Apple went pixel-happy with its largest iMac on Thursday, announcing a Retina Display upgrade to the 27-inch all-in-one computer.
Apple is calling the new screen a “Retina 5K display,” and says it’s the world’s highest resolution computer screen at 5120-by-2880 pixels. (Dell
might argue that it shares that crown, but its display won’t actually ship until the fourth quarter.) At 217 pixels per inch, the pixel density is just a smidge lower than that of Apple’s MacBook Pro with Retina Display, though it’s safe to assume most users would keep the iMac screen further away than a laptop.
Despite the four-fold increase in pixels over the non-Retina 27-inch iMac, the new model uses 30 percent less power, and is EnergyStar 6.1 compliant. Apple says it used new power-efficient LEDs and other methods to offer the same brightness level as previous iMacs, and has managed to improve the display’s contrast ratio as well.
Aside from the higher resolution screen, Apple is boosting the iMac’s tech specs. At the baseline, there’s a 3.5 Ghz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, an AMD R9 290x Radeon graphics card, 8 GB of RAM and a
1 TB Fusion Drive. Users can also opt for a 4.0 Ghz Intel Core i7 chip, AMD R9 295x Radeon graphics, up to 32 GB of RAM, up to a 3 TB Fusion Drive or up to 1 TB of solid state storage.
The design of the new iMac is largely unchanged. A slim, L-shaped stand holds up the display portion, which houses all the internal components and tapers to 5 mm at the edges. The back of the display section has mostly the same inputs and outputs, including a headphone jack, SDXC card slot, four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet jack. The only difference is the use of Thunderbolt 2, which offers twice the throughput (up to 20Gbps) for transferring data from external drives and other supported peripherals.
The new iMac does command a higher price of $2,499 on the low end, and $4,399 for a top-of-the-line model. Non-Retina iMacs are sticking around and are the same as before, starting at $1,099 for the
21-inch version and $1,799 for the
27-inch version. If you’re ready to upgrade, the Retina version is available now.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.