UPDATE 2012-06-18: My Justia colleague, Dan Vu Quoc, has let me know that the 3rd party shareware Screen Resolution utility for Mac SwitchResX is capable of pushing the Macbook Pro with Retina Display’s resolution up to the full 2880 by 1600 resolution even when not plugged in to an external monitor. I have tried this out myself, and can confirm it is true!
I’ve used a 28″ monitor plugged into a 17″ Macbook Pro for a long time now, and it’s great to have all that screen real estate when coding for putting my editor window side by side with a browser window for testing, or a terminal window for running server side commands. I would get so used to having such a high resolution display that when I would unplug to go into a meeting (or take a flight) going down to the 1920 x 1200 resolution that the 17″ Macbook supported (max) was hard for me, there just wasn’t enough screen real estate to get work done effectively. Add to that just how heavy the 17″ Macbook Pro was and the fact that I am so fat that I can’t actually use the laptop on my lap on the plane, and it was just darn near unusable.
Because of this, I was understandably excited at the announcement of the new Macbook Pro with Retina Display which according to the tech specs supports an astounding 2880 by 1800 resolution, higher resolution than even the 2560 x 1440 resolution of the 28″ Display I use at work.
Unfortunately, as many others have pointed out, you can’t actually set your Macbook Pro to the full 2880 x 1800 resolution. The screen does support 2880 x 1800 resolution, but Apple’s “Retina Display” technique is to use the extra pixels to make things sharper, not to display more on the screen. Continue reading →