Developers: Quick! Get “Retina-Ready” Or Risk Abandonment

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TechCrunch Giveaway: A New iPad! #TechCrunch

I just got the new iPad in the mail, and naturally the first thing I did was load up a few of my old apps and throw some content on there. Oh god! Oh no!

One of my favorite apps, GoodReader, which opens a great variety of files and which I use to consume the enormous PDFs from Google Books, is a patchwork of pixels. My go-to Mahjong game, aliased to hell! Muji notebook – my pencil leaves a chunky trail!

[Update: For the record, GoodReader has been updated to support the new display.]

Developers, I just want to tell you how critical it is that you upgrade your app to look at least passable on the new displays. The full-on big update can come later. But Apple has thrown your standard-def apps under the bus, and you need to drag yourselves out before your capricious iPad users lose faith.

It’s not some big revelation — we all knew there would be a transitional period — but I underestimated how bad it could be. Apple has not implemented any safeties for displayed content: the PDFs in GoodReader and the graphics even in premium games are being resized in the poorest possible way. Not even a bilinear filter to save the eye!

Look at how awful text looks without handling (open in a new tab):

Millions of new iPads are going to be opened up over the next few weeks, and every app that hasn’t made the change is going to be wide-open to a Cuckoo attack by competitors. Right now Kindle is threatening to unseat GoodReader on my iPad, because it displays text clearly. For developers offering “lite” versions and hoping to capture users, failing to support the new resolution will, plain and simple, result in lost users and potentially lost income.

If your app renders text or graphics, for the love of god update it, or don’t be surprised when a lower-quality app takes your place on a user’s iPad because that user didn’t feel like waiting another hour for the update that will make their content look good.

You can worry about app size, truly redone icons, and the other details later. Just get something out there! Every hour counts!