Archive of iMac Rumors

Apple's latest 4K and 5K iMacs support a 10-bit graphics driver on OS X El Capitan, allowing for smoother color transitions, according to German website Mac & i. The 10-bit color output enables 1024 gradations per color channel, a significant increase from 256 with 8-bit depth on previous iMacs.

30 bit pixel depth — 10 bit for each RGB color (Image: cinema5D)

Digital filmmaking news website cinema5D explains the technical benefits of 10-bit color depth for professional colorists, photographers and editors:
Professionals know that 10-bit screen color is the desired color depth for serious color correction. When you work in 8-bit you often see banding artefacts and lose detail on soft gradients which makes editing harder and less accurate.

This is not to be confused with the bit depth of your source files. We all know that working with video DSLRs or other heavily compressed video footage that is limited to 8 bit color depth gives you less options during grading and 10 bit, 12 bit or even 16 bit color photos and videos are better. On the screen side 10 bit is the desired depth to let you view the end result without gradation steps.
The new 10-bit color depth reportedly only works within the Preview and Photos applications for now, but other third-party software should eventually take advantage of the technology. The 2014 5K iMac also supports 10-bit color depth on OS X El Capitan, according to these reports.
Earlier today, iFixit conducted a teardown the new Magic Keyboard, Magic Trackpad 2 and Magic Mouse 2. They've now followed that up with a teardown of the brand new 21.5-inch 4K iMac, and while the majority of the insides are the same as last year's model, there are some notable differences.

new4kimacteardownFirst, the teardown found that the new iMac's 4K display is manufactured by LG. The new display is DCI-P3, which features a wider color gamut than the more standard sRGB. The new iMac is one of the few devices that allows consumers to experience the new display technology.

Apple has also removed the empty PCIe SSD slot that was featured in the late 2013 iMac, which means that do-it-yourself upgraders won't be able to upgrade their machine easily. In 2012, Apple featured empty solder pads where the SSD slot would go, but in 2013 added an empty SSD slot. iFixit notes that users who want to add a Fusion Drive will either have to configure it at purchase or solder it on themselves.

Overall, iFixit gave the new 21.5-inch iMac a repairability score of 1 out of 10, which means that the new desktop computer is extremely difficult to repair. Like other iMacs, the soldered-on CPU, logic board and fused-together glass and Retina Display contribute to how difficult the new desktop is to repair.
Apple's new 21.5-inch 4K and 27-inch 5K iMacs released yesterday have been subjected to early Geekbench 3 benchmarking, and the results show the late 2015 models are expectedly faster, with improved single-core and multi-core scores compared to previous-generation models.

The new iMacs are between roughly 7% and 20% faster than previous models in Geekbench testing, but it should be noted the results are based on single data points that will need to be averaged out against other benchmarking results for a more accurate comparison.

Japanese blog Mac Otakara benchmarked the new 21.5-inch 4K iMac, equipped with a 3.1GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, and the desktop computer received 64-bit single-core and multi-core scores of 3,787 and 12,803 respectively. The comparable late 2013 model 2.9GHz iMac had single-core and multi-core scores of 3,543 and 10,685 respectively.

The late 2015 high-end non-Retina 21.5-inch iMac, equipped with a 2.8GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, had a single-core score of 3,532 and multi-core score of 11,865. The comparable late 2013 model iMac, with a 2.7GHz Intel Core i5 processor, had single-core and multi-core scores of 3,175 and 10,199 respectively.

The lineup of new 27-inch 5K iMacs were also benchmarked, with the lower-end model equipped with a 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor receiving single-core and multi-core scores of 3,931 and 12,079 respectively. The higher-end 3.3GHz model earned a single-core score of 4,214 and multi-core score of 13,081.

The comparable late 2014 lower-end 5K iMac had an average single-core score of 3,329 and multi-core score of 10,632. The comparable mid 2015 high-end 5K iMac, configured with a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, had single-core and multi-core scores of 3,844 and 12,192 respectively.
Apple's line of newly updated 5K Retina 27-inch iMacs with Skylake will support up to 64GB of RAM, an upgrade from the previous-generation 27-inch Retina iMacs that would only support a maximum of 32GB of RAM. According to OWC, The current 27-inch Retina iMac includes four memory slots that support up to 16GB of memory per slot for a total of 64GB.

Image via OWC

Build-to-order options for the 27-inch Retina iMacs only allow it to be purchased from Apple with a maximum of 32GB RAM, but OWC will offer 16GB modules in 48GB and 64GB configurations for the new iMac. OWC plans to start selling its new 48 and 64GB kits tomorrow, and pricing is as follows:

- Single 16GB module - $329.99

- 32GB Kit using 16GB x 2 Modules - $599.00

- 48GB Kit with 16GB x 2 + 8GB x 2 - $729.00

- 64GB Kit with 16GB x 4 - $1195.00

The new 27-inch iMacs were announced this morning and are available from Apple retail stores and Apple's online store. Pricing for the machines starts at $1,799 for a 3.2GHz quad-core processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB hard drive, and an AMD Radeon R9 M380 graphics card.

Update: OWC has torn down the new 21.5-inch 4K Retina iMac and has learned that the memory is soldered in, which means it can't be upgraded. Customers purchasing a 21.5-inch Retina iMac should get the maximum amount of memory they can afford at the time of purchase as there will be no third-party upgrade options. The maximum amount of RAM for the 21.5-inch iMac models is 16GB.
Apple has updated its website with a wealth of new information following its announcement of new 4K and 5K iMacs and a new Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. Here are some of the more interesting tidbits that have been overshadowed by the larger announcements.

New iMacs

Then and Now — Apple has published a new "Then and Now" page that compares the 1998 iMac G3 with the 2015 iMac, showing the progress that has been made over the past 17 years. The new iMac has 14 million more pixels, 62,000 times faster graphics, 366 times more processing power, 1,000 times more RAM and 750 times more storage.

5,400 RPM 1TB Hard Drive on 4K iMac — The new 21.5-inch 4K iMac's standard configuration for $1,499 includes a 5,400 RPM 1TB Serial ATA hard drive, which is considered long obsolete for a 2015 desktop computer. Upgrades to a 1TB or 2TB Fusion Drive are available for $100 and $300 respectively.

Fusion Drive Changes — To allow for lower prices, Apple's 1TB Fusion Drive is now a 1TB hard drive paired with a 24GB SSD. Previously, a 1TB Fusion Drive was a 1TB hard drive with a 128GB SSD. Mac users looking for 128GB of flash storage will need to upgrade to a 2TB or larger Fusion Drive. 256GB and 512GB all-flash storage options can also be ordered.

Magic Accessories

Automatic Pairing — The new Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 have a new automatic pairing process with Mac using a Lightning to USB cable. Each accessory is also charged via Lightning to USB.

2-Minute Fast Charging — The new Magic accessories each take about 2 hours to reach a full one-month charge via Lightning to USB, but early reviews found the Magic Mouse 2 can fast charge for nine hours of battery life in just two minutes.

Magic Mouse 2's fast charging is useful, since its bottom-facing Lightning port renders it unusable while charging. Magic Keyboard and Magic Trackpad 2 both have Lightning ports on the rear, meaning both accessories can still be used while charging.

Magic Trackpad 2 Requires Bluetooth 4.0 — Magic accessories connect wirelessly with a Mac via Bluetooth for a secure connection up to 30 feet away. For the Magic Trackpad 2, Apple requires a Bluetooth 4.0-enabled Mac. Magic accessories are also only compatible with Macs running OS X 10.11 or later.
iMac-4K-5K-2015Recently, Apple let Medium behind the doors of its Input Design Lab while the company was in development for the new set of iMacs and accessories that just launched today. While visiting the lab, journalist Steven Levy got some behind-the-scenes glimpses of the "fanatical" production process taken by the team at Apple, and even discussed topics -- like the iMac's relevance -- with a few Apple executives.

Highlighting Apple's laser focus on details, Levy relates a story of how the Magic Mouse 2 initially "stirred consternation and late nights" among its creators due to the sound it made as it was moved around being "not right." While the team had kept the overall look and feel of the mouse the same as its predecessor, the internal changes had altered the amount of friction between the device and a table, thereby changing the sound it made.
“When we did the previous mouse we spent so much time dialing those feet, the material, the geometry, everything, so that it sounds good and feels good when you move it on the table,” says John Ternus, whose title is VP for Mac, iPad, Ecosystem and Audio Engineering. “But then you change the mass of the product and you change the resonant frequency of the product and all of a sudden the feet that we loved weren’t great anymore. They weren’t what we wanted.”
With the impending launch of the iPad Pro and the growing reliance on mobile computing over heavy desktop use, Levy also brought up the topic of the iMac line and its relevance in 2015 with Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior VP of Worldwide Product Marketing.

Schiller explained Apple's products as a continuum, where you use the "smallest possible gadget to do as much as possible before going to the next largest gizmo in line." Starting with the Apple Watch, to the iPhone, iPad, and so on, he states that users shouldn't frantically try to use all of the company's products at once, but do as much on one at a time before needing to pick up another.
"...The job of the iPad should be to be so powerful and capable that you never need a notebook. Like, Why do I need a notebook? I can add a keyboard! I can do all these things! The job of the notebook is to make it so you never need a desktop, right? It’s been doing this for a decade. So that leaves the poor desktop at the end of the line, What’s its job?”

“Its job is to challenge what we think a computer can do and do things that no computer has ever done before, be more and more powerful and capable so that we need a desktop because it’s capable,” says Schiller. “Because if all it’s doing is competing with the notebook and being thinner and lighter, then it doesn’t need to be.”
When asked about the possibility of introducing an iOS-like multitouch display into the iMac line, the team behind the desktop computers remained adamant against such a move. Schiller reiterated that any input on a desktop that sits above keyboard level feels "uncomfortable" and that the iMac was built from the ground up with a cursor input in mind.
“iOS from its start has been designed as a multi-touch experience — you don’t have the things you have in a mouse-driven interface, like a cursor to move around, or teeny little ‘close’ boxes that you can’t hit with your finger. The Mac OS has been designed from day one for an indirect pointing mechanism.

These two worlds are different on purpose, and that’s a good thing — we can optimize around the best experience for each and not try to mesh them together into a most-common-denominator experience.”
The entirety of Medium's report from the Input Design Lab at Apple is well worth a read, as it goes far more in depth with topics like the new iMac's color spectrum and even the technology, design, and instrument testing that resulted in the new Magic Mouse 2, Magic Trackpad 2, and Magic Keyboard.
iMac-4K-5K-2015Apple today launched new 4K and 5K iMacs alongside the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. The refreshed all-in-one desktop computers feature faster processors and graphics, two Thunderbolt 2 ports and more affordable Fusion Drive storage upgrade options.

Following the announcement, several media outlets have published hands-on reviews and first impressions of the new iMacs, including Ars Technica, CNET, Engadget, Macworld, Mashable, Tech Insider and The Wall Street Journal. Many of the reviews also provide a closer look at the new Magic accessories.

The early reviews of the new iMacs are generally favorable, with high marks awarded to their improved displays with wider color gamut. The 2015 models are widely considered among the best desktop computers available, but some critics view the lack of USB-C and base configuration of 5400 RPM hard drives as shortcomings.

Ars Technica
Then there are the frustrating choices Apple has made across the lineup: No Thunderbolt 3 or USB Type-C even though those technologies are apparently ready to go, and no standard Fusion Drive or SSD in any but the top-end 27-inch iMacs. At $100, the jump to a Fusion Drive (albeit a smaller one than in years past) is cheaper than ever, but Apple could really afford to stick that 24GB drive inside every single one of these iMacs to alleviate the unmitigated misery that is using a 5400RPM hard drive in a $1500 desktop computer in this the year of our Lord 2015.

If you're OK with the list of omissions and you can spring for the storage upgrade, the 4K iMac gets you a great professional-quality screen and a powerful quad-core processor for a pretty reasonable price. The 27-inch iMac is the computer that most blurs the line between consumer all-in-one and high-end workstation, but as long as you aren't gaming you can get some pretty serious work done on the 21.5-inch iMac. But if Apple can make Fusion Drives and 4K screens standard on all iMacs when the Skylake refresh comes around, we won't have much left to complain about.
For everyone else, even if you don't regularly view 4K content, a sharp-looking Retina-level display is one of those things that's nearly impossible to give up once you get used to it, and the new 4K iMac is competitively priced with the handful of 4K-display Windows PCs we've reviewed.

If you have a model from the past few years, this isn't a must-have upgrade, but it may certainly be worth picking up the new keyboard and mouse or trackpad to give your older iMac a facelift.
The iMac is still the best all-in-one, with an attractive (if predictable) design, near-standard 4K and 5K screens, and even better color accuracy than before. The 21.5-inch version is in some ways the more interesting of the two models, as this is the first time the smaller Mac has been offered with a Retina display. […]

As you can see, then, the iMac mostly hits the right notes, although I wish Apple were more generous with the other specs -- besides display quality and resolution, that is. The 21.5-inch version is no longer offered with discrete graphics, not even on the 4K edition, which seems like a mistake. Meanwhile, hybrid Fusion drives only come standard on machines priced from $1,999.
When four pixels are doing the work that only one used to do, the El Capitan interface really shines. Everything’s sharper. Photos look startlingly real, almost like they were printed on paper. And then there’s text, which looks razor sharp like it just rolled out of a laser printer. Even toolbars and Dock icons are more pleasant because all the on-screen graphics have added subtle details that were impossible at lower resolutions. […]

The base storage configuration of the 4K iMac is a 1TB, 5400rpm hard drive. It’s been a few years since I regularly used a Mac with a spinning disk as its primary hard drive, and man, did it feel slow. Starting up was slow. Launching apps was slow. Everything... just... took... longer. It’s disconcerting to take a brand-new, top-of-its-line Mac out of the box and be disappointed by how sluggish it feels, but that’s what I experienced, and it’s pretty much down to that slow hard drive.

Apple did change how the Fusion Drive works in 2015. To allow for a lower-cost Fusion Drive option, Apple paired a 1TB hard drive with a 24GB SSD. In the past, the 1TB Fusion Drive matched a 1TB standard hard drive with a 128GB SSD. Now, if you want the 128GB SSD, you'll need to have a 2TB or 3TB Fusion Drive offering.

The upside of the new Fusion Drive configuration is that it makes the feature — and its faster response times — affordable for anyone. The downside is you don't see speed improvements of documents and apps offloaded to the SSD as much because the cache is smaller.
Tech Insider
It’s not just about resolution though. The new iMac screens can show color better too. […]

But the average person probably won’t notice. I had to look at side-by-side comparisons to really see what has changed. This feature is better for photo and video professionals, not necessarily regular users who just want to do some light editing of photos they took with their iPhone. Just know that you’re getting a really nice screen and that Apple took the extra step to make sure it keeps getting better. Nothing wrong with that.
The Wall Street Journal

When you look at these new iMac screens, reds and greens in particular look brighter or more vibrant, like somebody cranked up the saturation dial to 11. With 25% more colors to work with, there’s also more detail because the monitors aren’t eliminating certain hues.

With an old and new iMac side by side, I could spot the difference on some photos, but not all. One problem is that many of our photos—including ones taken with the latest iPhone 6s—are saved in a reduced color palette called sRGB. To take advantage of the new screens, you need images or video saved in a format called DCI-P3. (Not coincidentally, the Mac’s Photos app can now save to that format, but you’ll have to start with high-quality images, like from a DSLR.) […]

Amid this flurry of iMac improvements, two mysteries remain. First, amid the rabbit warren of ports at the back of the iMac, Apple didn’t include a port called USB Type-C—used on the new MacBook laptop (with some controversy) for charging and input alike. Not including USB Type-C on the iMac sends an odd message about Apple’s commitment to that burgeoning standard.
Magic Keyboard, Mouse 2 and Trackpad 2:
I haven’t had a chance to test how long the batteries last, but Apple reports all three can go for about month on a single charge, and the mouse can give you a nine-hour day’s worth of pointing and clicking with a two-minute charge.
Apple's new 4K and 5K iMacs, Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 are available today.
Apple today announced that it has updated its iMac lineup, introducing new 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K Display and 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display models.

The all-new desktop computers feature faster processors and graphics, two Thunderbolt 2 ports and up to 2TB of Fusion Drive storage for stock configurations. The 4K 21.5-inch iMac has a 3.1GHz Core i7 Broadwell processor and integrated Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200, while the 5K 27-inch iMacs have 3.2GHz to 3.3GHz Core i5 and i7 Skylake processors and dedicated AMD Radeon R9 GPUs.
“From the first iMac to today, the spirit of iMac has never wavered — deliver the ultimate desktop experience with the latest technologies, gorgeous displays and cutting-edge designs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “These are the most stunning iMacs we’ve ever made. With our gorgeous new Retina displays, more powerful processors and graphics and all-new Magic accessories, the new iMac continues to redefine the ultimate desktop experience.”
Apple has also launched all-new Magic accessories, including the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2.

The new Magic Keyboard, $99, features Bluetooth for wireless connectivity and a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that charges fully in about two hours using a Lightning to USB cable. The redesigned keyboard has a reengineered scissor mechanism with 33% more key stability and a lower profile for more precise and comfortable typing.

The new Magic Trackpad 2, $129, features Force Touch and a larger edge-to-edge glass design with 29% more surface area. The new Magic Mouse 2, $79, also has a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery and redesigned internal structure that includes fewer moving parts. The trio of new wireless accessories are available through Apple and resellers today.

The new 4K 21.5-inch and 5K 27-inch iMac are available today through the Apple Store, Apple Online Store and select authorized resellers, with pricing starting at $1,499 and $1,799 respectively. Apple will also continue selling the non-Retina 21.5-inch iMac in two models starting at $1,099 and $1,299.

The new iMacs include a Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2 in the box.
Apple plans to introduce the rumored 21.5-inch Retina iMac next week, reports 9to5Mac. There will be several models that could show up in stores as early as October 13, but supplies may be somewhat limited until production ramps up in November.

As has been previously rumored, the 21.5-inch iMac will have a resolution of 4096 x 2304. Code discovered in OS X El Capitan has pointed towards Broadwell chips with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 and AMD Radeon M380 - M395X discrete graphics for the new iMacs.

Rumors have also suggested the new 21.5-inch iMac will include an improved display quality with greater color saturation, but the external design of the machine will remain the same. Due to the new Retina displays, the 21.5-inch iMac models will be priced higher than existing iMac models.

The 27-inch iMac is not likely to receive an update alongside the 21.5-inch iMac and it is not clear if Apple will also debut new rumored accessories alongside the machine. According to regulatory filings, Apple is working on a second-generation Magic Mouse and a new wireless keyboard with Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and a rechargeable battery.

As for the iPad Pro, Japanese site Mac Otakara recently suggested the larger-screened tablet would launch in early November, a rumor that 9to5Mac concurs with in today's report.
imac_21_2013_yosemiteProduction of Apple's upcoming 21.5-inch Retina 4K iMac has begun within the past few days, according to a report from DigiTimes. The new machines are rumored to be launching in late October, but Apple elected not to make any advance announcements about the forthcoming update at today's media event.
Production of a new 21-inch iMac featuring a 4096 by 2304 screen kicked off in early September and will be launched in the fourth quarter, with shipments in the quarter estimated at 1.4-1.5 million units, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers. [...]

The sources pointed out that the new 21-inch iMac only has a limited change in industrial design, but is upgraded with better hardware specifications, especially the Ultra HD display.
While the larger 27-inch iMac has received several updates over the past two years to add Retina 5K models at the high end, the 21.5-inch iMac has been unchanged since September 2013 with the exception of an ultra low-end model introduced in June 2014.

Signs of a Retina update for the smaller iMac were discovered in OS X El Capitan in late June, pointing to an update using Broadwell processors and Iris Pro or improved AMD graphics. Rumors of timing for the update started to surface in the following weeks, initially pointing to late third quarter or early fourth quarter before more recently being pinned down to late October for orders and early November for deliveries.
Apple will announce an updated 21.5-inch iMac with a 4K display at the end of October alongside the release of OS X El Capitan, reports 9to5Mac. The new iMac will then begin shipping out to customers in early November.

A new 21.5-inch Retina iMac has been anticipated for several months, following the discovery of code in OS X El Capitan that pointed towards a 21.5-inch machine with a resolution of 4096 x 2304. That code pointed towards Broadwell chips with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 and AMD Radeon M380 - M395X discrete graphics, which may hint at the hardware we'll see in the updated iMac.

Reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also said in early August that the iMac line would receive a refresh this quarter, adding new processors and improved display quality that brings greater color saturation.

Apple began updating its iMac lineup last October, with the launch of the 27-inch Retina iMac. Updates across the line have been slow, however, due to Intel's ongoing Broadwell chip delays, and the 21.5-inch iMac has not seen an update since 2013.

It is not clear if Apple will release multiple 21.5-inch iMac models during the October refresh, or which chips those machines might use. Skylake chips appropriate for the iMac are launching "later this year," but there are a handful of Broadwell chips appropriate for various 21.5-inch iMac models.
Intel has released detailed information about its upcoming Skylake processors for notebooks and desktops ahead of IFA 2015 in Berlin (via Ars Technica). The sixth-generation chips will deliver CPU and GPU performance improvements and longer battery life, and are likely to power future MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac models released over the next year.

Retina MacBook

Intel's new lineup of Core M processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will provide up to 10 hours of battery life, between 10%-20% faster CPU performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to equivalent Broadwell chips.

CPU World accurately shared Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 specifications last week, with all three families of chips including Intel HD 515 graphics, 4MB of L3 cache and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP).

Intel Skylake Core M MacBook
The low-end Core m3 6Y30 replaces the Core M-5Y31 and is likely suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299. The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 replace the Core M-5Y51 on the high-end 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599, while the high-end Core m7 6Y75 replaces the Core M-5Y71 for top-of-the-line 12-inch MacBook custom configurations.

Core M processors have configurable TDPs, allowing for performance and heat output to be adjusted. Core m3, m5 and m7 chips can be run at 3.5-3.8 watts or be increased to 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. For the current 12-inch MacBook, Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz.

Ars Technica notes that Core M processors should be available to Apple and other PC makers now, meaning that Core m3, m5 and m7-powered notebooks could begin shipping within the next few months. However, given that the 12-inch MacBook just launched in April, it remains uncertain if Apple is willing to release updated models this soon or hold off until 2016.

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