Want to upgrade to an iPad Air 2 or iPad mini 3? Maybe you’re just drooling over the new Retina iMac. We reviewed them all, so you’re covered either way. But that’s not all we have on deck — read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours, including a discussion on video game violence, Google’s new email app, and the do’s and don’ts of social media.
When Apple held one of its big keynotes last week, it was easy to think of it as “iPad day.” Sure enough, the company announced some upgraded tablets, but it was a desktop, of all things, that stole the show. Though the new 27-inch iMac with Retina display has the same overall design as Apple’s previous all-in-ones, it ushers in a 14.7-million-pixel 5K display with screen resolution of 5,120 x 2,880. That’s seven times as many pixels as 1080p, and 67 percent more than you’ll find even on a 4K panel. I’m not exaggerating when I say there’s nothing like it. As it is, you’d be hard-pressed to find a 4K all-in-one, and meanwhile, here’s this machine from Apple, with enough pixels to view a 4K video at full resolution, and still have room left onscreen for other stuff, like the Final Cut Pro dashboard. Needless to say, it’s in a league — and price class — of its own. Starting at $2,499, it’s more expensive than almost any other all-in-one on the market, even the supposedly high-end ones. As it turns out, though, if it’s this kind of screen quality you’re after, this might well be your only choice.
Look and feel
I’ll make this part quick. With the exception of that gorgeous 5K screen, the Retina display iMac has the same design and dimensions as the regular 27-inch model, which came out back in 2012. As ever, the bezel measures just 5mm thick, making for one thin screen. Of course, you won’t notice the slim frame unless you view it from the sides. And besides, the rest of the machine isn’t nearly as skinny — the desktop still puffs out behind the display where all the components live, and you’ll need to budget enough room on your desk to fit a machine that measures 25.6 inches wide. The metal stand in the back naturally adds to that footprint, though Apple smartly put a keyhole in there to allow for tidier cable management. Throughout, the machine is fashioned out of the same smooth aluminum as the MacBook line, making for a premium design.
All in all, I dig the aesthetic here, and always have. When Apple first unveiled it two years ago, though, I was adamant that thin bezels alone weren’t a good enough reason to buy a new iMac. I still feel that way, though there have always been other reasons you might want one. In this case, that stunner of a display. That’s an excellent excuse to spend twice as much on an all-in-one as you normally would.
Speaking of the sort, I promise I’ll get to the display in just a minute. First, though, let’s go over the ports, just to be thorough. All of the ports and openings are located on the backside toward the bottom, with everything arranged in a neat row. This includes a headphone jack, SDXC slot, four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt 2 sockets and a Gigabit Ethernet jack. There’s also a Kensington lock slot and the all-important power port, which is located right behind the stand, making it easier to just thread the power cable through the keyhole.
One thing you won’t notice are the speakers, but believe me, they’re there — two of ‘em. Specifically, Apple squeezed them into the chambers on either side of the screen, with the sound firing downward through the lower bezel. For a sound setup you can’t even see, it’s actually quite robust. Finally, the iMac ships with the same, old wireless keyboard, along with your choice of an Apple Mouse, Magic Mouse (gesture-enabled) or Magic Trackpad. As ever, the keyboard is comfortable to type on, if a tad flat, and I like the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad equally. You can’t go wrong with either, though you can also buy both for an extra $69 if you’re worried about missing out.
“I just wanna stare at it.”
That’s what a colleague said when he first saw the Retina iMac, and even now that I’ve been playing with it for a few days, I feel the same way. The best way I can describe it is this: Unboxing it is kind of like setting up your first HDTV. I didn’t want to do anything for the first few minutes; I just wanted to swap in new desktop backgrounds, each sharper than the last, and see how many details I could pick out. Even the flat new icons in OS X Yosemite look great, but you’re probably going to need some 4K video or high-res photos if you want to make the most of the screen. (I imagine the photo and video enthusiasts this machine is aimed at will have that on hand anyway.) If you can get yourself some nice test pictures, maybe a few shot by professionals, you’ll notice extraordinary detail in everything from leather to reptilian skin. Macro shots, in particular, are about as close as you can get to feeling like you’re looking out a window. (“That’s not OK,” a different colleague said as I showed him this image of an eyeball.) Given the right image, one with accurate colors and impeccable sharpness, there’s little separating that collection of pixels from the real thing.
But it’s not just the resolution that makes this a best-in-class display — the image quality is also top-notch. For starters, Apple used Oxide TFT (thin-film transistor) technology to keep the brightness even throughout the 27-inch panel. Apple also added a so-called compensation film for viewing angles. Indeed, colors stay pungent even from severe off-angles — unrealistically wide angles, I mean. The truth is, though, that the last two years of iMacs had wide viewing angles as well, with relatively little glare, so whatever Apple did here, it feels more like it fine-tuned an already-excellent display. Ditto for the colors: They’re vivid and lifelike, but then again, I said the same thing about the last generation of iMacs.
Additionally, Apple borrowed the same “organic passivation” technique it uses on its Retina iPads, which has a positive effect on both image clarity and power consumption. Speaking of the sort, Apple says this model uses 30 percent less power than the previous-gen of iMacs, which is important because no one wants a display this pixel-dense to overheat. Behind it all, there’s a custom Apple-designed timing controller chip to tell each pixel what to do.
All told, my biggest complaint about the display is that you can’t use it as a second screen. While the last-generation iMacs could work as standalone monitors, the 5K iMac is designed to be used as an all-in-one only. Unfortunately, too, there’s currently no standalone 5K Cinema Display, though I wouldn’t be surprised if one were in the works. For now, though, that means if you already own a new Mac Pro and want a super-sharp display to play back 4K content, you’ll need to look to other brands.
|Geekbench (multi-core)||Xbench||Blackmagic (average read/write speeds)|
|iMac (2014, 3.5GHz Core i5, 8GB RAM, 2GB AMD Radeon R9 M290X)||11,344 (32-bit) / 12,394 (64-bit)||643.65||659.0/311.5 MB/s|
|Mac Pro (2013, 3.7GHz Intel Xeon E5-1620, dual 2GB AMD FirePro D300)||12,650 (32-bit) / 14,207 (64-bit)||601.98||918.6/761.2 MB/s|
|iMac (2013, 27-inch, 3.4GHz Core i5, 8GB RAM, 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M)||10,920 (32-bit) / 11,867 (64-bit)||
|iMac (2012, 27-inch, 3.4GHz Core i7, 8GB RAM, 2GB NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX)||13,045 (32-bit)||
|iMac (2012, 21.5-inch, 3.1GHz Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 650M)||12,577 (32-bit)||
Though the display is really the big story here, we can’t forget that this is a $2,499 machine. And you do want to know how that $2,499 machine performs, don’tcha? Of course you do. For the purposes of my review, I tested the entry-level model, which comes with a 3.5GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB Fusion Drive and a 2GB AMD Radeon R9 M290X GPU. In general-performance benchmarks like Geekbench and Xbench, I saw a slight bump over last year’s iMac, which ran on a slightly lower-clocked Intel Core i5 processor and a different GPU. Meanwhile, on Cinebench, my OpenGL test, results rose slightly from 80.18 frames per second to 90.54 fps, while the CPU score saw a slight increase from 525 to 540.
At the same time, because both of my test units had a Fusion Drive combining a 128GB SSD with a 1TB 7,200RPM hard drive, things like disk speeds and startup times were roughly the same. This time around, for instance, I got average read speeds of 659 MB/s compared with 668 MB/s, and write speeds of 311.5 MB/s versus 318.1. Not a big difference. It’s a similar story with the boot-up: It took about 15 seconds here, compared with 13 the last time around. Very similar results, all around.
|Read speeds||Write speeds|
|1GB||665.15 MB/s||315.53 MB/s|
|2GB||666.71 MB/s||310.79 MB/s|
|3GB||655.09 MB/s||309.14 MB/s|
|4GB||651.65 MB/s||309.01 MB/s|
|5GB||656.34 MB/s||312.99 MB/s|
But enough about benchmarks — let’s talk about 4K. I mean, that’s what this machine was built for, right? And how. To put the new iMac through its paces, I loaded up Final Cut Pro with around 10 gigabytes of 4K video clips, and then got to work editing. Much like the newest Mac Pro, which came out last year, the Retina iMac has enough horsepower that you can quickly add effects to 4K files in Final Cut Pro, even while the file is playing back. Whether it was the “camcorder” effect or a black-and-white filter, I saw my clips transform immediately, with no wait time and no pause in the playback.
Speaking of the sort, to ensure smooth playback, I enabled a setting in Final Cut Pro that causes the clip to pause when a frame drops. I’m happy to say the playback never actually paused. Oh, and in case you’re wondering, it took four minutes and 53 seconds to export that 10GB project as a 1080p file, optimized for Apple devices. I have nothing to compare that export time to, but I will say that’s the only time the iMac ever got noisy. Not loud, really, but I could definitely hear the fans start to kick in. Aside from performance potential, that’s one of the bigger differences between this and the higher-end Mac Pro: The Pro stays whisper-quiet under even heavier loads.
Though the Retina display iMac wasn’t built for gaming, specifically, I decided to try my hand anyway. After all, a $2,499 machine with discrete graphics should be able to turn in a respectable showing, ya know? In any case, it is indeed respectable. Even at native resolution (5,120 x 2,880), I got frame rates of up to 26 fps (average of 22 fps) in the three-year-old Batman: Arkham City. That’s with details and anti-aliasing both set on medium. Once I turned off anti-aliasing and dropped the resolution to 4,096 x 2,304, the average frame rate climbed to 34 fps. At 3,200 x 1,800, it jumped to 52 fps. And at 2,560 x 1,440 — the same resolution as most other high-end all-in-ones — the game purred along at 78 frames per second. Again, I’m not saying the iMac is a gaming phenom, but the fact that it’s playable at resolutions not even offered on other all-in-ones bodes well for the graphics muscle. What’s that? You’d prefer to play at max settings? Let’s be real: You’re probably not seriously considering buying this anyway.
The Retina display iMac arrives alongside OS X Yosemite, Apple’s latest desktop operating system, which became available to the general public last week following a large beta program. If you’re interested in every painstaking detail, you really should read my review, but in case you don’t wanna open another article right now, I’ll do my best to condense everything into a few hundred words. Basically, the most important thing you need to know is that while OS X will run on any relatively recent Mac, you’ll need an iDevice of some sort to make the most of the operating system. With this latest update, you can make and receive calls on your Mac, as well as send and receive text messages, and use your iPhone as an auto-connecting hotspot. You can also start using an app like Pages on your mobile device and pick it up on your computer, or vice versa. Likewise, you can remotely open and close Safari tabs on your iOS device, as well as view your entire iCloud search history.
To do any of this, though, you need an iPhone, or maybe an iPad or iPod touch. In some cases, too, you need to be using Apple’s own apps, like Safari or Mail, instead of third-party ones like Gmail. If, like many users, you own an Android phone, or use Google Drive or OneDrive for cloud storage, many of the best new features will be useless to you. For those people, the main appeal will be the much-improved Spotlight search, some new Mail features (if you even use the Mail app) and a flat, iOS-inspired design. And even that has been a source of controversy among the Mac faithful. Then again, why grouse? It’s a perfectly fine operating system, and besides, it’s not like you even have a choice: If you buy the new 5K iMac, this is what you’re going to get.
The Retina display iMac starts at $2,499 with a 3.5GHz quad-core Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1TB Fusion Drive and AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics with 2GB of GDDR5 video memory. From there, you’ve got a few upgrade options. On the CPU side, you can step up to a 4.0GHz quad-core Core i7 chip to the tune of $250. You can increase the RAM to either 16GB ($200) or 32GB ($600). For $250, you also have the option of adding a beefier GPU (the AMD R9 M295X), which comes with four gigs of VRAM, not two. Finally, let’s talk storage. For the same starting price of $2,499, you can get a 256GB SSD instead of that 1TB Fusion Drive. Alternatively, you can choose a 3TB disk ($150), a 512GB solid-state drive ($300) or a 1TB SSD ($800). Do you have $800 to spend on a 1TB SSD, by the way? Well, then. I’m jealous of you.
If you ask Apple, the Retina display iMac’s main competition doesn’t necessarily come from other all-in-ones, but rather, standalone 4K displays. It’s a fair point: Dedicated monitors sometimes run thousands of dollars, and that’s without a full computer inside. As I’ve already said, though, this is a slightly misleading argument, since the 5K iMac can’t be used as a secondary display. So, if you already own a powerhouse machine and just want a stunning monitor to go with it, then the iMac’s price is irrelevant; you’re still going to have to pay market value for a 4K screen.
Speaking of which, not all 4K and Ultra HD displays are created (or priced) equal. You could, for instance, buy the 32-inch Sharp PNK-321 for $4,795 (though current prices are hovering around $3,600); Dell’s forthcoming 5K display, which will cost $2,500; or ASUS’ 31.5-inch PQ321Q, which has a list price of $3,000 (with several retailers offering it for around $2,100). But they’re not all that expensive. On the other side of the spectrum, there’s the 28-inch Dell P2815Q, which has 4K resolution (not 5K) and goes for $600, before any instant-sale pricing. Similarly, Samsung’s 28-inch U28D590D also costs $600, and has an identical resolution of 3,840 X 2,160. In any case, Apple’s marketing people are probably correct that the best-quality 4K displays cost thousands of dollars, but you definitely don’t need to spend three grand for a monitor with that resolution.
And what if you do want an all-in-one with a 4K display? How much is that gonna cost? Obviously, if you’re dead-set on Mac OS, this is your only option — that is, unless you’re willing to settle for the regular iMac, which has either 1,920 x 1,080 or 2,560 x 1,440 resolution, depending on whether you get the 21.5 or 27-inch model. Across the aisle, in the world of Windows PCs, it’s slim pickings, unfortunately — at least if you want a screen anywhere close to the Retina iMac’s.
Dell’s XPS 27 starts at a lower price of $1,600, but its 2,560 x 1,440 resolution falls short of 4K, let alone the 5K Apple is offering. Ditto for the ASUS ET2702IGTH and Lenovo’s 27-inch A730 all-in-one, which is said on the company’s site to be “coming soon” with a 2,560 x 1,440 screen. Over at HP, meanwhile, the highest-end desktop you can find is the $1,400 Envy Recline 27, and even that tops out at 1080p resolution. So yes, the new iMac is “expensive,” in the sense that it costs more than its rivals. But you’re also getting a much sharper screen, one that belongs in its own league. Seriously, those other models don’t even come close.
The Retina display iMac is the best all-in-one desktop you can buy right now, and yes, the $2,499 seems fair, considering the amazing display. That said, precisely because it’s twice as expensive as some rival machines, I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. There are casual users — web surfers, Facebookers — who will be perfectly satisfied with the regular iMac, which starts at $1,099. But for people who are serious about their photos, and serious about their videos, this new model is in a class of its own. There’s simply nothing else like it — no other 5K all-in-one, not even a 4K machine that would come sort of close.
In particular, I’d recommend this to someone who couldn’t quite justify the Mac Pro, which starts at $2,999 without a monitor. Even the entry-level, $2,499 Retina iMac handles 4K video editing smoothly and remember, you don’t have to pay extra for a super-high-res screen. Now, if you already own a Mac Pro and want that 5K display, well, the best you can do is look on with envy — and hope Apple gets around to releasing a standalone 5K Cinema Display sooner rather than later.
Photos by Will Lipman.
Sure, we were only just introduced to Apple’s 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display, but the folks at iFixit are already tearing one apart. Inside they found a screen made by LG Display, and a setup similar to previous iMacs, including easily-accessed RAM slots for memory upgrades. Overall, the layout is almost exactly like last year’s 27-inch iMac, plus that new display controller Apple bragged about and a slightly wider display data cable, enhanced to feed all those pixels. Repairing things might be tricky given its design, but you should check out the teardown for more details and a look at the carnage.
A new version of Apple’s iMac desktop machine doesn’t always come with a retooled exterior. As has become the norm with the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, a spec boost via new internals is the case more often that not. This week, in addition to packing in a load of updated components, the company outfitted the all-in-one option with a new high-res Retina display that should translate to some stellar views. With a product line that dates back to the late ’90s, let’s take a closer look at the iMac’s notable design changes over the years.
A stable of new iPads wasn’t all Apple had up its sleeve today. The folks in Cupertino have also been hard at work on a desktop update, and the iMac is the beneficiary. If you’ll recall, Apple quietly trotted out a more affordable version of the machine back in June, but this fall’s release packs a much bigger punch. With the latest model, the company’s all-in-one option gets a boost in the screen department with the addition of a Retina panel. That 27-inch oxide TFT display is what Apple’s calling “Retina 5K,” touting a 5,120 x 2,880 resolution with 67 percent more pixels than 4K. The added real estate means that you’ll be able to do things like edit 4K video in Final Cut Pro X while still having plenty of room for all the tools you’ll need. Even with all of that new screen power, the new iMac is said to be 30 percent more energy efficient. The outer edge is also 5mm thick, keeping the trim frame all the way around.
As far as the internals go, there’s an quad-core 3.5GHz Intel Core i5 processor that can be upgraded to a 4GHz i7. There’s AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics by default, 8GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive and Thunderbolt 2 ports that offer 20 Gbps transfers. For those who need more power, the new desktops can be equipped with your choice of up to 32GB of RAM, AMD Radeon R9 M295X graphics, a 3TB Fusion Drive and 1TB of PCIe flash storage. And of course, it’ll come with OS X Yosemite. The best part? You can hand over your funds for the iMac with Retina display starting today, and the base model is priced at $2,499. If you’re not convinced that you need to splurge for that newfangled display tech, the existing 27-inch option is now $1,799 and the 21.5-inch is $1,099.
We had a feeling Apple would announce a new iMac today, and indeed, the company didn’t disappoint. Here in Cupertino, we just saw Tim Cook and co. unveil a refreshed model that has basically the same slim design as the last version, except this time it packs a 5K display. I’d be lying if I said I got to spend much time with it — the demo area here is extremely crowded — but I did want to give you some early hands-on photos to look at. Have a gander at the gallery below, and keep your eyes peeled for a full review — something tells us we’ll be taking one of these bad boys for a spin very soon.
Now that the dust from the launch of Apple’s new iPhones has started to settle, it’s time to wade into the fray one more time. It’s been just about a year since the folks from Cupertino trotted out the iPad Air, and now it’s going to show off its next-generation model — along with a handful of other updated goodies — at a big media event at its corporate headquarters on October 16. Before we descend into the depths of Apple’s auditorium and liveblog our fingers off, though, let’s just take a moment to suss out what Tim Cook and pals have in store for us.
A trimmer iPad Air
Apple’s got a whole new (fine, maybe not whole new) aesthetic going on with its newest pair of iPhones, and it looks like that design DNA has been infused into the next-generation iPad Air too. The prolific gadget leakers at Tinhte.vn got their hands on what appears to be the new iPad’s chassis and man is it ever thin — they claim it comes in at 7mm thick, which puts its waistline right between that of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. It’s pretty hard to miss the telltale stainless steel ring around the home button too, so you won’t have to wait too long before you can unlock your iPad and authorize iTunes purchases via Touch ID. Chances are also good that we’ll finally get a gold version of the Air to please all you chromatically picky types. Alas, some of the most important tidbits are the most difficult to suss out: The iPhone 6 Plus has earned itself some fans with its Retina HD display, but we can’t tell if Apple’s looking to bump up the resolution here too. Alas, it seems unlikely that the engineers in Apple HQ would be able to cram an even higher-resolution display into a frame that thin (to say nothing of the battery that’d power such a beast).
We’ve gotten a better look at what’s actually inside the new Air in recent days too: Photos of the iPad’s logic board obtained by Apple.club.tw suggest it’ll pack a more powerful X variant of the A8 processor nestled inside the new iPhones, not to mention 2GB of RAM just as icing on the proverbial tablet cake. And what of the iPad mini? It’s very possible that Apple’s updating its tiny tab too, but the rumor mill’s been awfully quiet on the matter. Japanese fan site Mac Otakara claims that such an unveiling is in fact in the cards, while a few other reports suggest we’re looking at a very modest upgrade — we’re not sure what we’d see beyond the inclusion of a Touch ID sensor for parity and a rounder design to bring its looks in line with the rest of Apple’s iOS gadgets.
But wait, Apple just cranked up the size of its iPhones — what about a bigger iPad? You really shouldn’t hold your breath. Apple’s said to be working on a 12.9-inch version of its tremendously popular tablet (some have started calling it the “iPad Pro”), but no one thinks it’ll land any sooner than next year.
A slew of updated Macs
We’ve already seen the Retina MacBook Pro and the MacBook Air get modest upgrades this year, so don’t expect much in the way of flashy new notebooks. There were some sporadic whispers of a new Retina-screened MacBook Air in the works, and while they probably have some weight to them, a new report from Re/code suggests they’re not going to pop up on Thursday. No, most of the Mac-centric scuttlebutt we’ve seen over the past few weeks deals with the desktop, and it seems like the long-running iMac line will get most of the attention. The most prominent rumor we’ve heard alleges that the 27-inch iMac will finally get a Retina display running at 5,120 x 2,880 for your viewing pleasure — it’d be the first time Apple’s brought such high-definition love to your desk, and with any luck it means a standalone Retina Thunderbolt display isn’t too far off either.
We’ll probably see a refreshed version of the 21.5-inch iMac too, but the particulars aren’t as thrilling: MacRumors doesn’t expect any change in screen resolution, though a shift to AMD graphics in the higher-end version might get your motor running. And what of Apple’s tiniest desktop? The Mac mini hasn’t been touched since 2012, which is ages ago in computer years — if it does show up on Thursday, expect it to come packing a speedier Haswell chip so it can keep up with more modern MacBooks.
More than just hardware
There’s no way Apple’s going to talk new Macs without invoking Yosemite, the new version of OS X that developers and guinea pigs have been playing with since late July. Apple has spent all the time keeping mum about when it’ll actually launch, but there’s a good chance we’ll be able to get our hands on it after the event on Thursday comes to a close. After all, we’re already three Golden Master builds in, and the folks in Cupertino only issued two before it officially released OS X Mavericks last year. The thing is, some of Yosemite’s neatest features (like Continuity with your phone) require iOS 8.1 to work properly too — if a few reports are to be believed, it’s set to land on iPhones starting on October 18. Apple Pay is inching closer to its public launch too, so it wouldn’t be crazy to think we’d get one last onstage run-through before the big day hits. 9to5Mac points out that a slew of companies (including McDonald’s, seriously) are training their employees on how to handle Apple payments, and a supposedly leaked memo to Walgreens employees mentions that the service will officially go live on the 18th alongside iOS 8.1.
It’s only been a month since the world’s press descended on the Flint Center for the Performing Arts to see Tim Cook reveal a pair of new iPhones, and Apple’s already calling everyone back again. Invites to an October 16th event at the company’s Cupertino headquarters have just started making the rounds — if rumor mill’s ceaseless whispers hold true, we’ll be getting a eyeful of a new iPad Air and some new Mac computers, along with a few software notes to round out the package.
As usual, it’s the iPad that’s been getting most of the attention — the famed Vietnamese leakers at Tinhte.vn shared images of an awfully trim new iPad design with some shuffled-around buttons (including volume buttons that are recessed into that aluminum frame) and a TouchID sensor nestled in the ol’ Home button. Meanwhile, some desktop prognosticators have foretold that the 27-inch iMac will finally get a Retina display of its very own, and MacRumors notes that there’s a faint glimmer of hope for some new Mac minis too. Throw in one last look at OS X Yosemite before it launches to the public and we’ve got one meaty agenda — we’ll be there covering the event live (as always!), so stay tuned for much, much more.
Well, this is a timely rumor: Today is the day Apple opens up OS X Yosemite for public beta-testing, and now we’re hearing the final version of the OS will come out in late October. The report comes from Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac, who has a strong track record when it comes to Apple rumors, and he claims that in addition to OS X, Apple will release a 12-inch Retina display MacBook, and either an iMac or a standalone monitor with a 4K screen. Obviously, Apple could do a 180 and release the same old computers with minor spec bumps, but if you ask us, everything Gurman is reporting seems plausible. First of all, Apple already promised it would release a final version of OS X sometime in the fall, and surely it plans to do that before the holiday shopping season starts up in November.
Secondly, a Retina display MacBook Air has been rumored for ages now, and the way the laptop market is going, it seems Apple is going to have to release a Retina-grade Ultrabook sooner or later; it’s already getting tough for us reviewers to make excuses for the Air’s 1,440 x 900 screen when you can easily find Windows machines with 2,560 x 1,440 or 3,200 x 1,800 screens. As for the 4K all-in-one? That seems inevitable too, though we’ve admittedly heard less scuttlebutt about that one.
Both computers are expected to be available in late Q3 or early Q4, according to the report, but constraints having to do with Intel chipsets — among other possible delays — could push the on-sale date to early 2015. If Gurman is correct, we’ll find out more at a fall media event — again, very typical of Apple. The one thing we’re not sure of? Whether the mythical iWatch will be there, as Gurman says. Because we’ve been hearing about that thing forever now. We’ll believe that one when we see it.
There are some solid deals on Apple-related software and accessories this week due to the Fourth of July holiday in the United States, as well as some decent discounts on the iMac, MacBook Air, and Retina MacBook Pro.
Best Buy is running a four-day 4th of July sale offering $120 off of Apple’s entire lineup of iMacs. This drops the price of the new entry level 1.4Ghz iMac to $979.99. Similarly, B&H Photo is also offering the new iMac for $979.99. Best Buy’s educational discounts are still ongoing, offering an additional $150 off the iMac or any other Mac, making it the best choice for students with an .EDU email address.
While Best Buy is also offering discounts on the rest of Apple’s iMacs, there are better deals to be had from both Adorama and B&H Photo. The older 2.7 Ghz 21.5-inch iMac is available for $1,149.99 from Adorama, a discount of nearly $150. The 2.9 Ghz 21.5-inch iMac is available for $1,349.99 from both B&H Photo and Adorama. The lower-end 27-inch iMac is available for $1,659.99 from B&H Photo and Adorama, while the higher-end model is available from B&H Photo and Adorama for $1,879.99.
There are also good deals on the current-generation MacBook Air, which was updated in April. The higher-end 11.6-inch model is available for $999 from Adorama and B&H Photo, a discount of $100. Adorama is offering the lower-end 13.3-inch model for $899, also $100 off. Finally, Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo are all selling the higher-end 13.3-inch MacBook Air for $100 off at $1099.99.
Retina MacBook Pro
As for the Retina MacBook Pro, several retailers are offering $100 to $150 off most models. The 13-inch RMBP with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is $1,399 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo. The lower-end 15-inch RMBP with 8GB of memory and 256GB of storage is $1,849.99 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo, while the higher-end model with 16GB of memory and 512GB of storage is $2,449 at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H Photo.
Buying from Adorama and B&H Photo gives the benefit of no sales tax in many states, as these two stores only charge tax in New York/New Jersey and New York, respectively.
As for accessories, Speck Candyshell cases for the iPhone 5 and 5s are available half off at $17.99 through Groupon, while Otterbox Defender cases are available for $14.99, a discount of $34. Select CaseMate cases are on sale as well for $6.99 to $12.99, as is the LifeProof nüüd case for the iPad mini ($39.99).
Many apps are on sale for the 4th of July. The original Infinity Blade is available for $0.99, for example, while Infinity Blade II is $1.99 and Infinity Blade III is $2.99. Journaling app Day One, normally $4.99, is free. Fantastical 2 for iPad is discounted to $14.99, and Scanner Pro is discounted to $2.99.
Before making a purchase of a Mac or iOS device, make sure to consult our Buyer’s Guide to find out if it’s a good time to buy. For example, because the MacBook Air was updated in April, the Buyer’s Guide indicates that now is a good time to purchase.
MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors.