elements -BLURRY- which is an even greater problem for folks with ailing eyesight. He bought the 15” screen in hopes of Resolution Independence in Lion, on my advice and my hedge that “it has to come sometime.” At least with the 15” he’ll have a bit more screen real estate for the larger controls to spread into.

    Being a computer consultant, it is infuriating to see so many older clients simply walk away from Apple offerings (desktop and laptop) ready to pay top dollar and instead buy basement-priced Dells and HPs with inferior quality, lower resolution LCD displays. That Apple has completely ignored this wealthy demographic is puzzling to say the least.

  35. All The Buttons says:

    I wonder if one advantage of the Mac App Store will be that, should Apple introduce resolution independence. in 10.7, they will be able to make adherence to it a condition for getting into the store.

    That would instantly solve the fragmentation problem inherent in any such change - at least as far as non-techie, app-store-using users were concerned.

  36. Simanek says:

    If I’m not mistaken, 300 dpi would actually be in excess of the minimum resolution needed for smooth-enough edges to stop designing UI elements in terms of pixels. People are deriving the number “300” from the print design industry, since that is the standard minimum resolution for a raster image to be “good enough” for printing. However, the actual resolution needed for standard half-tone printing is something like 220 or 226 dpi. Jumping to 300 provides room for error for less-than-perfect image quality. I just wanted to point out that 300 is an almost arbitrary number, rounded up to be easy to remember.

    There’s also the huge difference between pixels and printed halftones. Combine that with some really smart anti-aliasing and the target screen resolution could be much less than 300 dpi. Try looking at text on our current displays without anti-aliasing.

    My point is that we could be at high-enough screen resolutions sooner than we think.

  37. peterc says:

    HOW TO FIX IT:

    I had similar misgivings moving from a 15” to a 17” MBP earlier this year. Most apps, particularly Apple apps, have two icon sizes - large and small. For Hi-res screens you use the large. The Finder Sidebar is the odd man out.

    This is a great mystery to me, seeing as it was rewritten in 64 Bit and it’s the one Apple app that’s always on and every Mac has to use. …Well kinda. I use Pathfinder which allows Sidebar text and icon scaling. As with PathFinder, text in the Finder windows is adjustable.

    In Word I set the pages to 180% which is very close to actual size. Mail and whatever else (except Safari) all allow resetting the default text size. For Safari I created a new default Style Sheet with a larger type-size and pointed Safari to it in the prefs. For Pages I also created new default Template, but simply adjusting the base text Style will do it too.

    The Dock is resizable and the icons grow with it and can be magnified under the cursor to a variety of scales. I’ve always kept its icon-count small by having apps I don’t use regularly in two separate, organised folders depending on frequency of use. The further right, the less used. These tend to resemble the iOS app Launcher. I’ve given all my Dock folders unique icons so they look like apps.

    With the higher resolution, scrollbars and the Menubar are more elegant, being now what I regard to be the right size. Remember, the Menu Font is rather big, bold and black.

    After a little use of the 17” MBP set up this way with readable icons and crisper, scaled-up text, a 15” screen very quickly came to look well, inordinately gross and clunky - and I’m in Steve’s Ballpark age-wise, so my eyesight’s got its own internal resolution independence problems.

    There are ways to fix these things which once you get used to them, make the interface look the best it ever has. This is obviously subjective, but I also think it’s why Apple hasn’t busted itself, to go down the res-independent path.

  38. peterc says:

    HOW TO FIX IT UPDATE:

    If you’re interested in doing the Dock app folder split. I created two folders in the Applications folder and put aliases of the apps in them. If you put the apps themselves into the folders you could upset some when they need to automatically update.

    CS5 is particularly cranky when it comes to trying to organise it into folders. Its auto-updater spits the dummy after download in the install-phase. And it’s not even Flash-based.

    Also it’s better using aliases when in the Finder so you can have all your apps in one place rather than having them split into separate ones. Aliases give you the best of both worlds.

  39. John Whittet says:

    For those interested in the similar specs for the rest of Apple’s line, here they are:

    Model          Horz   Vert   Diag    Res
    ------------   ----   ----   -----   ---
    iPod Nano       240    240    1.54   220
    iPod Classic    320    240    2.5    160
    iPod Touch      960    640    3.5    330
    iPhone 3GS      480    320    3.5    165
    iPhone 4        960    640    3.5    330
    iPad           1024    768    9.7    132
    27" Cinema     2560   1440   27.0    109
    

    Interesting that the Air beats out the iPad, but otherwise the theme seems to be “smaller physical area = higher resolution.”

    Who else would like a retina display in the Air?

  40. FB says:

    I read this on my 17inch PowerBook. Resolution 133 pixels per inch, almost identical with the new MBAir. Very readable and crisp. Including the small print at the bottom of your page. The new computer brings in mind the Duo 230 color, which also had a rather high resolution. I loved it. I love my PB 17inch even better. Oh, and I have the eyes of a 50 year old.

  41. Dr. Drang says:

    FB, I take your point, but this site isn’t a good one to use to make it. Unlike most sites, this one uses your browser’s default font size, keeps the line lengths reasonable, and has generous line spacing. All done to make legibility a priority over style.

    Your last sentence reminds me of a joke told by the horror author Robert Block: I have the heart of a child—pickled in a jar on my desk.

  42. Maynard Handley says:

    “I don’t think it’s true, in the case of the Mac, that “screen resolutions are increasing at an accelerating pace.””

    What is true, however, is that I think anyone who has used a retina display wants that sort of resolution everywhere. God knows reading text on my iPad feels sad compared to iPhone4 —- the difference is obvious, not only detected with a magnifying glass. And once one has it in the iPad, one starts to ask why one’s laptop can’t have that quality. And so it goes.

    In other words, while, looking backwards, it may not have been the case that that resolution was accelerating, I think looking forwards we can see a dynamic whereby people will want it. (Subject, of course, to the limitations of manufacturability.) The transition to iPad will presumably be fairly easy at the SW level. (And that is obviously the next manufacturing hurdle.)

    The tricky transition is the one after that, to laptops. As other’s have pointed out, Apple went through a few WWDCs where resolution independence was trotted out, given a brief airing, then ignored for the next year. (Much like the fabled QuartzGL, running more of Quartz on the GPU, which has likewise been in a state of limbo for years.)

    The optimistic slant on this is that - it’s hard to make this sort of change in a way that works well SO - you have to tell people what to do many years in advance, then just wait for them to follow your guidelines AND - getting people to think about this in the context of iOS has performed the next stage of the process.

    In other words one could hope Apple believe that everything is finally lined up enough that this could be made real with 10.7. Certainly I suspect the hardware trends I’ve outlined make this an ever more pressing matter.

    (Another new element in the equation is the forthcoming MacOS App Store. One could imagine this being used as a cudgel to get people on board with all sorts of technologies they’ve been lagging on - no 64 bit binary?, based on carbon?, no resolution independent support? Get your sorry ass out of here and come back when you have an app designed for 2010, not 2004!)

  43. Meow says:

    I live in Taipei, Taiwan. Most of my friends felt awesome when they saw Macs. However, they all thought the interface of Mac OS X is too small and difficult to see clearly. They wondered why the resolution is that high but all elements are so small.

    Latin alphabets already look small in current Macs, but Chinese characters are really unclear and blur in somewhere of them. Chinese characters contain more details, so the issue occurs when the font size is small.

    What Apple should do is to increase both DPI and the font size, not just DPI. Resolution independence is the best way to realize, but I do not believe Apple would provide it in Mac OS X Lion. It does not look perfect in Windows 7, however, they have provided a solution at least.

    Currently, what Mac OS X users can only do is to increase the thumbnail and font size in Finder. It is not the final solution, but it looks more comfortable.

  44. Watson Scott Swail says:

    I have the new Macbook Air. Love it. And the resolution is great, BUT the fonts and screens are so fricken small. And, if I do as commentors have suggested, change my resolution, it is very fuzzy. Thus, all I can do is bring my Word file to 170 percent, and then it approximates 100 percent. That just shouldn’t be the case. This wasn’t the case on my other Macbooks. But it is now. Apple. Will you finally do what the people want? Great technology, but the attitude is getting really “old.”