By John Gruber
Back in November 2005, I reviewed my then-new 15-inch PowerBook G4. (Which is still my main Mac today. Screw that little endian stuff.) One of the notable changes in those PowerBooks was that Apple increased the resolution of their displays; the 15-inch models went from 1280 × 854 to 1440 × 960; the then-new 17-inch PowerBooks went from 1440 × 900 to 1680 × 1050.
Those PowerBook displays, and their MacBook Pro 15- and 17-inch counterparts,1 were the highest resolution displays Apple had ever sold.
The new 17-inch MacBook Pros introduced this week, however, offer a significantly higher resolution display. At 1920 × 1200, they offer the same number of pixels as a 23-inch Cinema Display. Here’s a table comparing recent Apple displays and their pixels-per-inch resolutions:
|15-inch MacBook Pro||1440||900||110|
|17-inch MacBook Pro (Default)||1680||1050||117|
|17-inch MacBook Pro (High Resolution)||1920||1200||133|
|20-inch Cinema Display||1680||1050||99|
|23-inch Cinema Display||1920||1200||98|
|30-inch Cinema Display||2560||1600||102|
Notably absent from this week’s new MacBook Pros is the configuration I’d personally be most interested in: a higher resolution 1680 × 1050 15-inch MacBook (matching the pixel count on the 20-inch Cinema Displays).
Apple’s previous notebook displays already offered significantly higher pixels-per-inch density than the Cinema Displays. The new high-resolution 17-inch MacBook Pro blows them away. At 133 PPI, it’s hard not to see it as a few months ahead of its time, optimized for the resolution independence coming (I hope) in Mac OS X 10.5.
The last model 15-inch PowerBook G4 had a 1440 × 960 display; the 15-inch MacBook Pros have a 1440 × 900 display. The effective resolution in terms of pixels per inch is very similar, though. ↩︎