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.

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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.

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.

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