On the Ugliness of Non-Retina Apps Running on the MacBook Pro With Retina Display

Aaron Pressman thinks I should have spent more time in my review of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display complaining about third-party Mac apps that haven’t yet been updated with retina-caliber UI elements, and particularly those which don’t even support retina-quality type:

The program in the upper left corner is Microsoft Word. Look at the jaggies in that 12 point type. Ugly. Now look over to the top right. That’s Apple’s own Pages program with the same words in the same font also at 12 points. Yummy. Likewise, in mid-screen is Apple’s TextEdit program. Smooth as a baby’s bottom. And in the lower foreground, Adobe’s Dreamweaver with text that looks like, well, like ass as Gruber might say.

But, hey, the guy at the Apple store tells me everything will look a lot better as soon as other software makers update their apps to take advantage of the Retina display.

No doubt, that’s one of the significant downsides to buying a MacBook Pro with Retina Display today. And no surprise, Microsoft Office and the Adobe Creative Suite apps are among the apps which don’t even support retina-quality type. (That list includes my beloved BBEdit as well.) I’m not sure what Pressman’s argument is, though. It’s no different than any previous transition — PowerPC to Intel, classic Mac OS to Mac OS X, etc. Apple ships first; developers like Microsoft and Adobe catch up later.

Update: It ends up Word’s text rendering engine is already resolution independent, but you need to hack some metadata in the current app bundle to enable it. It’s just the UI chrome Microsoft needs to work on.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012