As developers of iPad and universal apps, this concerned us. Would our apps look horrible on the new iPad screen? Did we need to rush out upgrades to all of our apps, putting our current projects on hold?
So we got ourselves a shiny new iPad to test on. Now that I’ve played with it a bit, and we’ve tested some of our apps on it, I thought I’d share my conclusions.
As A Developer
You can definitely tell a difference between hi-res retina graphics and normal iPad graphics. Apps with retina images have an extra polish, a little sparkle over other apps. It’s a subtle difference, and possibly only visible if you are looking for that difference, but it is there.
As A Consumer
To be totally honest, if I weren’t paying attention to the difference between the retina and low-res graphics, I wouldn’t have noticed. Yes, the screen is crisp, but when I looked at our first-generation iPad after spending time with my shiny new iPad, I didn’t recoil in disgust. Maybe it’s my eyes, but I barely noticed unless I was actively analyzing the image quality.
When deciding which apps to download, I didn’t care if an app was upgraded for the new retina screen. What mattered most, what always matters most, was the core of the app itself: the features, the fun, the experience. I never even checked to see if an app I wanted was upgraded for retina graphics. If it was, it was a nice little bonus. If it wasn’t, I assumed it would be upgraded eventually.
Of course you should upgrade the graphics in your iPad app at some point. Work it into your next update cycle. Keeping your app high-quality as technology advances will help keep it competitive.
But don’t panic. The slightly-less-than-perfect quality on the new iPads won’t be apparent to most consumers, for most apps. It certainly won’t stop someone from buying your app- or enjoying it – if the app itself is a good app.
One thing to note: if your app has both photos and vector graphics, definitely work on upgrading those photos. Some apps, like Wikipanion, have both: the vector graphics are retina, but the photos in the articles are all normal computer screen resolution, not retina. It’s a little jarring, but understandable – there’s no way they can update all the photos of all the entries. Moving forward, make sure all your photos are twice the size that they were before.
Here’s what we did: we were about to update one app anyway (Wild Fables), so we upgraded our graphics too. It added a day to our project, but it was a good time to do it. We also upgraded our most popular app (Math Ninja). But we have several other apps that we aren’t going to upgrade right away with retina graphics, because we have other projects that take precedence. We’ll upgrade the graphics the next time we update those apps.
Anyway, I hope this helps some other developers out there wondering what to do now that the iPad retina screen has made its appearance!
Have something to add? What do you think about the retina iPad screen? Chime in below in the comments!