A tweet by a German web design exec suggesting that the resolution of a piece of Mavericks wallpaper suggests a Retina iMac with a resolution of 5120×2880 pixels has been doing the rounds, spotted by bunch of publications.

The rationale is that the resolution is exactly twice that of the current-generation iMac, therefore suggesting a Retina iMac with double the resolution. The problem with this argument is that 5120×2880 pixel wallpaper images are not new to Mavericks. In fact, Apple has used them as far back as 2011, probably just for future-proofing purposes. There’s really no downside to including images which will display nicely on any larger monitors that come along …

What is more likely this year from Apple are 4K displays…

Possibly in iMacs or even a TV at some point, but our money would be on a 4K Apple Thunderbolt Display launched alongside the new Mac Pro. Phil Schiller made specific reference to the machine being able to drive three 4k displays during the keynote, and it’s unlikely that the company will want to send customers out to buy competitor monitors…

The first Mac ever that comes standard with dual workstation GPUs… this is 2.5X the graphic performance of the last generation 4096 stream processors, 384-bit memory buses, 528 GBps total bandwidth

This supports 4K displays, multiple streams of 4k displays.

You can have up to three 4K displays on the built in dual workstation graphics.

Not that Apple will be manufacturing the monitors themselves, of course. Current Apple Thunderbolt Display panels are made by LG, and Apple uses a mix of LG and Samsung screens in its MacBooks. We’re hoping Apple will turn to Sharp’s IGZO for its 4K panels, having fallen in love with the 32-inch IGZO panel we first saw last November and tested in January.

In fact, we’re wondering whether that’s what we spotted on the left here:


ASUS also announced a 31.5-inch 4K monitor last month which is likely to be based on the same amazing Sharp IGZO panel.

50-inch 4K TVs are already hitting the $1000 mark, the same price as a current-generation Thunderbolt display, suggesting that a 4K iMac is not as great a stretch as it might appear at present. However, don’t expect to see the first Apple 4K Display to come in at this kind of price …

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One Response to “We might not see a 5120×2880 pixel iMac, but 4K displays this year from Apple make sense”

  1. The big difference between the 4k TV’s you mentioned and a TB display is that it will refresh at 60hz, as opposed to 30hz on the TV’s. There’s a big difference here – not being able to edit or play 60fps content even if your end result is 30fps is a huge limitation.