iPad3’s Retina Display Will Wreak Havoc on the Web
The iPad3’s Retina display is causing problems for apps who have to deal with Apple’s 20MB limit on app size. You know the web is in trouble when even the native apps are struggling with the gigantic Retina screen.
The difference of course between a native app and a website is that the bulk of the file size for native apps can be handled in one fell swoop upon download, while assets are requested on demand for the web.
This is seriously troubling for the web, who’s already dealing with increasingly-bloated page sizes. Users are going to get used to seeing beautiful crisp experiences on native apps, then turn to the web and get pixelated disgustingness. It happened before with the launch of the iPhone4, but the size of the iPad’s screen compounds the problem.
Of course not every iPad is on 3G service, but not all are blazingly-fast Wi-fi either. We need to be able to deliver great web experience that cater to context, and that means serving a good experience to a user on shitty Wi-fi on a Bolt Bus and also to the user comfortably browsing the web from their home.
The user on the bus can be on slow Wi-fi or 3G and might just need to get the damn assets downloaded. They shouldn’t be punished with downloading a massive Retina-ready image. That’s where navigator.connection comes into play, but even the basic connection types don’t give the whole picture of the user’s context.
Just because the iPad3 CAN serve up high quality, crisp images and video doesn’t mean it SHOULD for every use case. This is important. We need a way to properly address this.
Note: This was originally posted on my G+ page, but I’m trying to move these thoughts in house.