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Apple Announces iMac Line Upgrade, New Magic Accessories

PR_5K_iMac_memMany Apple watchers expected that the 21.5-iMac would get an upgrade this week with a Retina 4K display, but today’s announcement of across-the-board upgrades for all members of the iMac family and new accessories was a big surprise.

The 21.5-inch iMac now has a Retina 4K display as an option, with a dazzling resolution of 4096 x 2304 pixels — that’s a whopping 9.4 million pixels, 4.5 times more than what is found on the standard 21.5-inch display. Its big brother, the 27-inch iMac, now comes with a Retina 5K display across the board — there’s no lower resolution display available. That 5K display on the 27-inch iMac features 14.7 million pixels, seven times what is found on an HD display.

Not only are there more pixels on most of the iMac displays, but they now feature a wider P3-based color gamut that provides a 25 percent larger color space and more available colors. Phil Schiller, Apple VP of worldwide marketing, says that images are now more vivid, the screens reveal even greater detail, and that images appear more lifelike than ever.

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display comes with sixth-generation Intel Core processors and AMD high performance graphics processors that deliver up to 3.7 teraflops (that’s 3.7 trillion floating point operations per second) of computing power. The 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display comes with a fifth-generation Intel Core processor and enhanced Intel Iris Pro Graphics. All iMacs now come standard with two Thunderbolt 2 ports delivering up to 20Gbps data transfer speeds for external drives and high-performance peripherals. Even Wi-Fi has received a boost — three-stream 802.11ac Wi-Fi allows the iMac to support up to 1.3Gbps wireless networking.

Apple’s Fusion Drive combines the large storage capacity of a hard drive with the high performance of flash, and there’s a new low-price configuration pairing a 1TB hard drive with 24GB of fast flash. Fusion Drive is also available in 2TB and 3TB configurations with 128GB of fast flash. For speed demons, an all-flash storage option is available up to 1TB, and now 2.5 times faster than before.

Apple Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. Image courtesy of Apple Inc.
Apple Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. Image courtesy of Apple Inc.

Some of the biggest news, though, wasn’t about the iMacs. Apple introduced a new crop of wireless accessories, including the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. The new devices have been redesigned to feel more comfortable and all have been designed with internal rechargeable batteries that eliminate the need for disposable or removable rechargeable batteries. The new Magic Trackpad 2 brings Apple’s Force Touch interface to the desktop.

The new Magic Keyboard is a full-size keyboard in a new design that takes up 13 percent less space on a desktop. It has a new scissor mechanism and lower profile that provides an “incredibly stable, precise and comfortable typing experience” according to Schiller.

Magic Mouse 2 is lighter and sturdier than its predecessor, with an optimized foot design for a smoother glide. The Magic Trackpad 2 has a 29 percent larger surface than its predecessor, and with Force Touch it brings new ways to interact with the Mac. A Force click allows users to look up a word in the dictionary, preview a file, or view a map from an address. The Magic devices are designed to pair instantly with Macs as soon as they are plugged in for charging via the Lightning to USB charging cable, and will work for a month or more on a full charge.

You’ll be able to pick up a 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display at, brick and mortar Apple Stores, and at select Apple Authorized Resellers. It comes in three models starting at US$1,799, $1,999, and $2,299. Specs for the upgraded 27-inch iMac can be found at along with configure-to-order options.

The 21.5-inch iMac is available today at the same locations, and comes in three models starting at $1,099 and $1,299, or the new Retina 4K display model at $1,499.

Each of the new Late 2015 iMacs comes with the new Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse 2, and customers can order the Magic Trackpad 2 as an option. The Magic Keyboard can be purchased separately for $99, the Magic Mouse 2 for $79, and the Magic Trackpad 2 for $129.

More Late 2015 iMac Coverage from OWC:

Steve Sande
the authorSteve Sande
Contributing Author
Steve has been writing about Apple products since 1986, starting on a bulletin board system, creating the first of his many Apple-related websites in 1994, joining the staff of The Unofficial Apple Weblog in 2008, and founding Apple World Today in 2015. He’s semi-retired, loves to camp and take photos, and is an FAA-licensed drone pilot.
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  • The 27″ iMac with the AMD R GPU, while still using mobile parts (sigh), is the no brainer here if you intend to play games. Granted it’s using the absolute cheapest possible board configuration to support Skylake (no USB 3.1, using DDR3 instead of DDR4), but at least it isn’t totally failing by putting in a 4k display on a *last gen* Intel IGP like the 21″ iMac 4k does.

    Regarding the 5k iMacs not being able to be used as an input display (external monitor), that is due to how Apple chose to enable 5k by creating its own custom TCON that pretty much fudges the DisplayPort spec in order to do what it does. It does it well for use as an internal display, but is incompatible with other HDMI/DP sources because of its TCON.

    Be warned: If you cheap out and get the 21″ iMac 4k and try to game at native resolution, you’ll be sorry. Very sorry.

  • I feel an unboxing coming, am I right?
    Will these have the kick-ass extra lanes in the PCIe SSDs? I assume that’s what the improved flash speed is about

  • When will OWC have RAM for the new 27″ iMacs? I’m not upgrading my iMac until I can get OWC RAM.

  • Last year’s iMac 27 5K couldn’t be used as an external Thunderbolt display. I assume that’s still the case with the updated model – but is it possible with the new 21″ 4K?