Apple started the whole “Retina Display” craze with the iPhone 4. Then, it made Retina Displays even bigger with the new iPad. Now, it looks like there’s no turning back and Apple is well on its way to integrating Retina Display technology in this year’s MacBook refresh too.
To put things in perspective, the current MacBook line has you choosing between a 1366×768 panel or a 1440×900 panel for your display, as well as the 1920×1200 panel in the 17-inch MacBook Pro. By contrast, the new iPad is able to make the substantial leap to 2048×1536 pixels in just a 9.7-inch display. Considering that the MacBook range goes from 11.6-inches to 17-inches, Apple would have to substantially increase the resolution again.
That said, they were able to justify the lower 264 ppi on the new iPad (compared to 326 ppi on the iPhone 4S) because they said you’d likely have the screen further away from your face. I imagine you’d keep a laptop display even further, so it’s possible that Apple could go lower and still call it a Retina Display. There are reports of “double-sized graphics in the most recent preview of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion” to further back up the possible presence of Retina Display tech in the 2012 MacBook line.