High Resolution Icons in Mac OS X Lion Further Hint at Mac Retina Displays?

Apr 24, 2011 - 4 Comments

high resolution icons in Mac OS X Lion

Several applications in Mac OS X 10.7 Lion include unusually high resolution icons, providing another hint that Apple may be laying the groundwork to support retina displays on the Mac platform. The icons measure in at 1024×1024, which are double the current maximum Mac OS X icon resolution of 512×512.

The doubling of pixels and resolutions is significant, as doubling existing resolutions was how Apple handled bringing retina displays to the iPhone 4, and as we saw in some of the possible resolutions for retina Macs, it’s what makes most sense for developers and designers to accommodate.

The high res icons were noticed by Brazil’s MacMagazine (via MacRumors), and apply at least to the App Store, AirDrop, and LaunchPad icons under the Lion Developer Preview.

This discovery is after one of our readers noted that Lion’s large 3200×2000 resolution wallpaper may suggest a retina Mac future. If huge icons and default background images weren’t enough, MacRumors pointed out several months ago that so-called “HiDPI display modes” are making an appearance in Lion:

Taking cues from iOS, Apple has reportedly built in support for what it calls “HiDPI display modes”. These HiDPI modes allow developers to supply 2x-enlarged images to support double-high resolution displays. Like the iPhone 4′s Retina Display, this means that user interface elements will remain the same size, but everything will be twice the resolution and therefore twice as detailed.

While evidence continues to suggest that Apple is planning for a higher resolution future across their hardware lineup, costs to produce ultra-high resolution displays are likely still prohibitive. In other words, don’t expect displays with these resolutions anytime soon, if ever.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Rumor

4 Comments

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  1. qka says:

    What were icons back in System 6 days? I think it was 16*16

    My, how they have grown.

  2. Reb says:

    this means that we will have an icon that covers the 80% of the most commonly used screen resolution

    INSANE!!!! :)

  3. Jeremy says:

    Resolution independence is also going to be important with the e-ink hybrid LCD display patent that Apple was granted

  4. Jim says:

    I highly doubt we’ll be seeing Retina displays in Macs anytime soon. There’s just no reason. This is more likely to support zoom gestures and resolution independent GUI.

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