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Retina display MacBooks incoming this summer?

A clue in a developer release of Apple's OS hints that retina display MacBooks could be launching this summer.

If you've seen the new iPad you'll know the screen is pretty great. It might be no great shakes on first glance, but the fact it makes every other screen look blocky, grainy and washed out is testament to its quality.

Well, now Apple is rumoured to be bringing the retina display to its forthcoming range of MacBooks. Great news if you're set on buying one, get ready to avert your eyes if not.

So what's the tip-off? A source with access to the latest Mountain Lion preview has spotted double-sized graphics have been popping up, Ars Technica reports. These higher resolution icons could well mean Apple is prepping a range of MacBooks with high pixel density screens.

The example given is in Messages, Apple's replacement for iChat. Open the app in the second developer preview of Mountain Lion and you'll see 2x resolution art. The source says: "I would interpret it to mean that retina [MacBook] is close; perhaps concurrent with the release of OS X 10.8."

Apple's new iPad has twice the pixels of its predecessor the iPad 2 horizontally and vertically -- 2,048x1,536 pixels -- hence a far higher screen resolution, with much sharper images.

Apple could adapt OS X to higher resolutions thanks to HiDPI display modes. Mountain Lion, the new version of OS X, is due this summer, coincidentally the same time as Intel's next-generation Ivy Bridge processors are due. Oh, and we haven't forgotten about those rumours of a lighter MacBook Pro/bigger MacBook Air. So the next gen MacBooks could be slimmer, lighter, and pack a retina display? That'll be quite some package.

Would you like to see laptops with retina displays? Would it add much to the experience? And would you expect it to bump up the price? Let me know in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.