Apple jumps to a 5K display with the new iMac

Apple's 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display is priced at $2,499

Apple has jumped past trendy 4K displays and instead put a 5K monitor in its new 27-inch iMac all-in-one computer.

The display can show images at a resolution of 5120 x 2880 pixels, which is higher than any other all-in-one computer on the market. The iMac with Retina 5K Display is priced starting at US$2,499 and is available now.

The display, which can show 14.7 million pixels, is "an incredible feat of engineering," said Phil Schiller, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, at a Thursday event on the company's Cupertino, California, campus.

Apple customers, particularly Mac Pro users, have asked the company to release a 4K monitor, but instead Apple sold a Sharp 4K monitor on its website. There are many 4K TVs available that can display images at a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is four times that of conventional HD. But Apple's upgrade to 5K could get hardware makers thinking about resolutions beyond 4K.

The 5K iMac puts Apple a step ahead of other PC makers. Lenovo and Toshiba have just rolled out 4K laptops, with other vendors also releasing 4K displays. Lenovo promised a 4K Android all-in-one with the ThinkVision 28, but the computer has not yet shipped.

The new iMac is 5 millimeters thick and has highly power-efficient LEDs, Schiller said.

The all-in-one uses spectroradiometer sensors to deliver sharper images. Faster bandwidth inside the monitor allows for more pixels on the screen without affecting brightness. A separate "compensation film" improves the viewing angle and delivers more vivid colors, Schiller said.

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display has Intel's Core i7 processor, 1TB of storage, 8GB of RAM and an Advanced Micro Devices R9M290X graphics card, which can be upgraded to the faster R9M295X GPU.

Apple also dropped the starting price of its Mac Mini to $499 from $599. The Mac Mini has received minor hardware upgrades with Intel's fourth-generation Core processor, improved graphics, two Thunderbolt 2 ports and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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