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Mountain Lion's Messages beta hints at Mac Retina Display?

Apple blog Macrumors says it has found the smoking gun it has been looking for to prove Apple is bringing ultra-high-resolution displays to its Mac line.

Could Apple's MacBook Pro feature a Retina Display?
Could Apple's MacBook Pro feature a Retina Display?

Apple's iPhone is the only device sporting a Retina Display, but that might eventually change.

Apple blog Macrumors today revealed a discovery in Mountain Lion's new Messages beta application that hints at the company bringing Retina Displays to Macs. The blog, which didn't venture a guess on which Macs would sport the high-resolution display, pointed to Messages' developer resources that have the same "@2x modifier" used in images for iOS. When developers add that modifier, they can display high-resolution images that accommodate the Retina Display's higher pixel density.

The standard 15-inch MacBook Pro ships with a 1440x900-pixel display. With a Retina Display, that resolution could jump to as high as 2880x1800. Such a high-resolution display would outpace Apple's $999 27-inch Thunderbolt Display, which comes in at 2560x1440. The company's 17-inch MacBook Pro ships with a 1920x1200 LED-backlit display.

Whether or not Macrumors' discovery means that Apple will actually be launching a Retina Display for Macs remains to be seen. Apple is notoriously secretive, and the blog's data was taken from a developer preview of an operating system that has about half a year of development left before it launches. Furthermore, Apple's desire to make Mac OS X more like iOS might mean the 2x modifier was temporarily borrowed from its mobile operating system.

Still, this isn't the first time we've heard about the possibility of a ultra-high-resolution display coming to Macs. In December, Digitimes reported, citing sources, that Apple was planning to launch a MacBook Pro featuring a 2,800 x 1,800 display. The blog said that the device could launch as early as next quarter.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment on Macrumors' find.