Rumor: Apple's 21.5-inch iMac with 4K display now in production

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited September 2015
A rumor out of the Far East on Thursday claims Apple suppliers in Taiwan started producing next-generation 21.5-inch iMacs with 4K Retina displays early this month ahead of a rumored release date in November.


Apple's 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display.


Citing supply chain sources, DigiTimes reports Apple is ramping up manufacturing of the high-resolution all-in-one Mac as it shoots for a launch date sometime in the fourth quarter. While the publication has notoriously spotty track record in accurately predicting Apple's movements, the rumor lines up with recent reports echoing whispers of a near future launch.

The sources go on to say that Apple's forthcoming 21.5-inch iMac will boast a 4,096-by-2,304-pixel screen, more commonly referred to as 4K. Those numbers translate into a pixel density of about 218 pixels per inch, identical to Apple's 27-inch iMac with 5K Retina display that launched last October. Initial shipments are estimated to fall between 1.4 million and 1.5 million units, the people said.

Save for an ultra high-resolution display, Apple's rumored iMac update is being considered a mid-cycle refresh, as the external design remains unchanged from current models. The machine will most likely benefit from boosted computational and graphics performance thanks to Intel's latest Skylake processors.

Apple most recently refreshed its 21.5-inch iMac offerings in June of last year with the introduction of a low-end 1.4GHz model priced at $1,099. The company has yet to officially announce plans for a 4K version of its smaller all-in-one, but code discovered in a recent OS X 10.11 El Capitan beta referred to an unknown iMac model with a 4,096-by-2,304-pixel display.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22

    Makes sense, if released in October. Wonder if the 27” Retina will come down in price.

  • Reply 2 of 22
    Want to know if 27" iMac will get updated? Even a Broadwell update will be acceptable for me.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 type-C (reversible) 2nd generation ports?

    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad with built-in USB 3.1 type-C (reversible) 2-port hub?

    SDXC reader allowing UHS-II maximum speed (300 Mbps)?

    New 21.5 to 24-inch or so standalone Apple Thunderbolt Display with all these capabilities?
  • Reply 4 of 22
    mr omr o Posts: 1,046member



    Will ? pencil transform the iMac as a painter's easel?

  • Reply 5 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,892member
    mr o wrote: »

    Will ? pencil transform the iMac as a painter's easel?

    It would if you stuck an iPad Pro on it. ;)
  • Reply 6 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,892member
    I'd have thought a 27" 5K display was due next as it would be of more use to professionals most likely to pay the cost for a Mac Pro screen.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    I can see this being a quiet update, but I wonder if we'll see a larger than normal gap for Mac releases, in general. My reasoning is based on Skylake availability, along with what I assume will be a USB-C and H.265 HW en/decoder, the latter of which will be built into Skylake, from what I've read.

    Also, I still contend that an Apple A-series chip running a relatively inexpensive Mac or Mac-like desktop or notebook is feasible. The biggest blowback I get with that is that the A-series chip simply can't perform well enough to compete with AMD and Intel chips, despite everything point to the contrary: "At the launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple referred to the A7 as being "desktop class" - it turns out that wasn't an exaggeration." And as of yesterday we have a statement from Apple saying that the A9X, which apparently has 4GB RAM, outperforms 80% of CPUs and 90% of iGPUs sold in Windows "PC" laptops last year. Now match that with OS X efficiency and the Mac App Store with a few different rules and you have a recipe for Apple to not only own nearly 100% of the $1000+ consumer "PC" market, but also the consumer "PC" market as low as $700 without having to sacrifice profit margin.

    I'd have thought a 27" 5K display was due next as it would be of more use to professionals most likely to pay the cost for a Mac Pro screen.

    Not until Skylake MBPs does this seem feasible to me. We need TB3 to arrive to make this feasible.
  • Reply 8 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppeX View Post



    Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.1 type-C (reversible) 2nd generation ports?



    Apple Keyboard with Numeric Keypad with built-in USB 3.1 type-C (reversible) 2-port hub?



    SDXC reader allowing UHS-II maximum speed (300 Mbps)?



    New 21.5 to 24-inch or so standalone Apple Thunderbolt Display with all these capabilities?



    Add these to Skylake, and then someone please inform AI that this cannot be referred to as a "mid-cycle refresh".

  • Reply 9 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    Also, I still contend that an Apple A-series chip running a relatively inexpensive Mac or Mac-like desktop or notebook is feasible. The biggest blowback I get with that is that the A-series chip simply can't perform well enough to compete with AMD and Intel chips, despite everything point to the contrary: "At the launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple referred to the A7 as being "desktop class" - it turns out that wasn't an exaggeration." And as of yesterday we have a statement from Apple saying that the A9X, which apparently has 4GB RAM, outperforms 80% of CPUs and 90% of iGPUs sold in Windows "PC" laptops last year. Now match that with OS X efficiency and the Mac App Store with a few different rules and you have a recipe for Apple to not only own nearly 100% of the $1000+ consumer "PC" market, but also the consumer "PC" market as low as $700 without having to sacrifice profit margin.

     

    Aside from its own software apps, Apple's now managing four distinct operating systems: OS X, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. I imagine it's tough enough keeping all the system software and applications straight and compatible with each other without adding the complexity of managing another mass software transition within OS X.

  • Reply 10 of 22

    Right now Apple has, or will have, Universal Apps across, phone, tablet, TV.   Any chance they have Universal Apps across phone, tablet, TV, & Mac?  I would assume that'd be the next logical step. That and adding Siri to OSX.

  • Reply 11 of 22
    frank777 wrote: »
    Aside from its own software apps, Apple's now managing four distinct operating systems: OS X, iOS, watchOS and tvOS. I imagine it's tough enough keeping all the system software and applications straight and compatible with each other without adding the complexity of managing another mass software transition within OS X.

    If that were the case then why do we have 4 now? Also, you need to consider iOS on the iPhone and iPad as unique OSes. Sure, they use a lot more of the same code than, say OS X and iOS or iOS and tvOS, but they are still extremely unique do the specific UI needs between iOS for iPhone and iOS for iPad.
  • Reply 12 of 22
    appex wrote: »
    New 21.5 to 24-inch or so standalone Apple Thunderbolt Display with all these capabilities?

    I'm hoping for something larger, from 31" to 34" that is inline with the 27" display height but with an ultra wide aspect ratio.
  • Reply 13 of 22
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismY View Post



    I can see this being a quiet update, but I wonder if we'll see a larger than normal gap for Mac releases, in general. My reasoning is based on Skylake availability, along with what I assume will be a USB-C and H.265 HW en/decoder, the latter of which will be built into Skylake, from what I've read.



    Also, I still contend that an Apple A-series chip running a relatively inexpensive Mac or Mac-like desktop or notebook is feasible. The biggest blowback I get with that is that the A-series chip simply can't perform well enough to compete with AMD and Intel chips, despite everything point to the contrary: "At the launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple referred to the A7 as being "desktop class" - it turns out that wasn't an exaggeration." And as of yesterday we have a statement from Apple saying that the A9X, which apparently has 4GB RAM, outperforms 80% of CPUs and 90% of iGPUs sold in Windows "PC" laptops last year. Now match that with OS X efficiency and the Mac App Store with a few different rules and you have a recipe for Apple to not only own nearly 100% of the $1000+ consumer "PC" market, but also the consumer "PC" market as low as $700 without having to sacrifice profit margin.

    Not until Skylake MBPs does this seem feasible to me. We need TB3 to arrive to make this feasible.

     

    Great post.

     

    A9X is an order of magnitude ahead of the A7 and A8 chips.  And they were impressive...and considered 'Desktop class.'

     

    "outperforms 80% of CPUs and 90% of iGPUs sold in Windows "PC" laptops last year."

     

    Turns out.  Apple weren't kidding. :O  That is some statistic!  :O

     

    All of a sudden, Apple is on the verge of wiping out the £650 or less PC market!  Truly, the 'Macs' for the rest of us!

     

    Given the glacial rate of Intel updates cpu wise...and the meteoric progression of the A chip....

     

    ...just wow.  

     

    I so want that iPad Pro.  With Pencil.

     

    Stuff your cheap craptop pcs with integrated crappies for under £650...

     

    So, maybe we'll see A class chips in Macs under £1000 in a few years at this rate of going.  Can't wait to see the A9x Geek benched!

     

    Meanwhile.  Yes.  The iMac 4k 21 incher should be a real beauty...

     

    ...but it will really come of age when the GPU tech shifts to a new process tech in 2016.  GPU improvements we haven't seen in years!  That will be the time for me to jump on board a 4 or 5k iMac.

     

    Lemon Bon Bon.

  • Reply 14 of 22
    winterwinter Posts: 1,238member
    I can't wait for this to finally be revealed. I heard about my precious Zen AiO I was waiting for and they included it with some nice bloatware. Unacceptable. : /
  • Reply 15 of 22

    Zen Aio?  Bloatware?  Geeze.  Winter.  Stop punishing yourself.  (I waited 'ten' years to get my Core 2 Duo iMac in 2008.  Got it in a sale.  I was an extreme case though...And then I got a flagship 'thin' iMac in 2013.  Both have been brilliant...whether gaming, 3D graphics, image editing...drawing...surfing...  All very serene on the Mac.)

     

    The new 4k iMac will be launched Oct/Nov'.  Maybe a Skylake cpu with decent int' gpu.  Either way, make sure you get the Fusion drive version and you'll be a happy camper.  It'll be around £1000, I guess.  El Capitan promises to a kick ass release.

     

    If you're budget is £500-700 (as per your Mini posts?)  I'd go the extra mile and get the 'Zen AIO' iMac.  It truly is a 'zen' computer.

     

    From consumer to prosumer to pro tasks...

     

    The iMac has come a long way since it's launch with Steve Jobs.  

     

    Treat yourself.

     

    Lemon Bon Bon.

  • Reply 16 of 22
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,672member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    I can see this being a quiet update, but I wonder if we'll see a larger than normal gap for Mac releases, in general. My reasoning is based on Skylake availability, along with what I assume will be a USB-C and H.265 HW en/decoder, the latter of which will be built into Skylake, from what I've read.
    Everything looks good for updates on the same general pace.
    Also, I still contend that an Apple A-series chip running a relatively inexpensive Mac or Mac-like desktop or notebook is feasible.
    I support you 100% here.
    The biggest blowback I get with that is that the A-series chip simply can't perform well enough to compete with AMD and Intel chips, despite everything point to the contrary: "At the launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple referred to the A7 as being "desktop class" - it turns out that wasn't an exaggeration." And as of yesterday we have a statement from Apple saying that the A9X, which apparently has 4GB RAM, outperforms 80% of CPUs and 90% of iGPUs sold in Windows "PC" laptops last year.
    Well yeah that is a metric that is a bit misleading as the overwhelming vast majority of PC sold are several generations behind what would be considered bleeding edge these days. This includes the majority of corporate sales also. People buying Apple hardware don't always understand just how "low end focused" the PC market is.
    Now match that with OS X efficiency and the Mac App Store with a few different rules and you have a recipe for Apple to not only own nearly 100% of the $1000+ consumer "PC" market, but also the consumer "PC" market as low as $700 without having to sacrifice profit margin.
    Not until Skylake MBPs does this seem feasible to me. We need TB3 to arrive to make this feasible.

    I think what makes it feasible in my mind is the excellent strides Apple has made with the A series chips. Considering the tablet and cell phone platforms the performance is just amazing. What Apple can do when nit held back buy thermals would be very interesting to see. Just imagine A9X running at 3 or 3.5 GHz. The potential is certainly there.

    The other big whining point is X86 compatibility. In that regard I don't think it really matters any,ore to the vast majority of users out there. The world isn't tied to X86 and Microsoft anymore. There certainly are niches that need X86 but that is an extremely tiny part of the overall user base.
  • Reply 17 of 22
    wizard69 wrote: »
    Well yeah that is a metric that is a bit misleading as the overwhelming vast majority of PC sold are several generations behind what would be considered bleeding edge these days. This includes the majority of corporate sales also. People buying Apple hardware don't always understand just how "low end focused" the PC market is.

    I'd also say a key difference between a $700 notebook from Apple running an A-series chip and a $700 WinPC notebook, is the Apple product could have a high pixel density IPS display, and still perform better than than the WinPC. That's unprecedented.
    I think what makes it feasible in my mind is the excellent strides Apple has made with the A series chips. Considering the tablet and cell phone platforms the performance is just amazing. What Apple can do when nit held back buy thermals would be very interesting to see. Just imagine A9X running at 3 or 3.5 GHz. The potential is certainly there.

    Remember when AnandTech noted the iPad 3 had a quad-channel (128-bit) memory controller? Didn't they say the memory controller doubled again?
    The other big whining point is X86 compatibility. In that regard I don't think it really matters any,ore to the vast majority of users out there. The world isn't tied to X86 and Microsoft anymore. There certainly are niches that need X86 but that is an extremely tiny part of the overall user base.

    If there was no Mac App Store, this would be a slightly larger issue, and if this was to be used in the Mac Pro or MacBook Pro out of the gate, that would definitely be an issue, but we're talking about a new low-end machine from Apple where all compatible apps will be available via an App Store. Additionally, it's a time when Apple will partner with developers to get them to build apps for secret projects, like the iPad Pro, so they can have apps ready to go.
  • Reply 18 of 22
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,499member
    solipsismy wrote:
    Also, I still contend that an Apple A-series chip running a relatively inexpensive Mac or Mac-like desktop or notebook is feasible.

    I am with you there. I posted similar last year after the iPad Air 2 and the A8X were out. Without that Intel chip cost, Apple could easily do a notebook starting at $700 as you note, with same (or better) margins than the Air or low end 13" Pro. It is a matter of when, not if, IMO. Apple could grow Mac revenue substantially with such a move.

    I think the issue is about segmentation - how to introduce this cleanly without affecting the sales of the upper end models, or causing consumer confusion. Keep the Pro units on Intel for broadest application compatibility , and then the AX chips for low end sure, but how do you market it? AX is for education, or specific enterprise functions?
  • Reply 19 of 22
    brucemc wrote: »
    I am with you there. I posted similar last year after the iPad Air 2 and the A8X were out. Without that Intel chip cost, Apple could easily do a notebook starting at $700 as you note, with same (or better) margins than the Air or low end 13" Pro. It is a matter of when, not if, IMO. Apple could grow Mac revenue substantially with such a move.

    I think the issue is about segmentation - how to introduce this cleanly without affecting the sales of the upper end models, or causing consumer confusion. Keep the Pro units on Intel for broadest application compatibility , and then the AX chips for low end sure, but how do you market it? AX is for education, or specific enterprise functions?

    This is certainly possible, but obviously it remains a question of whether Apple's longterm goals find it feasible. AS you note, they need to consider how this will affect sales of their more expensive, Intel-based Macs. For me, it won't affect it at all, as I'll likely have a 15" MBP that is less than 2 years old for the foreseeable future. The other big one is profit margins. Even at the same profit margin getting paid on $1000+ sale is better than a $700 sale, with the counter consideration being the increased unit sales which I contend would push their "PC" division into considerably higher numbers.

    Now what about the Enterprise? Is Mac OS X really great for that over Windows? It seems like a companies are allowing the choice these days so I assume it's fine, but I've been out of the traditional corporate system long enough that I don't know well it works with an Enterprise LAN that needs to authenticate with servers for access.
  • Reply 20 of 22
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,499member
    solipsismy wrote: »
    This is certainly possible, but obviously it remains a question of whether Apple's longterm goals find it feasible. AS you note, they need to consider how this will affect sales of their more expensive, Intel-based Macs. For me, it won't affect it at all, as I'll likely have a 15" MBP that is less than 2 years old for the foreseeable future. The other big one is profit margins. Even at the same profit margin getting paid on $1000+ sale is better than a $700 sale, with the counter consideration being the increased unit sales which I contend would push their "PC" division into considerably higher numbers.

    Now what about the Enterprise? Is Mac OS X really great for that over Windows? It seems like a companies are allowing the choice these days so I assume it's fine, but I've been out of the traditional corporate system long enough that I don't know well it works with an Enterprise LAN that needs to authenticate with servers for access.
    My company is a Windows shop, but Macs are tolerated by IT if you bring your own. I have no connectivity or services issues - the only short comings are if an application is only developed for Windows. Of course you can run boot camp or a vim in those cases, but rest of time I am on OSX, using Office for Mac for compatibility.

    If MS would support Office on an AX Mac, then it would work well enough in an enterprise market.
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