Apple prepares OS X for new Retina display Macs

Recent updates reveal that Apple has increased the resolution of icons, readying them for Retina displays

Apple has been preparing its operating systems for high resolution Macs, adding evidence to the rumour that the next generation line-up of MacBooks will have Retina displays.

The OS X 10.7.4 update released by Apple on Wednesday was hiding some changes that may seem minor at first glance, but could indicate that Apple is about to launch something major.

Apple Insider reports that Apple's built-in TextEdit application's icon's highest quality version has been increased to 1,024-by-1,024 pixels, double that of the previous 512-by-512 pixels in the icon before the update. The increase in pixels readies the icon for a Retina display.

The file size of the icon also grew from 209 kilobytes in OS X 10.7.3 to 1.7 megabytes in 10.7.4, reveals the report.

This could this mean that Apple's new MacBook line-up, which is expected to arrive within weeks, will feature Retina displays like the one found on the new iPad, which has 3.1 million pixels, a million more than a HDTV.

Apple describes a Retina display as having pixels that are "so close together, your eyes can't discern individual ones at a normal viewing distance."

When Apple launched the beta of OS X 10.7 Lion, the App Store icon and the Launchpad icon were increased to 1,024-by-1,024 pixels, and in February, some cursers were improved to a higher resolution.

In April, Intel revealed that its new Ivy Bridge processers have been built for Retina display, which also indicates that Apple will launch Retina display MacBooks, as the company is expected to be the first to use the new chips in its products. The Ivy Bridge processor could power 2560-by-1600 displays, which is an impressive four times the amount of pixels currently found in the 13in MacBook Pro's display.

When testing OS X Mountain Lion, which is predicted to launch in June at Apple's WWDC in San Francisco, developers have also found double-resolution icons.

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Ashleigh Allsopp

Macworld U.K.

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