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Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

New iPad Means Even More Cumbersome App Downloads

Here come magazines weighing in at gigabytes.

  • March 7, 2012

I’m not going to win any genius points for making this observation, especially because I stole it from Benedict Evans, but the new iPad’s 2048x1536 screen resolution presents a unique set of problems for image-heavy apps.

Apple CEO Tim Cook, via MG Siegler

For those of us who remember the old days, when it was the people doing design for print who bought the extra RAM for their towers in order to handle “giant” images, it’s clear that the base 16GB iPad 3 isn’t going to cut it any longer.

Those 250 MB copies of WIRED you’ve grown fond of? A 4x increase in resolution won’t translate directly to a 4x increase in file size, but I can only imagine that the folks at Adobe are furiously trying to figure out how to tamp down the file size of the magazines and ebooks their publishing system produces.

The one thing Apple’s super high resolution screen won’t penalize, of course, is text. And maybe app developers will fall in love with vector graphics all over again. Lord knows the tools to render gorgeous graphics with them are already right there in HTML5.

For fans of reading on these devices, it’s a brand new day. As someone who has just recently discovered that the real reason some prefer the Kindle to the iPad for long reading sessions is screen resolution – realized through the controlled experiment of discovering that reading on an iPhone 4S is also more pleasurable than an iPad 2, despite its larger screen size – I can say with confidence that this will only accelerate the transition of reading from print to tablets.

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