Archive of iMac Rumors

Apple today released an iMac Graphics Update for users of the more recent iMacs, fixing an issue that caused the computers to freeze up after viewing very large JPEG Files.

Affected iMacs include the late 2014 27-inch Retina iMac, the late 2013 21.5-inch iMac, and the late 2013 27-inch iMac.

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Apple has also released an accompanying support document that describes the issue in more detail, suggesting the problem occurs when opening a large JPEG image in Finder or Preview on OS X Yosemite 10.10.3.
If you're using using OS X Yosemite v10.10.3 and one of the following iMac models, viewing certain very large JPEG (.jpg) images in the Finder or Preview can cause your iMac to briefly stop responding, display a black screen, and restart to a message that your computer restarted because of a problem.
People who own one of these three iMacs are encouraged to update their machines right away to fix the bug.
iMac shipping estimates have slipped to 3-5 business days on the Apple Online Store in the United States for all models aside from the entry-level 21.5-inch option with a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 processor. The high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro is also now showing an estimated shipping date of 1-2 weeks. Both the iMac and 15" Retina MacBook Pro were previously listed as in stock.

iMac 21.5 3-5 Days
The majority of the iMac lineup, excluding the low-end 21.5-inch iMac released in June 2014 and iMac with Retina 5K Display launched in October 2014, was last updated in September 2013 with the latest Intel Haswell processors, faster PCI Express-based flash storage options and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. Based on its average product cycle, the all-in-one desktop computer is long overdue for a refresh.

Nevertheless, the iMac is not expected to be updated until Intel releases desktop class Broadwell chips during the second quarter of 2015. Intel's first 14nm desktop processors, including the Core i5-5675C, i7-5775C, i5-5575R, i5-5675R and i7-5775R CPUs with Iris Pro 6200 integrated graphics, are expected to be announced during Computex Taiwan in early June, with some chips expected to launch in mid-May, and should become readily available as early as July or August.

Intel Broadwell Desktop Chart
Intel's Broadwell desktop chips based on 14nm manufacturing process (via CPU World)

Ultimately, the extended iMac shipping estimates of 3-5 business days could be nothing more than regular stock fluctuations on the Apple Online Store, although it is worth noting as the release of Broadwell desktop chips approaches. At this point, it remains more likely that refreshed iMacs will be announced at WWDC 2015 at the earliest, but Apple's plans could change based on Intel's release timeline.
With the release of OS X 10.10.3 last Wednesday, Apple has expanded support for high-resolution 4K and even 5K external displays (via 9to5Mac). Most notably, OS X 10.10.3 enables the Retina 5K iMac and 2013 Mac Pro to drive Dell's UP2715K 27-inch 5K display released late last year. The display requires more bandwidth than is currently supported over a current single DisplayPort/Thunderbolt cable, so it uses a dual-cable solution taking up two ports on the user's machine.

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This bandwidth issue for the current DisplayPort standard has been seen as a major roadblock keeping Apple from releasing a standalone 5K Thunderbolt Display. With the Retina iMac, Apple has been able to build custom internal components to drive the massive display, but for external displays, a dual-cable solution such as that used by Dell has been considered by many to be "un-Apple like."

As a result, Apple has been widely expected to wait until the release of Intel's Skylake platform with DisplayPort 1.3 support later this year before releasing an external 5K Thunderbolt Display that will function over a single cable. Whether the inclusion of support for Dell's dual-cable solution in OS X 10.10.3 is a sign Apple may be willing to adopt that arrangement for its own display and perhaps release it earlier is, however, unclear.

Beyond 5K displays, OS X 10.10.3 has also expanded support for 4K displays to include "most single-stream 4K (3840x2160) displays" at 60 Hz, expanding beyond the previous support of only Multi-Stream Transport displays introduced in late updates to Mavericks. The new 4K display support will function with most of the Mac line, from the 27-inch iMac to the brand-new Retina MacBook. However, only the Mac Pro and iMac will support full 4096x2160 resolution at 60Hz.
With OS X Yosemite v10.10.3, most single-stream 4K (3840x2160) displays are supported at 60Hz operation on the following Mac computers:

- MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015)
- MacBook Pro (Retina, 15-inch, Mid 2014)
- Mac Pro (Late 2013)
- iMac (27-inch, Late 2013 and later)
- Mac mini (Late 2014)
- MacBook Air (Early 2015)
- MacBook (Retina, 12-inch, Early 2015)
As for the new 12-inch MacBook, the laptop will be able to support displays and rates of 3840x2160 at a 30 Hz refresh rate and 4096x2160 at a 24 Hz refresh rate. MacBook users wanting to use such a display will, of course, need to use Apple's USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter to do so.
While it could be a factual error, Reddit points us towards an interesting comment on the LG Display blog last week that claims Apple announced it will release a new iMac with 8K display later this year. Apple, of course, has not made any announcements about a new iMac since last year, and 8K displays are not expected until 2016.
"It has become clear that Japan is planning to launch an 8K SHV test broadcast and then promptly restructure the UHD service. Apple has also announced that they will release the ‘iMac 8K’ with a super-high resolution display later this year. Korea is also preparing to offer an 8K service demonstration at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. LG Display displayed a new beacon of the 8K era by revealing their 98-inch 8K Color Prime Ultra HDTV at CES 2015."
8K
VESA's new DisplayPort 1.4a standard paves the way for future displays at 7,680 x 4,320 pixels, but Apple has not made any announcements about releasing a Mac with an 8K display. Apple's highest-resolution Mac is the iMac with Retina 5K Display, which has a resolution of 5,120 x 2,880 pixels.

While this report should be treated lightly until further information surfaces, it still proves interesting that LG Display would make a public-facing comment like this on its website. The most likely scenario is that LG will eventually remove or modify the comment now that it has been put in the spotlight.

Update 7:00 PM PT: LG has since taken down the article mentioning the "iMac 8K."
Apple recently started selling the 27-Inch iMac With Retina 5K Display in the refurbished section of its online store, as first noticed by MacGeneration and 9to5Mac. These refurbished models offer customers the chance to save up to 15 percent off the retail price of a brand new model.

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Several 27-inch Retina iMac models are available, including the entry-level model which is availablee for $2119 and includes a 3.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory and a 1TB Fusion Drive. Other available Retina iMacs include a $2,419 model with 16GB of memory and a 3TB Fusion Drive and a $2,549 unit with 16GB of memory and 512GB flash storage. All three models are in stock and available to ship today.

After months of speculation, Apple unveiled the 27-Inch iMac With Retina 5K Display during its October media event. The consumer desktop features a 5120 x 2880 pixel display with improved contrast, viewing angles, and color accuracy. Early impressions of the machine were favorable with reviewers praising the "stunning display" and noting that it is a "huge step up" from Apple's notebook Retina displays.
As the holidays approach, supplies of the Retina iMac appear to be improving somewhat, and as of this week, shipping estimates for both standard and custom Retina iMac configurations have improved to 1 to 2 weeks in the United States (via MacGeneration). Shipping estimates have also improved to 1 to 2 weeks in many other countries, but custom configurations may carry higher shipping times outside of the United States.

retinaimacshippingestimates
Retina iMac stock has been significantly constrained since the machine launched on October 16, slipping to 3 to 5 days shortly after release then moving to 7 to 10 days before dropping to 3 to 4 weeks in mid-November.

The base Retina iMac, with a 3.5GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB fusion drive is in stock at many retail Apple Stores around the country and can be picked up same day, but when ordered from the online store, it ships in 1 to 2 weeks like all custom configurations. With the newly improved shipping estimates, Retina iMacs ordered today will arrive well ahead of the Christmas holiday.

Equipped with a 5120 x 2880 "5K" Retina screen, Apple's newest iMac has received largely positive reviews for its impressive display, and configured with a 4.0GHz processor and 32GB of RAM, the higher-end Retina iMac models are able to outperform the low-end Mac Pro.
Supplies of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display have been slowly dwindling ahead of the holidays, and as of this week, shipping estimates for both standard and custom configurations have slipped to two to three weeks.

At launch on October 16, shipping estimates were briefly at a day before slipping to 3 to 5 days, later moving to 7 to 10 days before slipping again on Monday.

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The base Retina iMac, with a 3.5GHz processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB fusion drive, is in stock at many retail Apple Stores around the country and can be picked up same day, but when ordered from the online store, it carries the same two to three week shipping estimate as all custom configurations.

While Retina iMacs ordered from the online Apple Store may not arrive until December, some Apple resellers have available stock that will ship much earlier. Amazon, for example, has the base model in stock available with Amazon Prime shipping and a $50 discount.

MacMall has the base model in stock for immediate shipping, plus the site has several machines with various custom configurations on hand, which it says will ship in five to seven days. MacMall is also offering a discount of $50 on much of its stock.

Other stores like Best Buy and B&H Photo also have the base Retina iMac in stock and available to ship immediately.

Equipped with a 5120 x 2880 "5K" Retina screen, Apple's newest iMac has received largely positive reviews for its impressive display, and configured with a 4.0GHz processor and 32GB of RAM, the higher-end Retina iMac models are able to outperform the low-end Mac Pro.
Yesterday, Primate Labs highlighted some Geekbench 3 benchmarking results for the new 3.5 GHz 27-inch Retina 5K iMac, unsurprisingly showing the machine performing better than slower-clocked Core i5 chips in non-Retina models but below that of high-end Core i7 chips also available in the machines since their late 2013 introduction.

Primate Labs' John Poole noted that once benchmarks for the high-end Retina 5K iMac with Intel's 4.0 GHz Core i7-4790K chip started appearing, they could show the new iMac outperforming the low-end Mac Pro, and that is indeed the case as revealed today and highlighted in an updated version of Poole's blog post from yesterday.

The 4.0 GHz Retina 5K iMac clocks in with a score of 4438 on the single-core 64-bit benchmarking test, while multi-core testing achieves a score of 16407. Across the two tests, the new high-end Retina iMac scores 11-13 percent higher than the fastest non-Retina model due to the faster processor included on the Retina model.

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Compared to the low-end Mac Pro, which runs on a quad-core 3.7 GHz Xeon E5-1620 v2, the high-end Retina iMac clocks in over 13 percent higher on multi-core testing, although it is unsurprisingly outclassed by higher-level Mac Pro models carrying processors with more cores.

retina_imac 4_0_mac_pro_bench
Both Retina iMac processor options outperform all Mac Pro models on single-core benchmarks, but this is unsurprising as the Xeon processors used in the Mac Pro sacrifice single-core clock speed for many more cores and other benefits that enhance performance for professional-level applications that can take advantage of the multiple cores.
Apple's new Retina iMacs, released last Thursday, have been showing up in Geekbench benchmarks, giving us a look at how the new machine's performance compares to the non-Retina iMacs released in 2013 and still being sold.

A Geekbench 3 result for the base 3.5GHz Core i5 Retina iMac has been shared by John Poole of Primate Labs, displaying just slight performance increases over the 3.4GHz Core i5 model used in the late 2013 iMac. The 4.0GHz Core i7 Retina iMac has yet to be benchmarked, but should see performance that exceeds that of existing Core i7 iMacs due to its faster processor.

retina-imac-64bit-october-2014-singlecoreIn both single-core and multi-core performance, the new Retina iMac offered moderately faster speeds, which is unsurprising as the machines continue to use Haswell processors that have been clocked slightly higher. More significant performance boosts in the iMac won't be seen until 2015, when Intel's Broadwell chips become available.

retina-imac-64bit-october-2014-multicore
Compared to the 2013 Mac Pro lineup, the Retina iMac offers faster single-core performance, but all 2013 Mac Pro models beat out the iMac when it comes to multi-core performance. Results for the Core i7 iMacs are expected to be similar, but according to Poole, the higher-end Retina iMac may be faster than the 4-core Mac Pro.

retina-imac-macpro-64bit-october-2014-multicore
Though the new iMac continues to use Haswell processors, its claim to fame is its Retina 5K display, which has an impressive resolution of 5120 x 2880, and its reasonable price, which starts at just $2,499. Apple's new Retina iMacs are available for purchase from the online Apple Store, with new orders shipping out in 5 to 7 days.
Though the new iMac with 5K Retina display was just released yesterday, iFixit has already acquired and disassembled one of the new machines, giving us a look at what's underneath the iMac's ultra thin display.

Apple's newest iMac continues to use many of the same design elements from previous iMacs, including an easily accessible RAM upgrade slot on the back of the device. With the RAM slot, users will be able to install their own RAM modules with little trouble.

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The 5K display, which has a resolution of 5120 x 2880, was manufactured by LG Display, the same supply partner that has manufactured iMac displays for Apple in the past. Aside from the display, iFixit found that the Retina iMac internals look much like the internals of the 2013 iMac, with the sole difference being a wider display data cable.

Along with an AMD Radeon M290X GPU and i5-4690 processor from Intel, the iMac contains SK Hynix 256 MB GDDR5 SGRAM. It uses the same SanDisk PCIe SSD as the late 2013 Retina MacBook Pro, with Marvell Controller, and it uses the same AirPort/Bluetooth card that was used in the 2013 27-inch iMac.

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The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display earned a repairability score of 5 out of 10, the same score earned by the 2013 27-inch iMac. iFixit pointed out that the RAM, hard drive, and CPU are user replaceable with some adhesive cutting, but removing the glass and LCD panel from the machine remains a difficult task for all those but the most dedicated do-it-yourselfers.
Following yesterday's launch of the new iMac with Retina 5K display, Other World Computing has announced RAM upgrade kits for the machines. These kits were previously available for the 2013 iMac, but they are also compatible with the 2014 machines.

OWC is offering three separate 1600MHz DDR3L kits to upgrade the Retina iMac's memory to up to 32GB at prices lower than Apple offers. The 8GB kit, priced at $101.99, will increase the RAM of a base Retina iMac configuration from 8GB to 16GB.

OWC1600DDR3S32S
The 16GB kit, priced at $197.99, will increase the RAM of a base Retina iMac configuration from 8GB to 24GB, and the 32GB kit, priced at $395 kit will allow users to replace all memory for a total of 32GB of RAM.

When purchased from Apple, upgrading to 16GB of RAM total costs $200, while upgrading to 32GB of RAM costs $600. OWC's 32GB kit is $200 less than Apple's price, and while the 16GB OWC kit is priced the same at $200, it ultimately lets users install 24GB of RAM rather than 16GB of RAM.

OWC is also offering a trade-in rebate for original factory memory, giving customers a credit towards the purchase of a memory kit. OWC's memory kits come with a limited lifetime warranty along with a lifetime advanced replacement program.

Released yesterday, Apple's iMac with 5K Retina display can be purchased from the Apple Store for $2,499. Current orders ship out in three to five business days.
At Apple's introduction of the new 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display, Phil Schiller noted that the machine's $2499 starting price compares favorably with some of the higher-end 4K displays on the market today for closer to $3000, leading some to wonder whether it would be feasible to use the iMac as an external display for something like a Mac Pro.

For a number of years, iMacs have supported a feature known as target display mode, which allows them to serve as external displays for other computers, but as pointed out by TechCrunch's Matthew Panzarino yesterday, the new Retina 5K iMac does not support this mode.

imac_retina_waterfall
The probable reason for this is also likely the reason why Apple did not announce a standalone Retina Thunderbolt Display yesterday: bandwidth limitations. The current DisplayPort 1.2 specification used over Thunderbolt 2 on Apple's latest Macs simply isn't capable of handling the bandwidth necessary for 5K video over a single cable.

As a result, no current Mac, including the Mac Pro and Retina MacBook Pro models that do support 4K displays, can currently drive a 5K external display. Technically, Apple could allow another Mac to output video at a lower resolution and have the Retina iMac scale the content up to fit its display, but this would not be ideal and Apple has apparently elected not to support it as an option.

As noted by Marco Arment, simple plug-and-play support for 5K external displays over a single cable will need the new DisplayPort 1.3 standard, but that won't be an option until Intel's Skylake platform, the successor to the upcoming Broadwell family, is launched.
Doing it right will require waiting until DisplayPort 1.3 in Thunderbolt 3 on Broadwell’s successor, Skylake, which isn’t supposed to come out for at least another year — and Intel is even worse at estimating ship dates than I am, so it’s likely to be longer. [...]

I’d estimate — granted, I’m wrong a lot — that Apple won’t ship a standalone 5K display until at least 2016, and it won’t work with any of today’s Macs, including the 2013 Mac Pro.
Arment points out that Dell's upcoming 5K display uses dual DisplayPort 1.2 cables for connectivity but that no current Macs appear to support the setup and even if they did performance would likely not be ideal.

Another potential product on the horizon is a Retina 21.5-inch iMac likely at 3840 x 2160 pixels, although it is unclear when Apple plans to launch such a machine. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts a second half of 2015 launch for the machine in a similar pattern to that seen with the MacBook Pro, where the larger 15-inch model received a Retina display option a number of months before the 13-inch model followed suit.