Christopher Denter

Xcode on MacBook Pro Retina

With all the buzz around Apple’s latest addition to their MacBook Pro lineup, there’s been one question interesting for developers in particular that’s been left unanswered so far: What will Xcode look like on the screen and will it work OK?

I will attempt to answer that by briefly looking at the performance when running Xcode, and by sharing what it looks like on the device. The only changes I’ve made were changing the screen’s resolution and auto-hiding the Dock.


Performance-wise, this device feels very snappy. Even switching tabs in Xcode is fast (which was super slow on my previous device). For reference, I used to work on a 2009 MBP 13” with 4 GB RAM and an Intel SSD.

To quantify this a little: I downloaded Adium (adium-76b5e0220340) and opened their Xcode project. I then allowed it to index, which took about a minute.

After fixing some minor issues to make it build in the version of Xcode I was using, I attempted a full build and measured the time it took to build the project and run Adium, until it presented its window. This took a mere 30 seconds.

Subsequent “Build & Run” cycles finished in under 2 seconds.

I’ll have to work with this device a little longer, and especially on my own projects, to draw a final conclusion. So far I’ve been positively surprised.


I took a couple screenshots when running Xcode at the highest system-provided resolution setting, which is akin to 1920 x 1200 if you’re looking at it from a screen real estate point of view.

Text appears crisp in both the standard and my modified resolution.

One of the best things about this device, however, is that it allows you to run the iPhone and iPad retina simulators at 100%, i.e. without any scaling or scrolling. This is what that looks like:

If you have any more questions, feel free to ask me on Twitter.

The Next Chapter

New Blog

To account for a number of exciting recent events in my life, I’m taking my old blog offline and am starting a new one. This new blog will see infrequent updates and will serve as a basis for articles on things I come across in the course of my work as a professional programmer. If you’re looking for something that was on my old blog, contact me and I might get it for you.

Freelance Work

Also, I’ve decided to focus on freelance development for clients with interesting and lucrative projects. I feel very confident that I can draw from my high number of past experiences as a developer in various fields, and that I can put the education I received during my master’s studies to good use. If you’re interested, you can hire me.