[OS X TeX] Retina iMac

Vamos, Peter P.Vamos at exeter.ac.uk
Fri Nov 7 18:11:47 CET 2014

A (slightly OT) comment to George and anyone else considering the new retina iMac. Almost exactly two years ago I was in a similar position considering the 13” MacPro retina laptop, and posted here for comments. Most of the responses were enthusiastic and positive about the retina but Dick Koch added a bit of caution which turned out to be prophetic. He wrote:

"A lot of people claim the Retina display is so fantastic that once you use it, you can never go back to ordinary displays. I believe those people are in their early 20s. 
I’m also an old guy. I can see the difference in the Retina display, but I have to look closely”

I was/am also an old guy but undeterred I went ahead and bought it. Also, I am not impervious to some eye candy so I was excitedly looking forward to unpacking, turning it on and getting an instant visual high. Instead there was instant disappointment, in fact the thought occured to me that hey sent me the wrong machine. Only when I put my old laptop next to the retina could I see the difference – just.

About a year later, this January, I had a cataract operation on my left eye and my right one was done two months later. And lo and behold I did then get the `kick’ I was hoping for: text is extra crisp, things jump out of the screen etc. Alas I now also see every pixel on my old (Early 2006) iMac so it will be retired. 

The moral of this is that you can study the specs, ask for views but the most important parameter must be you eyesight. As for George’s original question: “Is the Retina iMac a good computer for TeXShop?” the glib answer of course it is but whether it is worth the extra money, as far as TeXShop is concerned, I doubt it unless you are fond of complicated inline formulae and nested subsubsubscripts which of course you shouldn’t use anyway. So it is down to money and eyesight. 

Actually, I haven’t yet seen this new iMac so I am now off to my local Apple shop to see it. I wonder whether it will be put next to the non-retina one.


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