You have MacRumors, Apple Insider, Gizmodo and BGR with claims that the icon resolution updates are further evidence of Retina Display MacBooks.
What the bloggers know
So you have a string of bloggers quoting each other claiming that these ultra-high resolution icons are evidence of ultra-high resolution devices.
Here is another sign of the arrival of Retina(ish) displays to the next-generation MacBook Pros
The update included behind-the-scenes changes that will pave the way for future Macs with high-resolution Retina displays.
Apple is continuing the process of preparing OS X Lion for Macs offering ultra high-resolution “HiDPI” screens, upgrading several application icons to higher resolutions.
The doubling of pixels in application icons suggest that Apple is planning to introduce new Macs with ultra-high-resolution screens, much like the Retina displays currently found on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch lineup.
Says Apple Insider (where the claims started).
What the guys at Apple know
The designers of Text Edit and Automator read the same blogs as you. They’re is a big possibility that they’re reading this post.
They try to keep their designs up-to-date for the possibility of higher resolution requirements. But they have no idea what’s coming down the pike in terms of hardware. They read sites like The Verge and BGR for those rumors just like you and me. They probably don’t read Gizmodo.
Even within Apple, software guys keep secrets from hardware guys, and hardware guys keep secrets from software guys. Seriously, the icons don’t mean anything.
What you should know
MacRumors was the most clear about the statement. The rumors of the Retina MacBook Pro are out there, and it’s possible that it will happen. However, Retina doesn’t mean doubling, and for many of the existing laptops Retina display is already closer than you would think.
As a developer I need to try to stay ahead of the curve. I don’t want to be caught off guard by a resolution increase, and be scrambling at the last minute to make sure my icons and elements look good at larger resolutions.
Hopefully the HD resolution march continues on, and we see better screens and more beautiful displays. Don’t let these little icons convince you that it’s soon.