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What version of OS X is pre-installed on the Retina Display MacBook Pro models?
The original 15-Inch "Mid-2012" Retina Display MacBook Pro models first shipped with a version of OS X 10.7 "Lion" and all subsequent Retina Display MacBook Pro models have shipped with a version of OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion."
Specifically, these systems have shipped with these operating system versions:
|Retina MacBook Pro||Original OS X||Build Number|
|Mid-2012 (15-Inch)||OS X 10.7.4||11E2068|
|Late 2012 (13-Inch)||OS X 10.8.0||12C2034|
|Early 2013 (13-Inch & 15-Inch)||OS X 10.8.2||12C3103|
Regardless of the version of the pre-installed operating system, all Retina Display MacBook Pro systems are capable of running the latest version of OS X.
No. Running Mac OS X software written for the PowerPC processor requires the "Rosetta Universal Binary Translator" which is not supported by either OS X 10.7 "Lion" or OS X 10.8 "Mountain Lion."
If support for older software is important to you, you likely would be better off purchasing a used MacBook Pro capable of running Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" or Mac OS X 10.6 "Snow Leopard." These versions of the operating system are capable of running both the vast majority of Mac software written for Intel-based Macs as well as the vast majority of Mac OS X applications written for PowerPC-based systems, as well.
In addition, versions of the operating system earlier than the one that shipped with a particular Mac are not compatible. Mac OS 9 applications are not supported by operating system versions compatible with the MacBook Pro line, either.
To install software or transfer files from a CD or DVD to a Retina Display-equipped MacBook Pro, you have to either purchase an external SuperDrive, which Apple offers for US$79, or use the "Remote Disk" function. Essentially, you just install the "Remote Disk" software on a nearby Mac or Windows machine, and then use its optical drive to install software or transfer files via CD or DVD.
Of course, Apple would prefer that you buy all software through Apple's own Mac App Store rather than install software via other means. Some developers have been quite vocal in expressing that the App Store doesn't meet their needs or the needs of their customers, but Apple's Mac App Store may or may not meet your own needs.
Nevertheless, additional information regarding "Remote Disk" is available via the Apple Support Site. It also is worth noting that this cannot be used to re-install the operating system. Some copy-protected CDs, DVDs, and games also cannot be installed using this method.
Apple does not include a physical restoration method for the Retina Display MacBook Pro models.
Instead, the operating system has a hidden "restore" partition containing an "OS X Utilities" application that is only accessible upon startup by holding down Command-R. Additional details about "OS X Recovery" is available on the Apple Support Site.
This is the type of question that no doubt many technical users find funny. However, given that Apple is using the same "Retina Display" marketing terminology for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models, it is easy to see how one could think the "Retina Display" MacBook Pro would be able to run the same software as these "Retina Display" mobile devices.
However, unless the increasing iOS-ification of Mac OS X leads to an "iOS X" operating system capable of running iPad apps on the Retina Display MacBook Pro line, the answer simply is "no" for now.
Like all other Intel-based Macs, the Retina Display MacBook Pro models are capable of running Windows and a number of distributions of Linux via Apple Boot Camp or by using "virtualization" software.
For more information regarding Windows on the Mac, please refer to the extensive Windows on Mac Q&A.