Apple has been introducing high-resolution artwork in preparation for Retina Display Macs since last July, when the company released OS X Lion. And it continues to do so, with artwork from its new Messages beta available at double its normal size.
Apple’s approach to Retina Display Macs appears to be similar to that the company took with the Retina Display for the iPhone 4, which is increase the linear resolution by double. That means a 1,440 x 900 display would jump to 2,880 x 1,800 pixels.
MacRumors, which has discovered the high-resolution artwork in Messages, explains the advantages of this method:
This would allow applications to automatically scale up by a factor of two without necessarily having to include high resolution artwork. Apple already made such a transition when going from the iPhone 3GS’s screen (320×480) to the iPhone 4’s Retina Display (640×960).
In iOS, developers use the “@2x” suffix to label high-resolution versions of their artwork. It seems the same approach will be used on the Mac, and the new Messages application is already ready for a Retina Display Mac:
A look at some of the resources from Apple’s new Messages app shows several graphics that come in multi-part TIFFs that include regular and double resolution versions. In fact, if you look at the information embedded within the images, you can see the resources were at one point named in the same “@2x” convention. So, it seems Apple’s Messages App is already building in support for Retina displays on the Mac.
According to recent reports, we’ll see the first Retina Display Macs as early as this summer.