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]