IMac with Retina display
The greatest desktop Mac ever?
Ever since we saw OS X running in 4K on the Mac Pro last year, we’ve been dreaming of a 4K iMac – a Retina-level display on the desktop. Turns out, we weren’t thinking ambitiously enough. Apple’s first Retina iMac is better than 4K, and the result is truly astonishing.
The stand-out feature is obviously the display – otherwise, this iMac is no different outwardly to the other 27-inch models, including its selection of ports. At a resolution of 5120×2880, the screen is easily the highest resolution display Apple has ever used, yet doesn’t compromise on brightness, viewing angles or colour accuracy to get there.
There are over 14.7 million pixels here, and the level of detail that offers is simply mind-blowing at times. With the screen being nearly 15 megapixels, the pictures from many cameras (and even some high-end compact system cameras) might be lower resolution than the screen is.
We’ve been throwing up 36-megapixel images to test it, zooming and picking out things like the licence plates in cars in wide city shots. It often leaves you shaking your head – it feels ridiculous.
You might ask, in fact, if it isn’t too ridiculous. You might ask if it isn’t for you – how many people will actually make use of that kind of resolution, after all?
The thing about the 5K iMac is that it’s not just great for inspecting the wonderful pictures taken on a £20,000 camera. An eight-megapixel iPhone photo takes up less than two-thirds of the screen even at full size – which leaves screen space for other things. If you’re working in Photoshop, those things are palettes and tools, or even two large pictures side by side. In Final Cut, it means you have enough space to be watching 4K video at full size in the canvas, with enough room for the clip viewer and timeline around it.
More pixels doesn’t just mean more detail. It means more space. Being a Retina Mac, Apple makes
An 8MP iPhone photo takes up less than two-thirds of the screen, even at full size, leaving screen space for other things
sure that most interface elements actually appear at roughly the same physical size that they would on the non-Retina 27-inch iMac, but everything is much smoother and more detailed. (And this alone is hard to go back from once you’ve been using the 5K iMac – we never would have though the 2560×1440 resolution of the previous iMac would ever feel low-res.) But when everything is higher-res, it’s easier to read, or to view, or to whatever you need with it. If you do any kind of work where computer space is valuable to you, the Retina iMac is a borderline revolution, even over Apple’s Retina laptops.
Display of power
Still, while the Retina iMac definitely isn’t all about pro uses, it will surely attract those who had been looking at a Mac Pro. If you wanted desktop 4K support before, you had to spend
Viewing 4K videos on this screen still leaves you with a portion of the desktop to utilise!