Jailbreak developer Ryan Petrich – you may know this name because we interviewed him earlier this week — has created a Mac utility that enables developers to start testing their apps in a special Retina display iPad simulator. Instead of replicating the display size of a traditional iPad that doesn’t have a high-definition display, the hack allows for Xcode’s iPad simulator to run in 2x mode and will give you a preview of what your app will look like at a remarkable 2048 x 1536 pixels. Now, if your app isn’t optimized for the Retina display size, then you’ll see how bad it looks at the resolution. More details after the break…
iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith spent a good deal of time yesterday optimizing the graphics in his iPad app Speed for a Retina display — the results can be seen above and you can click for a full size image. Troughton-Smith said that, while it took a bit to get things optimized, the results are spectacular. Therefore, if you’re a developer who already has the source graphics on your app, then it shouldn’t take too long to optimize things for the rumored iPad 3′s Retina display. However, it can get quite irritating, as Troughton-Smith notes in a tweet.
Another of Throughton-Smith’s iOS apps in the hacked simulator, click for full size
If you want to try out your app in Petrich’s Retina simulator, then feel free to download his hack, though there are a few additional instructions that you must follow before it’ll work. Steve Troughton-Smith points out that you’ll need to symlink “/Applications/Xcode.app/Contents/Developer to /Developer and /Developer4 (on 10.7)” before everything will work properly.
It is important to note that you will not have the best time creating graphics for a device that has a screen resolution above your computer, so some developers may need to upgrade to a larger monitor that has a resolution a little over that of what the iPad 3′s is rumored to be. This can be worrisome to developers because it means that they’ll need to spend more money in order to continue developing iPad apps that people will want to buy. (After all, I don’t know anyone who prefers a pixelated app on their iPhone’s Retina display since it just looks terrible.)
All of this kind of makes me question whether Apple will just release the iPad 3 only a few days after the device is announced. This does seem good for users, but if they’re planning on using any App Store apps, then it really isn’t. Anything that’s not optimized for the iPad 3′s Retina display will look terrible on the device because of the screen’s size. On an iPhone, a non-Retina app is less noticeable because the screen is actually quite small. But on an iPad, users will notice such a difference immediately.
What are your thoughts on this? Will Apple release the device shortly after the event or will they wait a few weeks like they did with the iPhone 4? Tell us what you think in the comments!