Archive of iMac Rumors

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.

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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.

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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.
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.

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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.
After today's media event that saw the introduction of new iPads and new Macs, members of the press were invited to experience all of Apple's new products. Several sites have posted first impressions of Apple's 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display, which we've summarized to give users an overview of the company's newest desktop and its ultra high-resolution screen.

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Engadget says that the new 27-inch iMac has a "stunning display" with great viewing angles, and was left impressed with the all-in-one's image quality even at a resolution of 5120 x 2880. Brightness is said to be "level throughout" with no bleeding. The website also praised the extra screen real-estate that the new 27-inch Retina iMac will allow for video editing.

TechCrunch says that the iMac's display shows "full resolution photos with zoomed crops that look better than most originals coming out of the camera" and credits Apple for fitting such a panel into the same tapered design. The screen is noted as being a "huge step up" from the one found on the Retina MacBook Pro. Overall, the new 27-inch iMac is described to be "the future of desktop computing" and is even said to be right up there with Apple's Mac Pro in terms of choices for power users.

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Ars Technica praises the new 27-inch iMac's color, contrast, and viewing angles, and thinks that the faster Radeon M290X or M295X GPUs with 2GB and 4GB of RAM respectively are solid upgrades over the Nvidia GeForce GT 700M GPUs found in Apple's non-Retina iMacs. However, the website did take issue with the desktop's price for what it offers internally:
The only thing we can really complain about based on our hands-on time is the price, which isn’t bad for what you’re getting but is still objectively pretty high. We’re glad to see Fusion Drives become standard (something we’d honestly like to see on every iMac and Mac Mini Apple ships), but 8GB of RAM seems a little low for a power-user-focused, $2500 computer. And the big drawback of all-in-one computers still applies—the machine’s internals are going to feel their age much faster than the display itself will.
Finally, The Verge calls the desktop's new 5K display "incredible" with a crisp, sharp and accurate picture despite it being a bit reflective. The website notes that it initially worried about performance issues with the iMac now powering an ultra high-resolution screen, but a demonstration proved that performance "doesn't seem to be an issue."


The new 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display is shipping today. The base model starts at $2,499 and comes with a 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel i5 processor, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB Fusion Drive. Build-to-order configurations can also be outfitted with a 4.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and AMD Radeon R9 M295X graphics processor.
At today's media event, Apple announced the next-generation 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display carrying a resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels, as expected from recent rumors. Featuring 14.7 million pixels, the new iMac offers improved improved contrast, viewing angles, and color accuracy.

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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.
The base iMac with a Retina 5K display will be available with a 3.5 GHz quad-core Intel i5 processor, AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor, 8GB of RAM, and a 1TB Fusion Drive starting at $2,499 with shipping beginning today. The new Retina iMac models can be upgraded with 4.0 GHz quad-core Intel Core i7 processor and AMD Radeon R9 M295X graphics processor. All Retina iMac models come standard with two Thunderbolt 2 ports.

The remainder of the iMac lineup has not been updated, with the 21-inch model still starting at $1,099 and the 27-inch iMac without a Retina 5K Display starting at $1,799.
apple_logo_white_grayApple may be enhancing the iconic look of its Apple logo on upcoming products, claims Digitimes in a report sourced from Taiwan-based supply chain insiders. While the site has a sketchy history with Apple rumors, it does sometimes offer accurate information and this is a rather specific and unique claim that could mark an interesting visual change for Apple's future products.

According to these anonymous sources, Apple has been developing new cutting and etching technology that will give the Apple logo a "3D-like" appearance.
Apple is also planning to upgrade the technologies used for printing its logo onto devices and will use laser cutting and unique embedded technologies to make the logo 3D-like and shine at the edges. All Apple's products will feature the new logo in 2015, starting with the next-generation iMac, the sources detailed.
Apple is actually expected to introduce the new iMac, which is presumably the machine the report refers to as the first with the new logo, at tomorrow's media event.

The site also claims Apple will unveil its new 12-inch Retina MacBook Air at tomorrow's event, but this is all but confirmed to be false, as a report from the very reliable Re/code noted earlier this week that the Retina MacBook Air will not be introduced at the event.

Apple will kick off its media event on Thursday at 10:00 AM Pacific Time. Apple is expected to unveil new iPads, new iMac models and the final details on OS X Yosemite. The possibility of a new Mac mini also was mentioned in one report earlier this year, but further details on this potential desktop refresh have been nonexistent.
Just about a day before Apple's October 16 media event, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has issued a new report, saying that he expects supplies of iPad Air 2s to be constrained. His report also suggests that the 27-inch Retina Display iMac will have shipments begin before the end of the year and reiterates that the new iPad minis won't be a significant upgrade.

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Of the new products, we think the market will be more interested in iPad Air 2. However, as the poor yield rate of anti-reflective coating cover lens has delayed mass production, we estimate 2014 shipments of iPad Air 2 of 7- 9mn units, lower than the 12mn units of the then-new iPad Air shipments in 2013. We thus expect iPad Air 2 to contribute less to the supply chain than iPad Air did last year. We also don’t expect the event to boost supply chain shares much.
Kuo goes on to once again suggest that a significant update to the iPad mini isn't likely due to the iPad Air's larger "contribution to Apple's sales and earnings" and that iPad mini is seeing limited development resources because Apple is working on a brand-new 12.9-inch iPad.

The 27-inch Retina Display iMac is likely to begin shipments before the end of 2014, with the 21-inch Retina Display arriving sometime in the second half of 2015. The delay between the two models, Kuo suggests, is because of how difficult it is to develop two different sized high resolution panels at the same time.

Finally, Kuo corroborates reports that new MacBook models will not make an appearance at the October 16 event as Apple is waiting on Intel's Broadwell chips before significantly upgrading its laptop line. This includes the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air.

Apple is holding its press event this Thursday, October 16 at 10:00 AM PT on its Cupertino campus. Besides new iPads and iMacs, Apple is also expected to announce the public launch date for OS X Yosemite. MacRumors will provide live coverage of the event.
As expected, Apple will be holding a media event on Thursday, October 16 at the Town Hall auditorium on its Cupertino headquarters campus, with the company today sending out media invitations for the event (via The Loop). The event begins at 10:00 AM Pacific, and the invitations carry the tagline "It's been way too long".

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Apple is expected to introduce an updated iPad Air (and possibly a new iPad mini), as well as updated iMacs with at least the 27-inch model carrying a high-resolution Retina display. OS X Yosemite is also likely to see its final overview before public launch, and one rumor has suggested updated Mac minis are also in the works and could see an announcement at the event.
Apple is planning to hold its next fall event on Thursday, October 16, where it is expected to introduce new iPads, reports Re/code. The company is also expected to introduce new Retina iMacs and release OS X Yosemite to the public.

According to Re/code, Apple's iPad event will be more low-key than its September iPhone event, and it will be held at the company's Town Hall Auditorium. The company's iPhone event, which saw the introduction of the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, Apple Watch, and Apple Pay, was held at the Flint Center, where the original Mac was unveiled 30 years ago.

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Physical mockup of the second-generation iPad Air
Apple has a few more new products to unveil before the year is out, and it plans to show them off in a couple weeks. Sources tell Code/red the company will hold its next special event on Thursday, Oct. 16 -- not the 21st. Headlining the gathering: The latest updates to its iPad line, along with those new iMacs that 9to5Mac told us about earlier this week. Also: OS X Yosemite.
Apple's next-generation iPad Air and iPad Retina mini are both expected to come with updated processors and support for Touch ID, the fingerprint first sensor introduced with the iPhone 5s. The iPad Air may also come in a gold color variation, and it may include a new anti-reflective laminated display.

The Retina iMac, which may come with a "5K" resolution of 5120 x 2880, may be available only in 27-inches and it may also feature AMD graphics. It is expected to use a Haswell processor, as next-generation Broadwell processors for the iMac won't be available until 2015.

As for OS X Yosemite, development on the software is nearing completion and a golden master candidate was seeded to developers earlier this week.
imac_27_angleFollowing several recent reports on Apple's long-rumored ultra-thin 12-inch notebook, Jack March is now reporting that Apple is indeed working on a 27-inch "5K" Retina iMac with a resolution of 5120 x 2880. According to the report, which MacRumors has reason to believe is based on legitimate information, the machine could launch as soon as next month.
A source familiar with Apple’s plans tells me that Apple is indeed planning to launch a Retina iMac at their next press event, however the 27″ Model will be the only model that gets this feature. The source says the new 27″ iMac will use a 5120 x 2880 panel as leaked in the OSX Yosemite code a few months ago. This resolution is double the current resolution of the 27″ iMac which is 2560×1440.
This new 27-inch Retina iMac would continue to use Haswell processors, topping out at the 4.0 GHz Core i7-4790K, as Intel's next-generation Broadwell processors will not be ready until possibly the middle of next year. The report also claims Apple will be switching to AMD graphics for this new iMac, while the overall design and port configuration would remain the same as the current model.

The report's sources suggest the move to Retina will be limited to the larger 27-inch iMac at this time, with the 21.5-inch model continuing to use the current 1920 x 1080 display.

Rumors of a 27-inch Retina display or iMac from Apple have been circulating for some time, but have picked up steam in recent weeks with a specific claim of a 5K Apple display launching before the end of the year, as well as Dell's own announcement of such a display. With finalization of the DisplayPort 1.3 specification, connectivity will also become easier as that standard rolls out, allowing for single-cable uncompressed video at 5K resolutions.

Update 6:46 AM: 9to5Mac is hearing similar information about Retina iMacs being in "late testing stages" at Apple.

Update 9:00 AM: Re/code's John Paczkowski is also hearing similar word.

Update 10:22 AM: Paczkowski has now included a blurb on the topic in his latest column, quoting a source saying "expect a fall release."
imac_27_angleWith Dell having announced its upcoming 5120 x 2880 "5K" display that would be the equivalent of a Retina 27-inch iMac or Apple Thunderbolt Display and Apple rumored to be launching its own such display later this year, connectivity options for such displays have now taken a significant step forward with today's official release of the DisplayPort 1.3 specification by the Video Electronics Standards Association (via 9to5Mac).

The new standard offers a 50 percent increase in bandwidth to 32.4 Gbps, or 25.92 Gbps of uncompressed video data once overhead is accounted for.
The increased bandwidth enables higher resolution monitors, including recently announced 5K monitors (with pixel resolutions of 5120 x 2880) using a single DisplayPort cable, without the use of compression. It will also enable higher resolutions when driving multiple monitors through a single connection using DisplayPort’s Multi-Stream feature, such as the use of two 4K UHD monitors, each with a pixel resolution of 3840 x 2160, when using VESA Coordinated Video Timing.
Apple has been rumored for some time to be working on Retina iMacs and displays, but connectivity bottlenecks have been one of the factors slowing progress in that area.

The previous DisplayPort 1.2a standard offered enough bandwidth to support 4K displays without compression, but pushing resolutions to 5K has presented difficulties for connectivity. With the new DisplayPort 1.3 standard, which will presumably be built into future Thunderbolt implementations, computer manufacturers such as Apple will be able to fully support the new high-resolution displays set to hit the market in the coming months.