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Apple's iMac Family Levels Up With Intel Skylake Hardware, New Displays

Apple announced that it will update its entire line of iMac desktops with new high-resolution Retina displays and faster internal hardware. The iMacs will also receive a number of other upgrades to improve the user experience.

4K Display On 21.5 Inches; Skylake, Too

On the 21.5-inch iMac, Apple will now give users the option of having a 4K (4096x2304) display in addition to the 1080p option available before. The model with the 4K display also features faster internal hardware, containing either a 3.1 GHz Intel 5th Gen (Broadwell) Core i5 or a 3.3 GHz Intel Core i7. The system may also come with up to a 512 GB SSD, whereas the other 21.5-inch iMacs are limited to a 256 GB SSD.

As for the 27-inch iMac, although a model with a 5K Retina display has been available since May, the new model contains higher-performance hardware. This system can optionally include a 3.2 or 3.3 GHz Intel 6th Gen (Skylake) Core i5, or a 4 GHz Intel 6th Gen (Skylake) Core i7. The graphics card has also been updated and can come with one of several AMD R9 300 series graphics cards, including the R9 M380, R9 M390, R9 M395 or R9 M395X.

As an extra storage option, both systems also support Apple's Fusion Drive technology that pairs SSD storage with an HDD to achieve SSHD-like performance. The 1 TB Fusion Drive will include 24 GB of flash storage, while the 2 TB and 3 TB configurations will include a 128 GB SSD partition.

Both new systems will also include two Thunderbolt 2 ports. Naturally, they will also come pre-installed with Apple's latest operating system, the OS X El Capitan.

Apple iMacs
ModelApple 21.5-inch 4KApple 27-inch 5K
Display21.5-inch 4K 4096x230427-inch 5K 5120x2880
CPUIntel 5th Gen (Broadwell) Core i5 @ 3.1 GHz; Core i7 @ 3.8 GHzIntel 6th Gen (Skylake) Core i5 @ 3.2 GHz; Core i5 @ 3.3 GHz; Core i7 @ 4 GHz
MemoryUp to 16 GBUp to 32 GB
HDDUp to 1 TB 5400 RPM; 1 TB or 2 TB Fusion DriveUp to 1 TB 7200 RPM; 1 TB, 2 TB, 3 TB Fusion Drive
SSDUp to 512 GBUp To 1 TB
GraphicsIntel Iris Pro Graphics 6200AMD Radeon R9 M380; R9 M390; R9 M395; R9 M395X
Price$1,499$1,799

"Magic" Accessories

Apple also introduced three new wireless accessories: the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2, and Magic Trackpad 2. Apple stated that these new devices have been redesigned to feel more comfortable, and they now have internal rechargeable batteries. The Magic Trackpad 2 will also feature the Force Touch interface.

Compared to the old Magic Trackpad device, the trackpad surface is 29 percent larger. Apple claimed that these devices can last a full month or more on a single charge, and they will pair instantly with your Mac once connected via the Lightning-to-USB charging cable.

All iMacs will come with these new accessories, but they can also be purchased separately.

DevicesMagic KeyboardMagic Mouse 2Magic Trackpad 2
Price$99$79$129

The new systems are available now from various authorized Apple resellers. The 21.5-inch 4K iMac has a starting price of $1,499, and the 27-inch 5K iMac starts at $1,799.

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Michael Justin Allen Sexton (or MJ) is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware. As a tech enthusiast, MJ enjoys studying and writing about all areas of tech, but specializes in the study of chipsets and microprocessors. In his personal life, MJ spends most of his time gaming, practicing martial arts, studying history, and tinkering with electronics.

Follow Michael Justin Allen Sexton @EmperorSunLao. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

Michael Justin Allen Sexton is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers hardware component news, specializing in CPUs and motherboards.
  • caiokn
    There's something I fail to comprehend, and that is a 21.5" 4K display. Won't icons and text be incredibly small in that resolution?
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    16778877 said:
    There's something I fail to comprehend, and that is a 21.5" 4K display. Won't icons and text be incredibly small in that resolution?

    Not if GPU scaling is enabled. With GPU scaling it would scale icons and text accordingly.
    Reply
  • Jalapenoman
    Apple has had high resolution screens for a while, and probably just created high resolution icons, and text to match.
    Reply
  • kawininjazx
    "There's something I fail to comprehend, and that is a 21.5" 4K display. Won't icons and text be incredibly small in that resolution? "

    Actually macs scale really well, it's not like windows where everything gets really tiny when you crank up the resolution.
    Reply
  • firefoxx04
    So so little storage? I fail to see why a $1700 device is limited to 512GB of storage.

    Also, why 1080p and 4k.. Why no replace the 1080p model with a 1440p display? To close to 4k and might hurt sales?


    4k on a small display is fine as long as the user interface takes advantage of it. Just like with games.
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    16781306 said:
    So so little storage? I fail to see why a $1700 device is limited to 512GB of storage.

    It isn't limited to 512 GB. Look closer at the table.
    Reply
  • g-unit1111
    So so little storage? I fail to see why a $1700 device is limited to 512GB of storage. So so little storage? I fail to see why a $1700 device is limited to 512GB of storage.

    First this isn't a device - it's a full fledged PC. It has four USB ports and you can hook up any external hard drive if you want.
    Reply
  • hitman400
    So so little storage? I fail to see why a $1700 device is limited to 512GB of storage.

    Also, why 1080p and 4k.. Why no replace the 1080p model with a 1440p display? To close to 4k and might hurt sales?


    4k on a small display is fine as long as the user interface takes advantage of it. Just like with games.

    I think it is because it is flash based storage, which is up to 2x times faster than regular SSD's. Also, it isn't just 512gb
    Reply
  • IInuyasha74
    16787328 said:
    So so little storage? I fail to see why a $1700 device is limited to 512GB of storage.

    Also, why 1080p and 4k.. Why no replace the 1080p model with a 1440p display? To close to 4k and might hurt sales?


    4k on a small display is fine as long as the user interface takes advantage of it. Just like with games.

    I think it is because it is flash based storage, which is up to 2x times faster than regular SSD's. Also, it isn't just 512gb

    That isn't it at all, firefoxx04 just didn't read the table carefully enough. The 4K system can have up to 512 GB of SSD storage in addition to having up to 1 TB of HDD storage or up to 2 TB of Fusion Drive storage. Combined the 4K system can hold up to 2.5 TB of storage, not just 512 GB. The 5K 27-inch system can have up to 4 TB of storage between the Fusion Drive and SSD.
    Reply