Apps, games and e-books may look great on the new iPad’s high-resolution “retina” display,
but it’s unclear whether Web sites will get the same treatment.
Pick up a new iPad and load a Web site, and you’ll often see crisp, clear text next to
not-so-sharp photos. That’s because most Web developers are still considering whether they
want to upgrade their sites to deliver higher-resolution images and videos for the new iPad,
which has a 2,048-by-1,536-pixel display. This may involve more bandwidth and storage costs,
and the programming work required to keep track of different image sizes and deliver them to the
Keep in mind that the new iPad is just a single device out of the many computers,
smartphones and tablets out there with less “resolutionary” screens.
The costs of scaling up just for the new iPad could be substantial, especially for big Web companies
that host a lot of images.
Springbox, a digital design agency that makes both Web sites and apps for clients,
is optimizing its iPad apps to suit the new retina display but holding off on upgrading its Web sites,
according to Tom Hudson, director of technology at the company. He said Springbox probably would
not consider scaling up its Web sites for higher-resolution iPads unless they made up at least
20 percent of the overall market.
Other than the costs of upgrading, another obstacle is the time that a Web site takes to load.
“Even though we’ve upgraded the quality of resolution on the iPad, our Internet connections are
still the same,” Mr. Hudson said. That means Web sites with images and videos optimized for the
new iPad could take longer to load, which isn’t ideal for many companies running Web sites.
This isn’t a problem for iPad apps, where images can be stored locally to reduce loading times,
he said. (On its own site, Apple is loading the lower-resolution images and then replacing them
with higher-resolution versions on the new iPad. )
Blue Fountain Media, another design firm, said the majority of its clients were not planning to
upgrade their images in light of the new iPad. Gabriel Shaoolian, chief executive of
Blue Fountain Media, said that for most of its clients, it wouldn’t be worth the trouble to upgrade.
Of course, that doesn’t mean Web sites aren’t going to suit up for the new iPad at all.
Some Web site owners will make beautiful photography and video priorities; they will choose to
incur the extra costs of upgrading just to look good on the new iPad.
Take for instance, companies that use photography to sell their products, like the beauty industry,
Mr. Shaoolian said. “If I change my images, will my visitors get more value out of it?”
Mr. Shaoolian said. “That’s a big question to ask.”
However, Mr. Shaoolian said that more importantly, the iPad in general has redefined
Web design standards, and many of his clients ask that their Web designs snugly fit the width of
the iPad screen. He said that maybe in two or three years, the iPad screen will set a new standard
for higher-resolution images, and more Web sites will upgrade.
“It’s like an HDTV. We’re just stepping into a new era,” he said, comparing the release of the new iPad
to when the first high-definition televisions hit the market — and suddenly DVDs didn’t look so good.
“It just came out, so a lot of companies will be slow to just take immediate action.”