New iMacs -- Retina displays or not?
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New iMacs -- Retina displays or not?

Will there be new iMacs of any sort introduced this year? And, if there are, will there be a Retina display model?

With no new iMacs or Mac Pros (and, no, the slight processor bump of the latter doesn't count) introduced at the 2012 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, several sources -- including David Pogue of, among other places, "The New York Times" -- hinted that there would be no new desktops until 2013.

However, "DigiTimes" (http://www.digitimes.com) -- which, admittedly, has a sporadic track record on Apple prognostications -- says Apple's supply chain will start supplying components for a new iMac this month with the updated all-in-one going on sale in October. The article says there's a "high chance" that the new iMac will sport a Retina display.

A couple of months ago ABC News (http://macte.ch/nNPeB) reported that Retina displays would indeed be coming to the next iMac, but more recent claims have suggested that Apple will wait until next year to roll out the technology, "especially given the horsepower needed to support massive numbers of pixels on the 27-inch iMac," notes "MacRumors" (http://www.macrumors.com).

Then there's the cost. Reportedly, the Retina display on the Retina display MacBook Pro adds at least US$150 to the cost. And that's a 15-inch screen, so a 27-inch screen (or even a 21.5-inch screen) would be considerably more.

However, "the cost of Retina displays could also be to Apple's advantage in competing with cheaper Windows PCs that carry lower margins" and could help Apple "surpass its competitors in terms of screen resolution," notes "AppleInsider" (http://www.appleinsider.com).

So what do I think? Assuming there's enough horsepower to make a Retina display iMac run smoothly (and I think there is), I think the next iMac will offer a Retina display on one, maybe two, high-end models, as it did with the MacBook Pro, while still offering more affordable, non-Retina display versions.

All the new all-in-ones will, naturally, sport Ivy Bridge processors, USB 3.0 connectivity and beefier GPUs. I also think they'll be thinner (well, perhaps not the Retina display version, depending on the horsepower needed), drop the optical drive and offer a non-glossy screen option.

My prediction is based on the assumption that a Retina display iMac wouldn't be expensive beyond any sense of practicality. After all, according to the calculations (http://macte.ch/9mNhW) of Trip Chowdhry, managing director of Equity Research at Global Equities Research, a 50-inch Retina display "iTV" would cost US$25,000 at this point in time.

I think a 27-inch Retina display iMac that cost more than $4,000 wouldn't be worth Apple's time. Of course, they could always max it out with memory, storage and -- as I've said before (http://macte.ch/ORPAc) -- television features. Hey, if a Retina iMac does appear with a jaw-dropping price tag it needs all the gee-whiz features Apple can add.

-- Dennis Sellers

 

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