Sick of hearing “Retina-this” and “Retina-that” and how it doesn’t apply to Mac’s desktop? It now does, you’ll just have to be prepared to spend big if you want it.
One of the big announcements from Apple this week is a change to the iMac, with Apple finally bringing that Retina love to its all-in-one desktop, one of the last high-selling desktop computers that still manages to do well while most of us switch to laptops and tablets.
The new machine looks to be one of those ideal for creative types, as the display is the standout reason to check it out, pushing on from the 2560×1440 display in the 27 inch iMac of previous years to one that boasts a staggering 5120×2880, twice the resolution and providing more pixels than that of a 4K display, which shows up as 3840×2160.
Why is this a big deal?
Previously, the only Mac machines that were designed for Ultra HD video were based in the Mac Pro line-up, and unless you had a cool several-thousand to spend on the ominous black cylindrical beast that it is, plus an extra few thousand on a compatible 4K screen, you were more or less out of luck, or forced to look at a PC, of which there are a few options, too.
With the introduction of a 5K iMac, Apple has raised the bar for all-in-one computers, introducing a display with a monumental amount of pixels, and paired it with some solid specs, to boot.
“Thirty years after the first Mac changed the world, the new iMac with Retina 5K display running OS X Yosemite is the most insanely great Mac we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing at Apple.
“With a breathtaking 14.7 million pixel display, faster CPU and graphics, Fusion Drive, and Thunderbolt 2, it’s the most beautiful and powerful iMac ever.”
The new iMac retains the super-slim aluminium design used on previous iMac models, but this time uses some new special source Apple chips to improve brightness all the while reducing power consumption, and we’re told the iMac 5K is even using three spectroradiometers to keep the colour accurate, similar to what graphic editors rely on when using colour correcting peripherals.
Inside the Mac, Apple hasn’t been lucky enough to get one of the new Core M processors from the Intel fifth-generation known as “Broadwell” — that goes to Lenovo with its Yoga 3 Pro — but it has secured some super speedy Haswell chips, with Core i5 starting at 3.5GHz with a configuration option available for a Core i7 working at 4GHz and supporting turbo speeds of up to 4.4GHz.
We’re sure people who demand speed will appreciate that, though can only imagine just how hot this Max will get.
Also inside is some new graphics power, and this one is a big deal as you need good graphics grunt to get 4K going.
For this machine, Apple is relying on AMD’s Radon R9 M290X with 2GB RAM to do its work, and there will be an option for a higher end M295X with a whopping 4GB. The few Mac games out there will likely make good work of these chips, but so will the animators, video editors, and creative types relying on solid graphics technology for their work.
The rest of the guts is pretty standard, with a starting amount of RAM at 8GB configurable to 32 if needed, while 1TB of Apple’s hybrid hard drive and solid state drive known as “Fusion” will come standard with the machine, and is configurable to as much as 3TB of Fusion or a 1TB flash storage, which we can only imagine will cost you an arm and a leg.
Pricing for the new machine is understandably not very cheap, and it appears as if this new iMac joins the iMac range rather than replaces it entirely, adding the “iMac with Retina 5K display” name to the series, with a starting price of $2999.
Good news, though: it’s already available.
Bad news: our wallets are already crying.