Thanks to Retina I am Going Blind

by Colin Berkshire

I am writing to caution you about a serious trap Apple has set for its customers. If you have’t fallen into this trap then you should be aware.

You see, I purchased the new iPad with retina display. I loved how crisp the display was and as I get an allowance from my company that let’s me buy some gadgets I upgraded from my iPad2. And, by doing so I fell into a trap set by Apple.

You see, the Retina display is glorious. It is sharp and crisp and clear and easy to read. I find that it is as easy to read as a book.

But now I find that other displays are a pain, literally. Using an ordinary LCD display on my desktop for an hour leaves me with a pounding, throbbing headache. I struggle to read the text among the color-bar stripes that I never noticed before when using LCD displays. All I see are those vertical lines and blurry text. A co-worker even asked me why I was squinting and then I realized that I was and never had been before. I was trying to make the LCD text be more clear. Of course, it didn’t work to squint, but subconsciously my brain was trying to compensate.

I notice the stripes and blurry text on ATM machines, and (this is really sad) on my 27″ iMac which I love. But now, I hate the display.

You see, once you have used Retina you get spoiled and it is hard to go back. I won’t go back.


So now I am starting to think of whether a 27″ iMac might come with Retina displays. Here is the simple math: An iPad has about 50 square inches of display, and a 15″ monitor has about a 110 square inches of display. A 27″ iMac has about 360 square inches.

Apple seems to be charging a premium of about $2 per square inch for the Retina feature. (They bundle it as a $400 option the includes an extra 4GB of RAM, upgrades to 256 GB of flash from a hard drive, and doubles the GDDRS memory).

That means a 27″ iMac with 362 square inches is going to have a $750 premium to be Retina. Considering that you can buy a 27″ monitor from Apple for $1,000, a $750 up-charge is pretty stiff.

So what would I do if they offered it?

No question about it: I would cringe and pay the $750. Retina is that good.

When you think about it, a good quality commercial grade office chair costs about $500 to $750. We pay that because it saves our back from destruction. We pay $100 or more for good shoes. Heck, some people pay $100 for a pair of Jeans. So in the perspective of things, paying $750 to save your eyesight isn’t that big of a deal. If you keep your 27: iMac for three years it works out to $1 per business day. Now, is it worth $1 a day for Retina? You betcha. Sign me up.


I never realized how hard my brain had to work to make out the text on an ordinary LCD display. The brain is an amazing signal processor and it can handle the image smoothing and character recognition. But it clearly is gobbling up a lot of brain-CPU cycles to accomplish that task. I would rather those cycles be spent on problem solving or things of value to my company.

So I consider a $750 upgrade charge to upgrade a 27″ iMac a good business decision. And, if you have just the 21″ iMac the upgrade cost would be about $400 if you can do math.


So beware the evil plots of Apple and their insidious Retina displays. Once you have used one, you just can’t give it up. That’s twisted. That’s good.