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The tl;dr version of early iMac with Retina 5K display reviews is TAKE MY MONEY [Review roundup]

retina-imac-review

The early reviews are out for the iMac with Retina 5K display, and the tl;dr version is: if you can afford it, buy it.

Everyone of course agrees that the key market for the machine is video professionals (beating even the base-model Mac Pro in benchmarks), the 5K resolution offering the ability to display full-size 4K video while still leaving enough room for editing tools.

But while the new iMac may be overkill for more mundane tasks, reviewers also agreed that the display is so good that even if you don’t need one, you’ll still want one … 

The WSJ said that it’s the Mac that makes desktops relevant again.

Who needs a desktop in a world with laptops, tablets and even phones that are just as capable? Last week Apple introduced a new kind of desktop iMac that changed my mind [...]

The Retina iMac is a game-changer for creative types [...] My biggest worry was that the computer would choke while trying to drive all those millions of pixels. But performance wasn’t a problem in my tests loading giant images in Photoshop, flicking through a field of previews in Adobe Lightroom or editing 4K video in Final Cut Pro [...]

Priced at $2,500 and up, you don’t need this new iMac—standard 27-inch iMacs start at $700 less. But oh boy will you want one.

TechCrunch agrees, saying Apple has built a computer that provides the future, today.

Apple has created an all-in-one that’s ideal for creative professionals, especially those with a visual focus, with the iMac with Retina 5K display. But that’s not all the company has done with this machine; instead, they’ve built a computer that provides the future, today, for anyone with the financial capability to get it [...]

This is an iMac that will satisfy anyone who takes the plunge. A Mac Pro might be a more powerful performer, but for most people, the iMac with Retina display will be the best all-around computer for their needs [...]

Apple’s price of admission for 5K goodness is steep, with prices starting at $2,499 (plus additional fees for custom configurations) but it’s worth every penny.

CNET says the new machine adds a stunning display to the gold standard for all-in-one desktops.

The new 27-inch Apple iMac adds a stunning 5K display for not much more than last year’s high-end model. The design, while not updated, remains the gold standard for all-in-one desktops.

[The downside is that] except for the new screen and a different GPU, the components are essentially unchanged from last year’s version. The high starting price only gets you a mid-level Core i5 processor [...]

But, having experienced the 5K screen up close, it’s also hard to un-see the effect of never being able to detect the pixel grid on the screen. I’ve had several photo and video professionals tell me this is exactly what they’re looking for, and at only $500, £400, or AU$550 more than the closest comparable non-5K 27-inch iMac, it’s the equivalent of adding the cheapest possible aftermarket 4K display. If you’re in that professional or semi-pro category, the math may just work out for you on this.

PCmag declared it their Editors’ Choice for high-end, all-in-one desktops.

The Retina 5K display isn’t just good, it’s overwhelming [...] I loaded up the new iMac with several 4K nature videos. The tiniest stars in a night sky rendered themselves as pinpricks of light; nooks and crannies in stone and wood showed up in minute detail. I also streamed House of Cards in 4K, and seeing Kevin Spacey’s every pore and follicle was enough that meeting the actor in person might feel like a letdown [...]

The use of a discrete AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics card means that not only does the iMac have the graphics chops for 5K video, it can also handle gaming (albeit, nowhere near 5K resolution) [...] While the iMac isn’t intended to be a gaming machine, you’ll find that it will play current AAA titles at playable frame rates, provided you keep the resolution below 1080p and back off the detail settings.

The unmatched display paired with solid high-end performance at a surprisingly affordable price makes it our Editors’ Choice for high-end all-in-one desktops.

It sounds like if you don’t have a financial justification for a 5K display, you might just want to leave your wallet at home and remove your cards from Apple Pay before you next visit an Apple Store because, as Seth put it the second the iMacs were announced:


Filed under: AAPL Company, Mac Tagged: 4K resolution, 5K, Apple, iMac, iMac with Retina 5K display, iMac with Retina display, Mac Pro, Retina, Retina Display, Retina iMac, review roundup

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Apple announces 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display starting at $2499, 5120×2880 screen resolution

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 19.07.05

Apple has just announced a brand-new Retina 27-inch iMac. Apple is spreading Retina displays across the lineup, with the iMac leading that charge. This is the highest resolution screen in the world, according to Apple, with 14.7 million pixels. This is a 5K display — more than seven times the pixels of a HDTV. The screen builds on the technology Apple built on the iPhone and iPad, but to a whole new scale.

The iMac is just 5mm at its thinnest point, maintaining the same thinness as the previous generation, despite the massive leap in pixel density.

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 2.08.46 PM

 

Alongside resolution, the display has a greater contrast ratio to maximize detail. Meanwhile, Apple uses power-saving LEDS which decreases power use by 30%.

It also includes the fastest CPU chips, upgradeable to a 4 GHZ Intel Core i7. In terms of graphics, the iMac is 45% faster than the previous version. It also includes a Thunderbolt 2 port for faster IO.

This iMac will start at just $2499, shipping today.

Apple Introduces 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display

CUPERTINO, California—October 16, 2014—Apple® today unveiled the 27-inch iMac® with Retina® 5K display, featuring the world’s highest resolution display with a breathtaking 14.7 million pixels. At this amazing resolution, text appears sharper than ever, videos are unbelievably lifelike, and you can see new levels of detail in your photos. With the latest quad-core processors, high-performance graphics, Fusion Drive and Thunderbolt 2, iMac with Retina 5K display is the most powerful iMac ever made—it’s the ultimate display combined with the ultimate all-in-one.

“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, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “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.”

iMac with Retina 5K display delivers an amazingly immersive user experience. With a resolution of 5120 x 2880, iMac with Retina 5K display has four times more pixels than the standard 27-inch iMac and 67 percent more pixels than a 4K display. Text looks as sharp as it does on a printed page, and you can see more of your high-resolution photos with pixel-for-pixel detail. In apps like Final Cut Pro® X, you can view 4K video at full size while still leaving plenty of room for your assets and editing tools.

The display on the new 27-inch iMac has been engineered for performance, power efficiency and stunning visual quality. iMac with Retina 5K display uses a precisely manufactured oxide TFT-based panel to deliver vivid display brightness from corner to corner. A single supercharged Apple-designed timing controller (TCON), with four times the bandwidth, drives all 14.7 million pixels. iMac with Retina 5K display also uses highly efficient LEDs and organic passivation to improve image quality and reduce display power consumption by 30 percent, even while driving four times more pixels at the same brightness. To improve the contrast ratio, iMac with Retina 5K display uses a new photo alignment process and a compensation film to deliver blacker blacks and more vibrant colors from any viewing angle. In addition, every iMac with Retina 5K display is calibrated using three state-of-the-art spectroradiometers to ensure precise and accurate color.

Not only is iMac with Retina 5K display more beautiful on the outside, it is also more powerful on the inside. It comes with a 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, and for the first time can be configured with a 4 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor with Turbo Boost speeds up to 4.4 GHz. Every new iMac with Retina 5K display also comes with AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics and can be configured with AMD Radeon R9 M295X graphics, delivering up to 3.5 teraflops of computing power, the most powerful graphics ever offered on an iMac. iMac with Retina 5K display comes standard with 8GB of memory and a 1TB Fusion Drive for the first time. The new iMac can also be configured with up to 32GB of memory, a 3TB Fusion Drive, or up to 1TB of super-fast, PCIe-based flash storage. In addition, iMac with Retina 5K display includes two Thunderbolt 2 ports that deliver up to 20Gbps each, twice the bandwidth of the previous generation.

Every new Mac® comes with OS X® Yosemite, a powerful new version of OS X, redesigned and refined with a fresh, modern look, powerful new apps and amazing new Continuity features that make working across your Mac and iOS devices more fluid than ever. OS X Yosemite is also engineered to take full advantage of the iMac’s Retina 5K display, delivering stunning clarity across all your apps.

iMovie®, GarageBand® and the suite of iWork® apps come free with every new Mac. iMovie lets you easily create beautiful movies, and you can use GarageBand to make new music or learn to play piano or guitar. iWork productivity apps, Pages®, Numbers® and Keynote®, make it easy to create, edit and share stunning documents, spreadsheets and presentations. iWork has been redesigned with a new look, support for iCloud Drive℠ and a host of new features, including a new comments view in Pages. iWork for iCloud® beta lets you create your document on iPad®, edit it on your Mac and collaborate with friends, even if they’re on a PC.

Pricing & Availability
iMac with Retina 5K display begins shipping today with a 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.9 GHz, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics and a 1TB Fusion Drive for a suggested retail price of $2,499 (US). Customers can order iMac with Retina 5K display through the Apple Online Store(www.apple.com).

Additional technical specifications, configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at www.apple.com/imac.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

Press Contacts:
Colin Smith
Apple
colins@apple.com
(408) 862-1171

Jennie Orphanopoulos
Apple
jennieo@apple.com
(408) 783-0203

Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, iMac, Retina, Final Cut Pro, OS X, iMovie, GarageBand, iWork, Pages, Numbers, Keynote, iCloud Drive, iCloud and iPad are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.


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Opinion: What can we expect from a Retina iMac, and who will buy it?

retina-imac

Desktop fans have waited a long time for a Retina iMac, but it now seems pretty clear the wait won’t last too much longer. Our sources told us last month that the machines are “in the late testing phases,” and the rumor is that the machine will have a 5K display, with a resolution of 5120×2880 – exactly double that of the current 27-inch iMac.

We may even have identified the specific display Apple intends to use: a 27-inch 5K panel announced by Dell is looking like a very plausible candidate. This panel would provide a pixel density of 218 PPI, about the same as that of the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro …

Assuming Apple does indeed launch the machine, there’s one immediately obvious implication: we can expect a Retina Apple Thunderbolt Display using the same panel. I’ve previously suggested a number of reasons Apple didn’t immediately hop on board the 4K display bandwagon, but leap-frogging the competition with a 5K model would be another good one.

More importantly, a Retina display makes sensible use of those extra pixels. I’ve always felt that 4K is way too high a resolution for a 27-inch display. Text is absolutely tiny when rendered at 3840×2160, as are many user-interface elements. To me, 4K made sense only as a TV or as an ultra-large display – one pushing the boundaries of what most of us would have room for on a desktop, even before we figure out how we’d ever pay for it.

But keeping the effective resolution at 2560×1440 while using the extra pixels to sharpen the display – that makes sense.

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We can also expect a Retina iMac (or what Apple will doubtless refer to as the iMac with Retina display) to be a pretty high-spec machine. Driving a 5K display at decent frame-rates is not a trivial task, requiring a beefy GPU.

A significantly more powerful GPU will obviously be accompanied by a matching CPU, and uprating the Thunderbolt port to Thunderbolt 2 then seems a pretty obvious step.

All of which adds up to something rather interesting: an all-in-one machine capable of meeting the needs of many graphics pros: photographers, videographers, designers and so on.

Now sure, there will always be those graphics professionals who demand the very best performance available, and have the budget to match. Those guys are still going to be hooking up that cute black cylinder to their multiple 4K (or perhaps now 5K) monitors.

But there are many others who are likely to look at a Retina iMac and note that they are getting a very capable machine with an ultra-high-definition screen in one package. For many, that might be good enough – raising the interesting prospect of an iMac cannibalising at least some Mac Pro sales.

Not that Apple will worry about that: as Tim Cook observed when asked whether the iPad would eat into MacBook sales, you can’t be afraid of cannibalizing your own products because if you don’t, someone else will.

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But AV professionals can’t be the core target for a Retina iMac. It doesn’t make sense to offer two different lines aimed at a niche market: Apple’s primary target market has to be ordinary consumers and small businesses.

And I think that’s interesting in its own right. The high-end Mac Pro market aside, the overwhelming trend seen for quite some years now has been the death of the desktop PC and the triumph of the laptop.

For those who need lots of screen space to work with, a very common solution has been to connect a MacBook – sometimes even a MacBook Air – to an Apple Thunderbolt display to get the best of both worlds. A machine that is portable when it needs to be, yet offers all the display real-estate and permanent docking options you get with a desktop.

It wouldn’t be unreasonable to question whether desktop PCs – OS X or Windows – have much of a future outside of the AV professional market. Yet in planning a Retina iMac, Apple clearly thinks they do. The company whose co-founder famously described PCs as trucks and predicted that most of us would be choosing cars – or iPads – still sees a future in what might be considered a rather chunky truck.

We won’t have long to find out exactly what Apple has in store for us: we’re expecting the new iMac to be announced on Thursday, and we’ll of course be bringing you full coverage.

If you’ve been holding off on a MacBook Pro because you’ve been waiting impatiently for an iMac with Retina display, let us know your reasons in the comments.


Filed under: AAPL Company, Mac Tagged: Apple, iMac, iMac with Retina display, iPad, MacBook Air, Retina, Retina Display, Retina iMac, Thunderbolt

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Apple will live stream its special event on October 16

With Apple’s last keynote live stream being an utter disaster, we weren’t holding out much hope for another one in the foreseeable future. But the company has today posted a note on its website that confirms you will be able to tune