The new 27-inch iMac has just been announced, and you can buy it right now from apple.com. It’s significantly upgraded, but for the same price as yesterday.
There is an enormous range of upgrades across the new machine. My first take is that the upgrades are so considerable, there will be many people who had yearned for an iMac Pro who will now see the new iMac as more than adequate (and quite a lot cheaper).
These changes include faster performance, extra memory capacity, four times the storage capacity and an improved 5K display.
Oh, and for the first time, a 1080P FaceTime HD camera, so your video-conferencing calls can be all the more scintillating than with the 720P FaceTime HD camera on the current iMac. This is the only time there has been a 1080P camera on any Mac, apart from the $5,000 iMac Pro.
One problem with higher-resolution cameras can be that low-light performance is sacrificed but this is designed to work well in low-light, too. Though, and I cannot stress this enough, it’s still worth thinking about the lighting in the room before you start that Zoom call. And no backlighting or sitting in front of a window, for the love of Pete.
Apple has done what it can to help, though. The camera features tone mapping, exposure control and face detection so it knows where you are in the frame.
While I don’t think the over-arching purpose of these upgrades was solely to make videoconferencing better, Apple has done more to improve things in this regard. It has installed a studio-quality microphone array, as it did on the recent MacBook Pro. There are two on the new iMac’s chin and one on the back to aid noise-cancellation to reduce echoes and so on.
There’s also an improved audio chip which works with the speakers (these are the same as previously) but now the new chip means there’s better balance and higher fidelity with deeper bass.
Of course, beyond all that, it’s the most powerful iMac ever, well, you’d expect that.
The Retina 5K display introduces True Tone, which adjusts color and intensity to match the ambient light in the room, for greater color fidelity.
And there’s a very cool optional extra: Nano-texture glass. This comes from the Pro Display XDR and is sensational at reducing glare. Once you’ve seen this effect next to a regular display, you will want the nano-texture. So, if you can’t afford the extra $500 for this, don’t even look at it. Mind you, the standard glass is no slouch when it comes to low reflectivity, either.
Apple promises significant performance updates across the iMac. There are plenty more upgrades, including improved photo card reader with UHS 2 capability.
The processor is now Intel 10th-generation Comet Lake processors across the entire line, with six-core or eight-core processors as standard with 10-core configurable options. These are claimed to deliver up to 65% faster CPU performance.
Graphics will have the brand-new Radeon Pro 5000 series chip, based on a 7nm architecture that’s fast and power-efficient. The graphics updates promise up to 55% faster performance.
From today, all iMacs come with SSDs, not hard drives. You can still opt for a Fusion Drive on some models but the 21.5in iMac and 27in iMac come with SSD. Where you’d previously have paid an extra amount to configure a 256GB SSD on the 27in iMac, it now comes as part of the standard price. In other words, if there were no other upgrades on the new models, this is something that saves customers money.
Oh, and you really can’t run out of space. Until today the very biggest configuration was for 2TB of SSD. Now, you can go way higher – it maxes out at 8TB. Though you do pay extra for this, of course.
As before, you’ll get 8GB of 2666MHz DDR4 memory, but the ceiling on memory capacity has increased to 128GB, twice what it was before. Another reason why you might not need the iMac Pro.
T2 Security chip
The secure enclave, encrypted storage, image signal processor found in the T2 chip will be in this iMac. This means, for the first time on a 27in iMac, you can shout “Hey, Siri” from across the room.
The pricing is identical today to what it was yesterday. That is, the pricing starts at $1,799. In the U.K. there is a very small increase in price, up from £1,749 to £1,799 but, again, even the 256GB SSD on its own makes this better value than yesterday’s purchase.