So what does the term ‘Retina-ready’ actually mean?
It’s a phrase coined by Apple with the advent of the iPhone 4. The display size of the iPhone4 is 3.5”, at a resolution of 960x 640 pixels. At this resolution, at an optimal viewing distance, the human eye struggles to distinguish individual pixels, so the technology was branded retina display.
Just to give you an idea, on a MacBook Pro with 15” display the pixel resolution is 220 pixels per inch (PPI) as opposed to most older monitors which are 72 (PPI). Again, what does that actually mean? Without getting too technical, it means that Retina display devices show more pixels per square inch, resulting in sharper images. A device pixel is the smallest physical unit in a display; there are also different types of pixels, bitmap, CSS etc.
While it's easy to believe "here's another fancy Apple feature solely applicable to Apple's fans" the reality is, it won't take long for other brands to copy retina display technology - if their aim is to improve user experience, why shouldn't they?
What's important for you to understand is that on Retina devices, images with higher resolutions (more pixels per square inch) are required.
A Retina display device, displaying a website that serves Retina-ready graphics (higher resolution) will display sharper images and brighter, more vivid colours. A Retina display device such as an iPad3 serving non-Retina images (low resolution) will result in poor quality images and a less than optimal user experience. The ultimate aim of Retina display is to improve the user experience and make screen quality almost on a par with print quality.
So what happens if you have a website that is not Retina-ready? Don’t worry, your website designer can help you upgrade your graphics and content images. There are many techniques and tools available to do this (depending on your site structure, image types and browser options). Your website designer will choose the best options for your website.
If you are currently considering purchasing a new website then make sure that retina ready is in bold on your requirements list.