It finally happened. On Monday June 5th to open the 2017 WWDC (World Wide Developers Conference), Apple loaded both barrels showing off new software and hardware, some of which were far overdue. Some of it is even available right now.
On the software side we got previews of the upcoming OS for Macs, iOS, AppleTV, and Apple Watch. The next MacOS will be called High Sierra, a play on the current MacOS Sierra. Craig Federighi was on stage showing the highlights of the new OS. Craig is quite the showman and works well with the Apple crowd. Others showed off the upcoming WatchOS 4, iOS 11, and tvOS.
Then we got to see some hardware. While the MacBook Pros got an update last fall, one that users either loved or hated, the iMac has not had any update since 2015. Long overdue, the iMac got a pretty decent boost.
There are still two models of iMac – 21.5-inch and 27-inch. The 21.5-inch model is available with a standard HD screen resolution or with a high-end 4K screen. Apple has improved the screen of the 4K version of the iMac from the previous model.
Apple states the new 4K iMac has a brighter screen (500 nits), with a very wide color space (P3). This is not just a UHD display slapped inside an iMac. This is a true 4K monitor capable of showing billions of colors at a resolution of 4096-by-2304. The 27-inch iMac has a 5K monitor that is also brighter and has the P3 color space. The 5K model has a resolution of 5120‑by‑2880.
Inside the new iMacs you will find the latest generation Intel processors aka Kaby Lake. The base HD iMac has a 2.3GHz core i5. The base 4K model has a 3.0GHz core i5 and Radeon Pro 555 discrete graphics, with 2GB of VRAM. The top-end 4K model has a 3.4GHz core i5 and Radeon Pro 560 discrete graphics, with 4GB of VRAM. Of course you can somewhat customize the 4K models to boost some of the components. The processor can be upped to a core i7, the base 4K can be ordered with up to 16GB of RAM, while the top-end 4K iMac can go up to 32GB of RAM. The standard spinning hard drives can be custom ordered with either Fusion drives or with full SSD type storage.
While the 27-inch iMac has often been used by Mac ‘professionals’, it’s going to be a hard sell for the high-end model after Apple previewed the soon to be released iMac Pro – a Space Gray model 27-inch iMac with the heart of a Mac Pro. I won’t go into all the specs here, but Apple states it is the fastest Mac ever made. No real pricing yet, but Apple says that the starting price is $4999.
The real sweet spot here is the base model 4K iMac. Apple stated in the keynote that this model starts at $1299, which they say is a $200 price reduction from the model it replaces. For $1299 you will get a 21.5-inch 4K high-quality display with the 7th gen Intel core i5 processor running at 3.0GHz, 8GB RAM (not upgradable), and a 1TB spinning hard drive. Instead of the usual integrated graphics that most of the recent 21-inch iMacs have been stuck with, this years 4K iMacs have discreet graphics, either the Radeon Pro 555, or in the high-end 4K iMac, the Radeon Pro 560. This should give the 4K iMacs a nice boost with graphics Apps and gaming.