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Developers: Retina-optimized Mac apps will take time

Go ahead and grab the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, but be warned: It might be a little while before most of your apps look as sharp as the screen showing them.

While Apple is already updating its own apps for Retina display, officials with third-party developers Adobe and Autodesk said they’ll need time to ship Retina-optimized apps to the public. Their Photoshop and AutoCAD applications, respectively, were shown in Retina form during Apple’s Monday keynote at WWDC, along with Diablo III from Blizzard Entertainment.

“What was shown at WWDC 2012 was an unreleased build of Photoshop,” Marissa Lee, a spokeswoman for Adobe, said in an email on Tuesday. “This updated version of Photoshop is expected to be available later this year.”

“We’re pretty much in the same boat,” said Rob Maguire, Autodesk’s product manager for AutoCAD, a 3D-rendering drafting app. “We don’t have any officially stated plans.”

Maguire said his company needed to test the updated app on the new MacBook Pro, which it had only limited access to until recently. One particular concern for Autodesk is making sure that users with multi-monitor setups can drag an AutoCAD window from a Retina display to a standard-definition display and back again, without bugs cropping up.

But, he added, developers are excited about the possibilities offered by the new display.

“You can’t get a sense of what it looks like until you actually get your hands on it,” Maguire said, later adding: “If I were a drafter, I’d drop everything and buy it.”

Neither company offered a timetable for release. Blizzard did not respond to Macworld’s inquiries.

The lagtime for Retina-optimized Mac apps shouldn’t create major problems, but users of the new MacBook Pro may notice the same issues faced by iPad users when Apple upgraded the tablet to a Retina display earlier this year—namely, that pre-Retina apps looked pixelated and blurry on the higher-definition screen.

But Apple, with its home-field advantage, is leading the way: Since Monday’s keynote, it has released a spate of upgraded software, including new versions of its Aperture photo-editing and Final Cut Pro video-editing software that are both optimized for the new Retina display. iMovie 9.0.6, released Tuesday, promises “enhancements for the MacBook Pro with Retina display,” and a Motion update also offers enhanced content for the new notebook. Apple also updated Compressor to enhance the Share Monitor feature for the new MacBook Pro.


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