The new iPad’s retina display feature was greeted by a lot of excitement by the technology press. However, there is a key problem Microsoft’s OS has to overcome with the new display, the newest iPad is just one product with one resolution. Microsoft’s answer to the challenge posed by Apple’s new display is that Microsoft’s new OS must be able to handle and accommodate a wide range of displays and display sizes. Unlike Apple’s Retina Display which only runs on one product, since Windows 8 will run on a wide range of devices with differing displays, what looks good on one device can easily look lousy on another device with a different display size.
Microsoft’s response to the challenge posed by the iPad’s retina display is to define Windows 8′s few minimum specifications for hardware. Apps running on Windows 8 devices have a minimum resolution set at 1024 x 768. This should not be a problem for Windows users since, according to Microsoft’s figures, only 1.2 percent of active users of Windows 7 use a smaller resolution screen.
The ball is in the OEMs’ court since if they wish to support all of Windows 8′s features they have to factor in 1366 x 768 displays. This was the resolution used by the Series 7 slate Samsung makes. These displays produce a 1024 pixel main app with a smaller “snapped” app that is 320 pixels in width.
How do Windows 8′s specifications impact the iPad? The newest iPad is set to a density of 234 pixels per inch. Rumors indicate that these new retina displays will also appear in later models of the iPhone. By comparison, a Windows 8 13 inch laptop that has a display of 1280×800 will only have 116 pixels per inch. However, if your tablet display is 2560 x 1440, your pixel density is a whopping 291 pixels per inch. When it comes to Windows 8, display size truly does matter.
Still, Microsoft has a tough problem since many developers are not really paying attention to Microsoft’s diversity of display support. Developers are not optimizing for the wide diversity of supported display sizes. They just do one size optimally and the other sizes have flaws.