Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 12th Mar 2014 22:55 UTC
Mac OS X

In my Mac Pro review I lamented the state of 4K display support under OS X 10.9.0. In my conclusion I wrote: "4K display compatibility under OS X is still a bit like the wild west at this point". Compatibility was pretty much only guaranteed with the ASUS/Sharp 4K displays if you cared about having a refresh rate higher than 30Hz. Even if you had the right monitor, the only really usable resolution was 3840 x 2160 - which ends up making text and UI elements a bit too small for some users. Absent were the wonderful scaling resolutions that Apple introduced with its MacBook Pro with Retina Display. Well it looks like that won't be the case for long, last night I got reports (thanks Mike!) that the latest developer build of OS X 10.9.3 includes expanded support for 4K displays, 4K/60Hz support for rMBPs and scaled resolutions below 4K.

So, OS X is essentially the only desktop operating system with proper HiDPI support, right?

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RE: Comment by Drumhellar
by dpJudas on Thu 13th Mar 2014 18:45 UTC in reply to "Comment by Drumhellar"
dpJudas
Member since:
2009-12-10

OSX doesn't actually do proper DPI scaling - it is either normal or double size, and nothing in between.

Windows has supported arbitrary DPI scaling since at least Windows XP, but has always required a fair amount of work by developers to support it. Up until recently, there hasn't been much of a need for it, so developers didn't support it. Windows 8.1 has much better support than Windows 7 (and even better than 8), but since it's fairly new, it'll take time for apps to use it.

Microsoft also doesn't have a means to force developers to use new features on the desktop, nor should they. Apple has two methods: Willingness to break compatibility, and the Apple app store, where they can (and have) forced developers to adopt new standards or else...

The thing is, by the end of the day as an end user, I don't care whose fault it is that my entire desktop looks like a mess. It is just like with Windows Vista where virtually no correctly written apps would get into trouble with UAC. Yet so many applications out there failed the test. Who did they blame? Microsoft and Windows Vista.

What Apple realized is that if they could find a way to have OS X render correctly at 2x the standard DPI, then they could get legacy apps work visually correctly and then slowly introduce DPI awareness. Once developers gets used to knowing that 1 unit doesn't always mean 1 physical pixel, we can get to a world of better behaving apps.

Microsoft sort of been trying to do the same, but their problem is that everyone and their dog went ahead and declared "uuhh yep! I'm DPI aware! *giggle*". So now every application says they are aware of the DPI while virtually nothing is - not even Windows and its basic components itself.

Lastly Microsoft has the problem that GDI works in integers, while Quartz is a bit more modern and uses floating points. Integers and variable scaling is a really bad combo. ;)

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