Why the MacBook Air Didn’t Get A Retina Display – Cost And Battery Life

CNET’s Brooke Crothers thinks a MacBook Air with a Retina display seems like a no-brainer. Your editor begs to differ somewhat. With the 13-inch Air evidently being groomed to fill the shoes of the old-school non-Retina MacBook Pro, which is probably not long for the world having been passed over for a Haswell upgrade, as Apple’s volume-seller laptop, a super high-res Retina display would jack the base price out of the value-leader range.

Another reason to be careful what you wish for with laptop display resolution is battery life. Crothers cites IHS senior director of display research & strategy Sweta Dash noting that another reason Apple didn’t go Retina with the Air revision was that 12 hours (nominal) battery life wouldn’t have been achievable with all those pixes to power, Ms. Dash cited observing that “Apple almost doubled the battery life [with the new MacBook Air]. You can’t do that with a Retina display.”

Crothers points out that when Apple squeezed a Retina display into the 9.7-inch iPad, it had to bump up the thickness, weight, and battery size, and for larger displays, all of these factors become even more of a challenge.

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