4K display seems less likely, but bump to Surface 3 Pro-like "Retina" resolution seems likely

When it comes to the battle of ultraportables Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) 12-inch, $799 USD Surface Pro 3 (2160x1440 pixels) stacks up reasonably well against Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) current 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air notebooks, which start at $899 and $999 USD, respectively. The smaller 11-inch Macbook Air features a low-resolution 1,366x768 pixel display, while the larger model features a 1,440x900 pixel display (to their credit, they do offer twice the storage as the base Surface -- 128 GB of flash -- in their base SKUs).

That could soon change, as Apple, Inc. (AAPL) is reportedly working on a pricier 12-inch MacBook Air which will feature a "Retina display".  According to 9to5 Mac, the new notebook will be thin and lighter and feature a slightly modified aluminum unibody.  

More likely the new screen will be close to that of the Surface Pro 3, as the Retina display in the second-generation 7.9-inch iPad Mini is 2048×1536 pixels (326 PPI) (QXGA).  The 9.7-inch iPad Air is also QXGA (2048×1536 pixels (264 PPI)) and the smallest laptop with Retina display -- the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro -- is 2,560x1,600 pixels (227 ppi).

Assuming Apple goes the same route as it did with previous MacBook Retina displays, the 12" Retina MacBook Air could feature a 2880x1800 display.  The new laptops are expected to launch in time for the holiday season, shortly after the release of Yosemite in Q4.  OS X 10.10 "Yosemite" -- currently in Beta – will launch in final form this October.  9to5 Mac claims the new model will be billed "as a selling point for OS X Yosemite."
It's not surprising, psychologically speaking, that Apple might want to launch a 12-inch product to directly via with Surface Pro 3.  In recent months Microsoft has offered customers up to $650 USD to abandon their MacBook Air for a Surface 3 Pro and a number of customers have taken them up on that offer.

According to 9to5 Mac, Apple is also reportedly going to launch a product with a 4K display. It is not known the new product will be a 4K iMac, or a 4K Thunderbolt Display (or perhaps both).

Source: 9to5 Mac

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