Will Apple's iPad Retina Display inspire or frustrate you?

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Peggy AlbrightDevelopers must constantly upgrade their apps to operate on new devices and operating systems, but that process has taken a new twist with Apple's (NASDAQ:APPL) release of the new iPad.

The new iPad has a screen resolution of 2048 x 1536, which represents four times the number of pixels used in iPad 2 and a million more than used in a high-definition TV. The visual effects made possible by this technology are spectacular and they will enhance iPad games and make reading-related products--especially image-based publications--more exciting and easier on the eye. But while some developers are thrilled to create new apps or upgrade existing ones to exploit the new capabilities, the time and effort to accomplish the upgrades is a concern.

One company that has begun working with the new iPad specifications is Mag+, which has a platform and template for creating digital magazines and other content for the iPad and Android tablets. The company lists Popular SciencePopular Photography and Science Illustrated, among others, as its clients.

Mike Haney, chief product officer at Mag+, is enthralled by the new display and expects it will not only create highly enjoyable visual experiences, but that it will lead to new, innovative applications. He views the new device and display as an opportunity to be embraced.

"I think eventually it will inspire people to do things with the app environment and the tablet canvas that maybe they haven't done before," he said.

Haney said that his company's application was not that difficult to create for the new device because it is essentially a template that publishers use to brand and deliver content. But now iPad publishers must create and then apply two versions of their content, one that will look good for high-resolution display and another that will look good for lower-resolution display. And that process is trickier.  "For gamers and some of the other types of apps, depending on how their graphics are made and apps are built, it can be easy or simple depending on how you deal with both of those resolutions," he said.

Some will have notable struggles, however. One publishing company that has found the process to be particularly cumbersome is The Daily, the popular news app for the iPad. The Daily used its own in-house production team to create its new app and Greg Clayman, CEO of the company, told Folio magazine that it required a lot of "time, blood, sweat and tears" for his company to recreate all of the necessary digital assets for the new device. He said the company had 10 days to optimize and release the app to meet the new iPad launch and that the schedule "required everybody working all the time."

But Clayman is clearly, also entranced with the outcome, saying the high-resolution experience "makes for an intimate, organic experience across the board." And The Daily is now marketing the app heavily to gain a new audience among new iPad customers.

And that's another reason developers will consider adapting their apps for the new device: attracting attention in the market. While the new iPad is still new and the inventory of high-resolution apps is just gaining traction, companies have a better chance to differentiate their products on this device now than they will have later, when more high-resolution inventory is available. --Peggy

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