I mean, both use Intel HD Graphics 3000, and the MBP actually has a better processor. If they use the same Intel graphic card (and according to the website, the same info "13.3-inch LED-backlit glossy widescreen display", so they don't say they are different), how come MBP can't have 1440x900? What is the technical limitation of Apple hardware in MBP that justify this difference?

  • 2
    This is speculation on design decisions made by Apple and is unanswerable. – Philip Regan Aug 16 '11 at 10:06
  • I don't agree that this question is subjective. @glorifiedHacker answered the technical reasons: the screen can't display 1440x900. I'm asking for technical and the subjective as a bonus. – Somebody still uses you MS-DOS Aug 16 '11 at 14:39
  • Even a technical reason ("it simply can't display that many pixels" is not a very good answer, either, and I'm surprised by the upvotes it received) is going to have design justification that we will never know about. This is, on the whole, unanswerable and not in line with Stack Exchange's goals. I'm sorry, but this just isn't a very good question (I find it pointless, honestly). This question shall remain closed unless the community votes to reopen it or one of the other mods disagree with me. Feel free to flag the question so that it gets someone else's attention. – Philip Regan Aug 16 '11 at 15:18
  • Just because you think it's pointless, doesn't mean you should arbitrary close it. The answer telling about the pixels is well answered - it's objective, it's a hardware problem (the lcd screen has a limitation) - period. The subjective part is why Apple chose it to be inferior to the MBA, and I'm not asking only that. – Somebody still uses you MS-DOS Aug 16 '11 at 17:16
  • This has not been closed arbitrarily; it has been closed because it isn't a good fit for Ask Different. This kind of question can't really be answered, and this isn't a site for speculation. I (one of the other elected moderators) agree entirely with @Philip. Sorry, but this kind of question just doesn't work on this site. – Nathan Greenstein Aug 16 '11 at 17:40

The simple answer is that the MBP doesn't have a screen that can display 1440x900 - it's native resolution is 1280x800 (ie. it only has that many pixels). This is a physical limitation, not a software limitation. There is no point in sending a higher resolution image to the screen, since it can't display any higher detail.

I can't tell you why Apple chose a higher resolution display for the 13" MBA than the 13" MBP, given that I wasn't party to those decisions. The reasoning may be purely historical, however. The white MacBooks had a resolution of 1280x800. Apple introduced an aluminum unibody version of the MacBook with the same display in 2008. By mid-2009, Apple decided to rebrand the unibody MacBook as the 13" MacBook Pro - still keeping the 1280x800 display. My guess is that they just haven't gotten around to changing it yet.


Your graphics card is capable of this and higher display resolutions, just not with the included LCD display. If you attach an external monitor you will notice it can go way higher, but obviously the hardware has to support this. The native resolution of your screen is a maximum of 1280x800, so it will not offer higher than than. It's worth noting that for the display to look crisp you should use a resolution that matches your native hardware, you can for example run a higher resolution and scale it down, but it will look bad, also you can run a higher resolution and have it scroll around so that it does not fit in your screen, but I wouldn't reccommmend this.


No there's no technical reason why not - it was just a decision made by Apple. I must say it renders the 13" MBP a bit of an oddity in the Mac lineup, as it makes it a lot less desirable.

  • This depends on what you mean by technical reason - I think you are suggesting there is no technical reason why they didn't put the same screen in the 13Pro as the 13Air, which is probably true, but given that that isn't the case there is a very good technical reason why the resolution is not supported, and that is because the screen is different. – stuffe Aug 16 '11 at 14:52
  • That's what I meant - that there's no reason why they couldn't put the Air's 1440x900 screen in the MBP. – Paul Eccles Aug 16 '11 at 15:10

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