Anand Lal Shimpi:
Even at the non-integer scaled 1680 x 1050 setting, the Retina Display looks a lot better than last year’s high-res panel. It looks like Apple actually renders the screen at twice the selected resolution before scaling it to fit the 2880 x 1800 panel (in other words, at 1920 x 1200 Apple is rendering everything at 3840 x 2400 (!) before scaling - this is likely where the perf impact is seen, but I’m trying to find a way to quantify that now). Everything just looks better. I also appreciate how quick it is to switch between resolutions on OS X. When I’m doing a lot of work I prefer the 1920 x 1200 setting, but if I’m in content consumption mode I find myself happier at 1440 x 900 or 1680 x 1050.
I’m curious to learn more about how those non-integer scaling modes work. Apple may be able to use this trick to offer “Retina” screens on other Mac models before true 2X mode is economical or practical, possibly offering smaller multipliers such as 1.5X if they look good enough.
If so, I’d expect such partial-Retina screens to appear first (or only) at the edges of practicality and economics: the 11” MacBook Air and the 27” iMac.