New HiDPI Images In Mac OS X 10.7.3 Points To Future Release Of Retina Display Macs
Whenever a new product release draws nearer, we brace ourselves for the inevitable barrage of rumors surrounding the technical specification and the aesthetic appearance of the product. Post launch, we then sit in amazement as somehow people manage to perfectly predict just what is going to be announced, and laugh uncontrollably at the others who were so far off the mark. It was like they just tickled a random idea generator and printed the result.
The rumors however, aren’t always just about the potential of future hardware and on a more consistent basis the point releases of iOS and Mac OS X are starting to be stripped apart and little snippets of information being collated and pieced together. In the past we have seen logs from iOS which make reference to a possible quad-core processor being present in either the new iPad 3 or the next iPhone as well as the possibility of 4G LTE data connectivity. Each nugget of information is like a piece of a jigsaw puzzle which, when pieced together paints a rather interesting portrait.
The latest jigsaw piece has been found in the most updated version of Mac OS X Lion which was recently offered in the 10.7.3 download. John Gruber of Daring Fireball has made reference to a Twitter post from iOS developer Matt Gemmell, as well as a separate tweet from Cabel M. Sasser who both point out that a number of UI elements in the latest 10.7.3 version of Mac OS X have been replaced with new HiDPI resources which scale to a larger size.
In the blog post, Gruber outlines the different UI resources which have benefitted from changes:
Have you noticed that Safari’s hovering-over-a-link pointing-finger cursor looks a little different in Mac OS X 10.7.3? It’s not just that the finger is at a slightly different angle — it’s a new UI resource that scales gracefully to larger sizes. That’s not the only new high-DPI image resource in 10.7.3: the grabby hand in Mail, the camera cursor for selecting an individual window to take a screenshot of, and a few other UI elements got the high-DPI treatment in 10.7.3.
A possible explanation for the inclusion of these new HiDPI resources is the future release of a range of iMacs and MacBooks which contain a HiDPI display, in other words are Retina-ready. The speculation is intensified by the fact that some owners of Mac Minis have reported that after the installation of OS X 10.7.3, their machines are rebooting into HiDPI mode if they are connected via HDMI. Some of you may also remember the little check box which allowed users to enable a HiDPI display mode that was present with the release of Mac OS X Lion, which when selected, rendered everything with twice as many pixels as the standard mode.
It looks certain that we will have a Retina ready iPad 3 in the coming few months, so it makes sense that Apple would want to compliment that with a range of beautiful, super-high-resolution-Mac machines.