Next-Gen iMacs and MacBook Airs to Have ‘Retina’ Displays as Well

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Now that rumors surrounding the next-generation MacBook Pro have reached a fever pitch, ABC News has rounded up those rumors and throws in their own two cents. Specifically, Joanna Stern claims that the iMac will also gain the new ultra high-resolution “Retina” displays that are already in use on iPhones and iPads, and believed to be coming to the new MacBook Pros.

For quite some time now, Apple has been building in “HiDPI” support into the latest version of OS X. This allows on-screen graphical elements to scale to the high-resolution displays. Of course, this technology is being built in, but with a complete lack of Macs currently shipping with ultra-high resolution displays, it is currently unused. It would be a naive assumption to think that Apple would build all of this in for only one line of computers. It may take time, but I suspect “Retina” displays will make their way to all of Apple’s products with displays.

That said, there is a technical issue- if Apple were to simply double the resolution as they did with the iPhone and slap a “Retina” label on it, they could run into problems. Firstly, I doubt they can make displays with a ultra high, double-resolution at that (21 and 27-inches) size, in a mass quantity at this time. The yield rates just aren’t there. Secondly, a doubling of resolution could quickly bog down even the beefiest of current-generation graphics processors.

So, instead of just doubling the resolution and calling it a day, I suspect that Apple will bend the definition of “Retina” with regards to the Mac. That is, display resolutions will be bumped significantly, but not a true doubling. This will pass, due to the greater average viewing distance of a computer display as compared to, say, iPhones and iPads. In other words, the greater viewing distance makes up for the relatively lower pixel density (compared to the Retina displays we’ve come to know and love), which in turn, still brings an extra-crisp experience to the user.

Rounding out the Mac Retina display rumors, 9to5Mac is reporting that the next-generation MacBook Air will also sport a Retina display. The report notes that this will likely be the most significant change in the forthcoming update. However, due to power constraints, it may be a while before the Retina-equipped Air makes its way to market.

So, the long story short is that it seems pretty certain that ultra-high resolution “Retina” displays are on their way to the Mac. And it seems that all of Apple’s notebook lines are poised to see this upgrade when they are updated, and if other reports are to be believed, most will be updated in the very near future.