On the term "Retina"

With the announcement of Sharp's 5-inch 1080p display, there is again debate regarding the use by journalists of the term "Retina", as many people claim it's a meaningless marketing word invented used solely by Apple.

Though I agree that the term, at its inception, was just a marketing word, I think its general usage has expended beyond that - and that's okay! We can grumble over the specifics if we want, but saying a device has a "Retina"-quality display is simply a lot easier than saying "It has a display where the pixels density is great enough that it's largely impossible to differentiate by the human eye when used from a particular distance away". Obviously that "particular distance" varies from device to device; you don't hold a tablet as close as you hold a phone, and you don't hold a laptop as close as you hold either of them.

Now, we can debate whether or not the viewing distance Apple quotes for the iPad and MacBook are "realistic" viewing distances for those particular devices, but that's another discussion. Most people know what the term "Retina" means, even if many of us don't like the fact that Apple "invented" the term. Is it really worth complaining every time you see the term used? Personally, I find it useful as a comparison, as it lets me know immediately if a mobile device has a PPI on par with (or greater than) an iPhone or iPad - which, like it or not, are (for now) the standard bearers for displays in their particular mobile categories.

Personally, I'm just happy that Apple helped kick off the "PPI war" back when they released the iPhone 4, because it means we all get better displays in our devices that much faster.