iPhone Life magazine

Good news, bad news: better displays mean larger apps

The retina displays on the iPhone and iPad have been very popular, with their high resolution and amazing sharpness and clarity. That's the good news. The bad news, according to All Things D, is that these higher-resolution displays are resulting in ever larger apps that take up more memory. This is true even if you don't have a device with a retina display, such as my iPad 2. That's because developers make a single app for iPads that automatically displays correctly depending on which iPad it's running on. So that means that an app on my iPad 2 also has all the computer code necessary to run on the higher resolution retina display. Apps for retina displays typically use much higher quality graphics, especially games, so they're larger. In addition, universal apps -- those that are designed to run on any iPhone or iPad -- have all the computer code for the various iPhones and iPads, so they are even larger.

This is an important consideration when you buy your next device. If you've been in the habit of getting a 16 or 32 GB device, you may want to move up to 32 or 64. It's possible that 16 GB configurations will disappear altogether. Microsoft's new Surface table starts at 32 GB, in part because the base software reportedly takes up 12 GB. All Things D says that within 18-24 months we'll likely have 32, 64, and 128 GB options.

AThe article says that the average size of a game app in September was 60 MB, which was 42% higher than in March. That's a rapid increase. The average app size in September was 23 MB, which was 16% larger than in March.

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Jim Karpen's picture

Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.