OS X Lion to bring high resolution 'Retina' display support

Apple's fondness for high-resolution graphics looks set to extend to the desktop with the release of Mac OS X Lion later this year.

According to MacRumors, yesterday's OS X Lion developer preview includes a major step forward in terms of resolution independence. In essence, resolution independence is the idea that graphical elements can be scaled to fit higher - or smaller - screens without any loss of detail.

As a concept, resolution independence is far from new in the world of OS X - support has existed since OS X Tiger back in 2006. In the Windows world, Windows Vista introduced DPI scaling in the same year.

In OS X Lion, previous efforts at resolution independence support have been replaced with "HiDPI display modes" which, as their name suggests, bring support for high DPI display modes. HiDPI modes work essentially the same way as Retina Display modes on the iPhone 4 - developers supply double-sized graphical elements, allowing the same size screen to display double the detail.

For the moment, high DPI screens are prohibitively expensive - it has been rumoured that the cost and complexity of such displays will lead to their omission from the iPad 2 - but it isn't hard to imagine a point where Apple would bring its desktop and notebook offerings up to ''Retina Display'' standard.

HiDPI modes are not enabled by default in the Lion developer preview and must be enabled in the Quartz Debug tools.

Image Credit: gigaom.com

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