21.5-inch iMac could get its Retina 4K upgrade in November
At 4K resolution, Apple’s smaller all-in-one would match the 27-inch 5K iMac in pixel density.
One year after dialing up the screen resolution of its 27-inch iMac, Apple will reportedly do the same with its 21.5-inch all-in-one.
Citing unnamed sources, 9to5Mac claims that Apple will announce the 21.5-inch iMac with 4K Retina display by the end of October, alongside the launch of OS X El Capitan. The new high-res iMac would then ship in November.
The exact screen resolution will be 4096-by-2304, 9to5Mac claims. This resolution has previously appeared in the code from Apple’s El Capitan Developer Preview. Currently, the 21.5-inch iMac has a resolution of 1920-by-1080.
With a 21.5-inch display, the 4K iMac’s pixel density would come out to 218.6 pixels per inch, just a tad higher than the 27-inch Retina iMac’s 217.6 ppi display. While 9to5Mac doesn’t mention the Retina branding, it seems likely that Apple will use it once again for its smaller iMac. As with the 27-inch iMac, the 21.5-inch model should have improved color saturation and faster processors to drive all those extra pixels.
There’s no word on pricing, but users should expect to pay a premium for the 4K display. Apple currently charges $1,999 for its basic Retina 5K iMac, though the debut model had slightly superior tech specs and cost $2,499 at launch. Meanwhile, Apple still sells a non-Retina 27-inch iMac for $1,799. The current 21-inch model ranges in price from $1,099 to $1,499, and could stick around as a lower-priced alternative.
Why this matters: The 21.5-inch iMac is one of just three Apple products that don’t offer a Retina display option, the other being Apple’s 11-inch and 13-inch MacBook Airs. With OS X El Capitan set for this fall, it makes sense for Apple to tie the launch a smaller, presumably more affordable Retina iMac.