iPad 3 Retina Display Could Push Many Apps over 20Mb 3G Download Limit

When Apple announces the iPad 3 next week, we expect to hear that it will have a Retina display that has four times the amount of pixels when compared to the current version. The problem with this is that it could cause a number of apps to go over the 20Mb download limit that is imposed on those currently on 3G connections.

The problem goes a little further than that though as some apps are universal which means all images for both the iPhone and iPad are all included in a single download. By adding a Retina display to the iPad the total file size could almost be doubled.

One example is an app developer Marc Edwards from Bjango who looked at the Consume app. Adding Retina sized graphics for the iPad 3 (on a universal app) would do the following to file sizes.

iPhone (Retina and non-Retina), iPad (non-Retina) = 18.3MB
iPhone (Retina and non-Retina), iPad (Retina and non-Retina) = ~35MB

As you can see, total app size almost doubles to about 35MB which is over the 20MB limit and therefore, that app will be forced to be updated and downloaded over WiFi instead.

Of course, not all apps will be effected by this as many will be lower than 10MB and will still fall under the 20MB limit when new Retina iPad images are included, but for many it will push them over that limit.

What Apple might do is simply allow for larger app downloads over 3G although this might also be determined by the carriers. We should learn more on Wednesday about this, or it might simply not get mentioned and app developers might have to just deal with it. But, Apple has increased the limit before from 10MB to 20MB, so it means it isn’t out of the question of them doing it again.


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