The new 27-inch iMac
After years of anticipation from Macintosh enthusiasts, Apple might finally be ready to release its first desktop with a Retina display. Rumors began surfacing this week that the new 27-inch iMac will be receiving a massive boost in resolution from 2560×1440 (109 PPI) to 5120×2880 (218 PPI) — four times the raw number of pixels on-screen. To help push nearly 15 million pixels at once, a new AMD-based GPU is said to be included as well. This is exciting news, but the inevitably-high asking price is bound to scare away most consumers.
9to5Mac and Jack March have both independently reported on these new iMacs, and the rumors seem to be largely compatible. As far as these rumors are concerned, we can expect to see this crazy 5K iMac at Apple’s next press event — probably some time in October, alongside some new iPads.
While the 9to5Mac report is somewhat vague, March doesn’t shy away from listing specs. Apparently, this new model will have the exact same design and physical dimensions as the previous model — only the internals are getting refreshed. The Intel i7-4790K Haswell CPU (clocked at 4Ghz) will be included in this SKU, and it seems Apple is switching the iMac back to AMD-based GPUs. Little is known about which graphics processor Cupertino has in mind, but it’ll need to be quite beefy if there is any hope at running 3D games at the native resolution of the display. (This tidbit doesn’t quite ring true: Nvidia’s new Maxwell GPU, with its much lower TDP, would surely be a better fit than any of AMD’s offerings.)
Unfortunately, the 21.5-inch model doesn’t seem to be getting the same amount of love. We can expect the smaller iMac to stay right at 1920×1080 (102 PPI), but a small bump in CPU and GPU wouldn’t be much of a surprise. While it’s disappointing that only the biggest model is getting a Retina update, it’s not particularly surprising. High-res displays are still very expensive, so it doesn’t make sense for the cheaper low-end iMacs. For now, 5K displays are still a premium feature. It’ll take a while for those displays to work their way down market, but it’s bound to happen eventually.
We’re still waiting on new iPads and Macs for the holiday shopping season, and Apple is typically done making major releases by the time November rolls around. Whatever Apple actually plans to release, we’ll know sooner rather than later — at the moment, an event in October to announced refreshed iMacs and iPads seems most likely. I’ll be in the market for a new desktop after Christmas, but the idea of dropping thousands of dollars — probably upwards of $3,000 when all’s said and done — for a 27-inch Retina iMac doesn’t sit well with my pocket book. What about you? Is the Retina iMac exactly what you’re looking for, or will it be too much money for too little computer? Sound off in the comment section below.