The Next iMac May Not Have A Retina Display After All

The Next iMac May Not Have A Retina Display After All

Rumors about a possible Retina display iMac have been floating around almost as long as the Retina display itself. From the time the iPhone 4 was introduced, people began speculating that Apple’s Mac line would eventually receive a display upgrade as well. Now that this rumor has come to fruition in the case of the new MacBook Pro, it would only make sense for these new displays to trickle down to all of Apple’s other computers.

Word is now spreading that this might not be the case, though. We may have to wait a little while longer for an iMac with a Retina display.

Instapaper developer Marco Arment today posted his thoughts on what would likely be be holding up the update cycle of the iMac and Mac Pro. Obviously, the issue of creating an insanely high resolution display topped the list. Creating a display with a resolution of 5120×2880 is no easy feat to accomplish, and requires higher production costs than today’s displays.

Shortly after publishing his thoughts, Arment received word that we will not see a Retina display on the new iMac, saying: “I’ve now heard from multiple sources that while an iMac update is indeed coming this fall, it will not have Retina displays.”

While disappointing, this is no real issue, as an update to the iMac could still bring substantial improvements, including Ivy Bridge CPUs, USB 3.0, and improved graphics cards. Not to mention improved SSD options, which are currently only BTO.

Like with all rumors, only time will tell.

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  • RadTech5000

    I will happen down the road for sure, Apple is going Retina for everything it’s just a matter of time.

  • ConstableOdo

    I will happen down the road for sure, Apple is going Retina for everything it’s just a matter of time.

    You’re right. At this point in time they probably can’t produce enough of those displays, but Apple is already preparing facilities to meet production needs in the future. If not this year, then next. Retina displays will be pretty much an Apple exclusive until the costs are driven down far enough for the competition to copy them.

  • Aaron

    There’s a technical restriction for the iMac to have a true pixel-quadrupled display like the MacBook Pro: The new Ivy Bridge Intel integrated graphics 4000 can “only” handle a maximum 4096×4096 display. I’m not sure if such a restriction exists on the nVidia and AMD cards, but I’m sure there is some maximum number of pixels.

    IBM had a display back in 2001 that was 3840×2400 resolution. It required a special video card and, because of the sheer number of pixels, had a maximum refresh rate of 41 frames per second. It used a special Matrox video card that would split the screen into four slivers, and the video card would work with the slivers individually (hence the slow refresh rate).

    Apple may run into the same limitations trying to push over 14 MEGAPIXELS on the screen at once.

  • northshorenerd

    No no. The next iMac needs one thing: User Serviceability. The HP Z1 has thrown the gauntlet down, and it needs to be addressed.

    I’d rather by a Z1 right now than an iMac. That says a lot.

  • technochick

    1. Arment is just guessing and has basically said this.

    2. The math for how Apple defines Retina doesn’t come out to a 5120×2880 screen. At least not for the 27 inch. The math is much lower at 2844×1600, a roughly 12% increase. Not impossible at all.

    As someone that is obsessed with Macs, it would be logical to think that our columnist would know how Apple calculates the term and it have been nice if said columnist had addressed this issue of how Apple defines the terms versus everyone assuming it just means doubling the biggest resolution. Rather than it taking someone doing it in the comments.

  • technochick

    There’s a technical restriction for the iMac to have a true pixel-quadrupled display like the MacBook Pro:

    Retina does NOT equal pixel doubled.

    You’re right. At this point in time they probably can’t produce enough of those displays,

    Or perhaps they can but like many things Apple they have locked up the supply while still in R&D so we aren’t hearing about who can produce any much less ‘enough’. Or perhaps folks are falsely assuming they would do them across the whole line and not just to a high end 27 inch versions in parallel to the single model MBP that they did. Meaning they will need a smaller supply.

  • technochick

    No no. The next iMac needs one thing: User Serviceability. The HP Z1 has thrown the gauntlet down, and it needs to be addressed.

    I’d rather by a Z1 right now than an iMac. That says a lot.

    Then go buy the Z1.

    Not everyone cares about being able to strip out their computer etc. in fact 95% of folks don’t even care to replace their own ram, which is the easiest of all to upgrade on an iMac.

    So if you rate computers by how well you can rip them apart and tinker with the bits go get that ‘better’ computer and be happy with it and let those that don’t care about playing with their computer guts be happy with their ‘horrible’ iMacs etc.

  • northshorenerd

    So if you rate computers by how well you can rip them apart and tinker with the bits go get that ‘better’ computer and be happy with it and let those that don’t care about playing with their computer guts be happy with their ‘horrible’ iMacs etc.

    No, I don’t: but I do think that a user replaceable hard drive is _more critical_ than upgrading RAM, frankly. All hard drives fail, and on an iMac that’s an incredibly expensive failure right now.

    The point of the Z1 is that you don’t have to sacrifice _function_ in order to achieve _form._ The iMac G5 also demonstrated this: the machine’s logic board was considered a “user serviceable” part. The current one is several steps in the wrong direction.

About the author

Michael SteeberMichael Steeber is a student who is obsessed with everything Apple. He enjoys making videos and runs the MSComputerVideos YouTube channel in his free time. You can follow him on Twitter as well.

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