New High-DPI Cursors & Interface Elements found in OS X 10.7.3
Mac OS X 10.7.3 added several new high-dpi interface elements, giving another hint that Apple may be working towards releasing Macs with ‘retina’ displays.
DaringFireball points out that it’s possible these elements were updated to make Universal Access and cursor artwork more attractive, but also mentions that some Mac Mini users inadvertently booted into high-dpi display modes when connected to a TV via HDMI:
The simplest explanation is that Apple only just now got around to increasing the resolution of these elements for the benefit of users who use the cursor-zooming Universal Access feature. But, combined with the fact that some people with Mac Minis connected to TVs via HDMI are reporting that after upgrading to 10.7.3, their system rebooted in HiDPI mode, I can’t help but wonder whether we may be on the cusp of Apple releasing HiDPI Mac displays and/or HiDPI MacBooks. I.e.: retina display Macs.
The most noticeable element changes are visible when increasing cursor size, where before a pixelated cursor would appear and now the cursors are smoothed and significantly higher resolution. These higher res images could be appropriate for use on a Mac with a High-DPI display.
Other UI artwork was also updated, as MacRumors pointed out with this comparison image of showing the subtle difference between Mac OS X 10.7.2 and 10.7.3:
Mac OS X Lion has provided a variety of clues that retina Macs may be coming sometime in the near future. From the unusually high res wallpapers, HiDPI display modes, HiDPI options, to the giant icon artwork, there is a fair amount of evidence to suggest that Apple is in some stage of developing Macs with ultra high display resolutions.
There have also been rumors to support this idea. Late last year, Digitimes reported that Apple would release a MacBook Pro equipped with a high resolution retina display in the second quarter of 2012. There is also the expectation that iPad 3 will feature a ‘retina’ display, leading many to assume that a Mac would launch around the same time frame to support development of high resolution apps and artwork for the device.