No Retina display for the MacBook Air at Apple launch – here's why

It's all about preserving those precious minutes of battery
MacBook Air no Retina Display

We like our Apple devices thin, light and with beautiful ppi-tastic screens. But as Apple lavished a 2048 x 1536 display on the 7.9in iPad Mini, announced the thinner, lighter Retina-toting iPad Air and pumped up the power of its Retina 13in and 15in MacBook Pros, we couldn't help but notice someone had been left out. 

Apple's 2013 MacBook Air, that's who. Despite the heady rumours leading up to the launch today, the Air's screen sticks at a still impressive 1440x900 resolution on the 13in version. That's compared to the 13in MacBook Pro's 2560x1600 resolution. 

We doubt that's because Apple's engineers aren't capable what with the new 13in MacBook Pro now coming in at just 180mm (0.71in) thick. 

Put simply, we got a good 12 hours of solid use out of the 2013 MacBook Air during our testing – just an hour short of Apple's claimed 13 hours. And being the cheaper, thinner, lighter option at just 1.3kg this is the laptop Apple's needs to last the day, much more than the MacBook Pro models. Bigger batteries for power-sapping pixels need to be housed somewhere so that's not an option for super-skinny laptops. 

With its current Retina display panels, we predict the MacBook Air will remain without. But with less power-hungry IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) screens on the horizon, 2014 should be the year of an all-day Retina display MacBook Air to join the iPad Air. 

The high transculence of IGZO screens means they're skinnier than the equivalent LCD screens, making it even more likely that the likes of the MacBook Air could benefit from this tech. Sharp, LG and Samsung are all working on IGZO displays. Hi-res screened tablets and laptops with bags of stamina all round.