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Apple 27in iMac with Retina 5K display officially revealed

Tom Morgan
16 Oct 2014
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Super high-resolution 5K panel puts the latest iMac all-in-one ahead of the Windows competition

Apple has officially announced a revised version of its 27in iMac all-in-one at the 'it's been way too long' event in California. As well as upgraded internals and OS X Yosemite, it's the first of its kind to arrive with a super high-resolution 5K display.

Whereas the current 27in iMac has a 2,560x1,440 resolution screen, the 2014 model has an incredible 5,120x2,880 resolution, oxide TFT panel, which is higher enough to natively display 4K video content and have pixels to spare. That's 14.7 million pixels, with a display density of 218 pixels per inch. The only other 5K monitor we're aware of is the Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K, which has the same 5,120x2,880 resolution and 218ppi display density. 

Read our hands-on review of the iMac with retina display

Despite the massive increase in resolution, the machine itself hasn't bulked out; it's still just 5mm at its thinnest point. The design hasn't changed significantly from the previous version, meaning an aluminium chassis, black screen bezels and rear-facing ports.

Inside the basic spec model, a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel i5 processor with Turbo Boost up to 3.9GHz when thermal limits allow, is paired with 8GB of RAM, a 1TB fusion drive and an AMD Radeon R9 M290x graphics card to drive all those pixels. You can upgrade everything inside, jumping up to a 4GHz Core i7 processor, Radeon R9 M295x graphics chip, a 3TB fusion drive, 1TB of SSD storage and more RAM up to 32GB.

It was originally thought Apple would wait until Intel's latest Broadwell chips were available, but due to a delay on the processor manufacturer's part it seems the company has decided to proceed with what's currently available. It's still no slouch though.

The recently introduced reversible USB Type-C port hasn't made the cut; you'll still find four USB3 ports on the back of the machine, along with two Thunderbolt ports which now use the faster Thunderbolt 2 interface, an Ethernet port, 3.5mm audio jack and SD card reader, but you'll still have to fiddle to get those USB cables in first time around.

Naturally, the new iMac will launch with OS X 10.10 Yosemite, the latest version of Apple's Desktop operating system. It arrives with an overhauled visual style, better integration with iCloud web storage and cross-platform Continuity support for iPads and iPhones.

Unfortunately for anyone hoping to get a crazy high-resolution iMac in a smaller size will have to wait; Apple didn’t announce a 21.5in version of the new iMac, and will likely hold off until it can procure enough high-resolution panels to meet demand.

The 27in iMac with Retina display will be available to pre-order directly from Apple later today, with the machine going on sale in physical Apple stores from this week onwards. Prices vary depending on specification, but the entry-level model will set you back $2,499 in the US – roughly £1,550 here in the UK before tax and VAT.

UPDATE: Apple's website is now listing the default configuration retina iMac as shipping in 5-7 business days.

Following the press conference, Apple's UK division confirmed that the 27in iMac with Retina 5K display will cost £1999 including VAT here in Britain, easily making it the most expensive iMac in the range - although, as Phil Schiller pointed out, cheaper than a high-end PC and a separate, high-end 4K resolution display. The all-in-one is now available to buy directly from Apple, either in-store or online.

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