Dell has just announced a brand-new 27inch external display with an insane resolution of 5120×2880. Pixel counts of this magnitude were thought to be several months out, stretching into mid 2015, so Dell’s abrupt announcement has come as a bit of surprise. In summary, the 27-inch panel has 14 million pixels across its surface, resulting in a PPI of 218. This is the same density as a 15inch Retina MacBook Pro, but obviously much much larger.
The monitor is expected to be available by the end of the year.
What’s notable about this resolution is it shows that a Retina iMac is now very feasible. 5120×2880 is exactly double 2560×1440, the resolution of the current 27 inch iMac, in each dimension.
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Using the panel in this monitor, Apple could potentially release a Retina 27-inch iMac (at @2x scale) this year. Obviously, there are other factors that come into play to make an iMac a reality (such as the price of the panel or what graphics card options exist to power that many pixels) but the unveiling of the Dell monitor turns the idea of a Retina iMac from a pipe-dream to a real possibility.
References to 5120×2880 resolutions were found in OS X Yosemite code earlier in the year. Perhaps Apple has been readying a 2014 Retina iMac for a while now. A late 2014 – early 2015 release is not out of the question, anymore. It is unlikely Apple will announce such a product at Tuesday’s event (which is already crammed with new iPhones, the wearable and maybe even iPads), however.