Screens as paper

Way back when, the very first laser printer I used had a resolution of 300 dots per inch (or dpi). And way back then, I thought it was pretty damn good. Certainly good enough to get away with pseudo-typesetting (or desktop publishing as they used to call it) a range of books and annual reports and the like. In fact, the real problem with those laser writers was that getting really black blacks was tricky – any solid areas always looked patchy and streaky. Anyhow, I’ve always had in mind the idea that when electronic screens matched that 300 dpi resolution, then the screen as paper and all that entailed (such as the ebook as book) had arrived.

Remember, back in the day (of desktop publishing) that 72 dpi was de rigeur for computer screens. This has improved dramatically and laptops and these days, good LCD screens are well over the 100 dpi mark. Smartphones have always done better in terms of so-called pixel density, with most sitting between 150-250 dpi. But recently, there’s been a bit of a battle for bragging rights, and today’s iphone 4 announcement has just upped the stakes – with a 960 x 640, 3.5 inch display, it’s the new king of the hill at 326 dpi. Comfortably clear of my mark. Is it any good though? Here’s Gruber:

Apple had a demo area for the media after the keynote, so I got to spend some time hands-on with the iPhone 4. The resolution of the “retina display” is as impressive as Apple boasts. Text renders like high quality print.

Now I just want that screen resolution on an ipad 🙂


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