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HiDPI Retina Images in Mountain Lion, Already Functional in OS X Lion

ArsTechnica reports on the discovery of Retina-sized artwork in OS X Mountain Lion's.
A source with access to the latest Mountain Lion preview alerted Ars that double-sized graphics have popped up in some unexpected places, once again suggesting that Apple may be close to releasing MacBooks with high pixel-density screens.
We'd previously spotted these same Retina-sized graphics in the Lion beta of Apple's new Messages application.

As well, we've found in our testing that Apple's HiDPI mode in Lion is already fully functional and will use the Retina assets appropriately. These screens show the Lion Messages app running in HiDPI mode.

HiDPI mode on OS X 10.7. Left: Retina enabled, Right: Non-Retina

The left image shows that Lion with HiDPI mode enabled uses the full resolution Retina artwork from the Messages app to improve the pixel sharpness of the images. When the Retina assets are selectively removed from the app (right), you can see it fall back to the normal non-Retina images bundled.

Users will be able to test this themselves to full effect when Air Display is updated to support Mac HiDPI mode on the new iPad. Apple's Messages Beta for Lion is one of the few Mac applications that are already Retina-enabled to a large degree. Some elements, such as font rendering will automatically scale upwards as it does on the iPad.

Top Rated Comments

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95 months ago

How's that news? The Ars Lion review already had a section about Lions HiDPI mode.

all kinda old news, but you have a Mac retina app (Messages) to play with.

Rating: 6 Votes
95 months ago

This is like one of those spot the difference competitions. Is there supposed to be a visible difference between the two images? If there is I can't see it lol.

‘Bout time we had some lovin for the Mac. Roll on retina Macs - just as long as they’re not so glossy I have to squint to see the image like I do now in certain lighting.

It's the silhouette that's sharp on the left and pixelated on the right.

This one shows the difference much more clearly. From another MR article (

Rating: 5 Votes
95 months ago
Retina-display MacBook Airs... that is all I ask...
Rating: 3 Votes
95 months ago
Amazing. Looking forward to HiDPi support shipping and Retina monitor availability. Just look at an iBook screen from 11 years ago to see how far we've come in just a short while previously.

Rating: 3 Votes
95 months ago
MBA 15" + retina display= call 911 for burning
Rating: 3 Votes
95 months ago
Larger than 30" ACD with matte screen. Come on Apple, 27" is too small. :eek:
Rating: 3 Votes
95 months ago
The good news is when Apple puts the beautiful hires displays in the iMac and MacBook Pros they will finally have to put a decent video card into them by default.

The bad news is Apple will once again put in just enough horse power to drive the new display but we won't see any real improvement for gaming. Just like the iPad 3rd gen.

Of course when you're looking at a 27 inch Retina display you'll be too busy drooling for much of that to matter.
Rating: 3 Votes
95 months ago
Retina display would be awesome but I really want IPS display!!
Rating: 3 Votes
95 months ago
But is the Mac OS X any closer to having resolution independence?

I want to stop running my 1680x1050 15" MBP in the slightly blurry non-native 1440x852 resolution. (I do that because all the text at 1680x1050 looks too small.)
Rating: 3 Votes
95 months ago

The point was that Apple will use a larger font so that the user will have no idea that anything has changed other than the screen sharpness increasing. Think about going from the iPhone 3G's screen to the iPhone 4's. They look identical (the font doesn't look smaller) other than the iPhone 4's screen is incredibly sharp. Same thing will happen here.

My good sir, you misunderstand me. On a 11in MBA or 17in MBP screen, MacOS displays a 12pt font at a physical size of 6.3pt. Even on a 27in Thunderbolt display or a low-res 15in MBP, it is 7.8pt. For a lot of people, that is a major issue, because they can not read this without major eye strain.

You can display your word documents and webpages at 190% to make them legible, but you can not do that for system fonts.
If Apple quadruples the resolution, the 12pt font will be much sharper, but it will still be displayed at 6.3pt.
Rating: 2 Votes

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