Apple has updated its MacBook Pro with the addition of the highest-resolution screen currently used in a laptop. As rumored for some time, the latest Pro model features a 2880x1800 pixel 15.4" display panel. The screen, which equates to a resolution of 220 pixels per inch, is being branded as a 'Retina' display - Apple's name for a display with pixels too small to discern at a sensible working distance. The cheapest version, which features a 2.3GHz quad-core i7 processor and 8GB of RAM, will cost $2199. The MacBook Pro is likely to herald a wave of high-resolution screens on laptops and mobile devices, with companies such as Sharp developing high-res, low-power displays.

As is usual with Apple, it's not yet known who is providing the MacBook Pro's display, but it is common knowledge that Sharp has been working on IGZO (Indium gallium zinc oxide) displays that can offer higher resolutions and lower energy consumption than conventional amorphous silicon designs. Sharp proposed that its technology could offer 10 inch screens with 2,560 x 1,600 pixels - more densely packed, at 300 ppi, than the panel in the Macbook. It has already started production but the specifications of the panels it's making have not been announced.

In conjunction with0 Semiconductor Energy Laboratory, Sharp has also recently announced work on crystalline IGZO designs that should exceed even these devices, including a proposed 13.5" 3840 x 2160 OLED screen, which would offer 326 ppi. The good news for photographers being that we can expect portable high resolution displays to become increasingly common in the near future.