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Apple launches 4K iMac & new 5K iMac with expanded color space

16 Oct 2015 | Rasmus Larsen |

Apple has launched a new version of its 21.5” iMac. It jumps from HD resolution to 4K resolution - 4096x2304 pixels - and has an expanded color space. Apple is also upgrading the larger 27” 5K iMac with the expanded color space.

New Apple 4K iMac

The new generation of the 21.5” iMac has a faster processor (Intel Broadwell), faster RAM, Thunderbolt 2 ports and a better graphics card but the biggest changes are the in the display. Apple is increasing the resolution 4,5x times and is therefore labeling it as a Retina display.

Apple has already implemented “Retina” support in OS X, which means that fonts and icons will remain the same size but now have 4 pixels in the new iMac with 4K resolution for every 1 pixel in the old iMac with HD resolution.

For the first time, Apple is also expanding the color gamut on its iMac. sRGB is the most widely-used color gamut for PC monitors and PC environments but people working with graphics, photography and video often work work larger color spaces. With the new 4K iMac Apple is jumping to DCI P3 color space, which is 25% larger than sRGB. DCI P3 is also used for movies in cinemas. The expanded color space makes the iMac capable of reproducing more saturated colors, especially for red and green.

Apple 4K iMac

Apple is not using “quantum dot” technology to achieve the wider color space. Instead, they have opted to use red/green phosphor technology, which is also used by TV manufacturers such as Panasonic. The display is based on still IPS LCD, which means that LG.Display is supplying the panels.

5K iMac gets a larger color space

The expanded color space will also be available in the larger 27” iMac. Apple is launching a new, upgraded version with more powerful hardware and a display that supports DCI P3.

Apple 5K iMac

OS X supports wide color gamuts but be aware of the limitations of the current ecosystem. It is not advisable to force pictures or content reproduced in sRGB into the wider DCI color space as it will make colors appear inaccurate and oversaturated. The shift from the dated sRGB color space to a wider color space will take time. It is not a matter of simply upgrading the display. The operating system and apps will also have to be updated to take full advantage of DCI P3. Movies / TV series in DCI P3 are not yet available to consumers either.

iMovie for Mac has been updated with support for 4K video, too. iMovie for iPhone/iPad already supports 4K and the same is true for Apple’s professional Final Cut Pro.

Apple Magic Mouse 2

Lastly, Apple has announced a new Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2; all based on Bluetooth and rechargeable via the lightning port. Magic Trackpad offers Force Touch that can sense how hard you press.

The new 21,5” 4K iMac is available now starting from $1,499 dollars. The new 5K iMac is also available now starting from $1,799 dollars.

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