Monthly Archives: March 2012

Macbooks with retina displays coming soon?

Rumors that Apple may be working on a Retina Display MacBook laptop have emerged. As per Ars Technica, indicators based on Mac OS 10.8 X Mountain Lion suggest that Retina Displays will soon become the standard within majority of Apple’s product ranges.

The Retina Display on the new iPad, iphone 4 and iphone 4S have introduced this screen style to the mobile market and it is only a matter of time before this is part of the MacBook range. I think that initially this may be introduced for the Macbook Air range followed by the 13 and 15 inch Macbook Pro line. This pixel-packed display on a laptop will be Apple’s “next big thing” followed by large touch screen iMacs.

Presence of double resolution icons feature in the beta version of the Mac OS update, indicate that devices with higher pixel-density screens will be part of the Apple product range. Currently the 17 inch MacBook Pro has a 1,920 x 1,200 resolution screen. While this is nothing to be scoffed at, it falls short of the retina display on the new iPad.

Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion is expected to launch at WWDC in June. I would like to see the new Retina Display laptops released around that time. I am hoping that imaging studies will look great on these screens. And if Apple could add the dictation button on the keyboard to go with this, this will my idea of a perfect laptop to view scans and generate radiology reports on the fly- no wires!!

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The New iPad- is it really a game-changer?

The new iPad is here! After I opened the box, I was worried that it looked just like my iPad 2 and I had been conned by the good folks at Cupertino into buying another device!
After using it over the weekend, I think that I was wrong… The new iPad is truly “resolutionary”!
And here is why- once you start getting used to the beautiful retina display and read books or play games on it, other “high definition screens” start looking pixelated. Text on web pages or in reading apps like ibooks is so crisp and sharply detailed that you will not want to go back to reading on another device like the iPad 2 or the Kindle. Movies and photographs reveal sharp detail and amazing sharpness.
As an illustration, I was on call this weekend and when I looked up from my ipad at my HP monitor with a resolution of 1920 x 1200, I can immediately see the difference in resolution.
Looking at radiology images on the new iPad screen is absolutely amazing! Chest radiographs project well and in the right lighting conditions, I can definitely see one using this to check scans on the go.

And here is why I think this will be a game-changer-
Once you have used the retina display at this size, there is no going back. I cannot wait for the next MacBook Air with the retina display- and believe me, that day is not far off!
I predict that with the increasing sales of the iPad, we will start seeing a demand for devices to have the higher resolution for tablets, laptops, desktops and phones. Manufacturers of Android and Windows tablets like Samsung, Amazon and Acer will have to step up to the plate and provide devices with the retina display to compete in the market.
Television manufacturers now have the challenge of delivering higher resolution on the large screen monitors at a reasonable price, although one could argue that at the distance we watch televisions, the resolution increase may not be appreciable. I cannot wait for the 60 inch television with iPad like resolution! This will also mean that content providers have to provide more 1080p content for tablets and more importantly, the Shylocks of the cable Internet and wireless provider world like Comcast and AT & T have to stop throttling heavy data users and improve their infrastructure and rethink/change their delivery model.

Needless to say, the other features of the iPad pale in comparison to the retina display, but are worth mentioning. The ability to dictate emails (sort of Siri lite), better rendering of the graphics within games and the battery life that is as good as ever even when you use LTE are note worthy features.
I only wish Apple could make the bezel transparent- that will make walking around with your iPad and looking around you with the 5 megapixel camera making videos a more immersive experience.

So- bottom line- I give the new iPad a thumbs up and cannot wait for everything that I look at to come in a retina display flavor!!

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iPad 3 and PACS- marriage made in heaven?

Apple’s new iPad 3 will have a retina display, or at least something approaching the retina display currently a feature on the iPhone 4S. This will increase the resolution of the  display very close to that of a 3 megapixel monitor. I hope that PACS vendors (particularly the mainstream companies like Fuji, Agfa, GE Centricity and McKesson) will be ready with optimized apps for this form factor that makes use of the high resolution display and touch screen navigation. I have been using Fuji’s iPad version of the Synapse software and it is pretty fast and enables viewing of CT and MRI images fairly well on a wireless connection. On AT & T’s 3G connection, it is atrociously slow.

A higher resolution display and higher luminance will make the iPad 3 a compelling buy for radiology departments, particularly for evaluation of gross pathology when the radiologist is outside the hospital. If the iPad 3 (or its successor) has 4G and a thunderbolt connection enabling coupling to a larger display, then it will be a game changer in the field of tele-radiology.

PACS vendors should see the writing on the wall and plan for the future now and the first ones to get a good, seamlessly functioning app to the iPad party will garner a large chunk of the market.

Will the ipad 3 herald a change in radiology book publishing?

I wanted to revisit the topic of medical publishing, particularly radiology books, while we are eagerly waiting for the release of ipad 3 from the folks at Cupertino. I have bought radiology books on the Kindle and in the ibook store, but have found that the quality of image reproduction is still below par on the ipad and Kindle so far.

However, I believe that the next ipad will herald a change in radiology publishing in the coming months and years. With the much-awaited retina display on the ipad 3, I think the image quality will look better and  the improved graphics processing capabilities will facilitate embedding scrollable image sets from radiology studies.

I think publishers are still sceptical of the e-publishing market in the medical field. They do not have a clear plan and are trying to predict the future, which unfortunately for them looks a little bleak to say the least. Why do I say this? Well, I was asked to write a chapter on Brain Neoplasia for the new edition of Caffey’s textbook of Pediatric Radiology last year. The editors asked us to keep the text and figures down to 15 pages as the publishers were considering putting the rest of the figures and text online. Somewhere along the line, the publishers changed their mind and decided that the online portion would not be required. This change of heart tells me that the publishers are panicking and do not know how to approach the online publishing and e-book market.

Consider this- by the time Caffey’s book is published, possibly in 2013, the text we wrote in 2011 will be rather outdated and there is no way we can update the sections which are no longer relevant or are simply incorrect in the light of new studies in the area. If the book had been published electronically, we could update the text when required and there would be no outdated text in there when it was released and even if there was, an over the air update would solve the problem.

The current model where publishers give a code inside the book that one can register with to access the “extra online content” does not work- and I repeat.. DOES NOT WORK..I have more than 20 textbooks in my ofice with such codes and after registering at the publisher’s website, i promptly forget the convoluted manner in which we have to access the publishers’ website. More importantly, I have no interest in doing this when i am in the middle of reading a chapter in the book. Usually, I need this online access in my reporting suite, where having a e-book and a web search would help me more than any password protected online access.

Publishers- I urge you to get up and smell the coffee. If you do not bundle the paper edition with the e-book format, you will be soon overtaken by self publishing academics. I hate having to jump through hoops to get to a body of knowledge that is often readily available on the internet and paying separately for the e-book and the paper edition, much like paying for a CD and the corresponding mp3. And we all know what happened to the CDs in the music industry, don’t we?Image