Monitor manufacturers are holding back the industry and have been for years. Take one look at ATI’s EyeFinity feature and you’ll know that modern graphics cards are able to output an incredible number of pixels. Take a look at the specification for almost every monitor on the market for the last thirty years and you’ll find hardly any that beat 100 DPI.
There really aren’t many reasons for staying at 100 DPI on the desktop other than history. It’s about time the monitor manufacturers moved to 300 DPI.
Up until this summer, nobody had really noticed. Then the iPhone 4 came along with its Retina Display and changed everything. The move to high resolutions in mobile phones is now a certainty and it needs to happen on the desktop too. Everyone we’ve asked who has used a Retina Display for more than a few hours finds desktop displays ugly and blocky.
Moving to 300 DPI on the desktop would give the graphics and display industry a much-needed shot in the arm. Just about everyone in the industry would benefit.
IT workers win because they’ll get less eye strain. Both Windows and OS X do text smoothing to hide the blockiness and make text more legible. A move to 300 DPI would mean that text smoothing was no longer necessary.
Monitor manufacturers win because, although stuck pixels are relatively few and far between these days thanks to improved manufacturing processes, plenty of LCD panels never escape the factory because of them. At 300 DPI, stuck pixels hardly matter because a speck of dust on the screen is bigger. So there’s a good chance that manufacturers can push all of the panels they produce out of the door.
Monitor manufacturers also win because 3D has, at least temporarily, turned out to be a lemon. They need something to push the boundary again. Preferably using technology that doesn’t mean building an entirely new production line.
Graphics chip manufacturers win because there would be a new high point to hit. Memory manufacturers would win because those graphics cards would need more, faster memory.
Marketing departments win because there’s something new to sell and it’s tangible. The customers can see the difference.
Moving to 300 DPI on the desktop is long overdue. Everyone in the industry has something to gain from it. The big question is, will it be Apple to move first yet again or will another firm have the courage?