Wednesday, June 28

What the new iMac can do for home consumers

The new iMac Pro is displayed during the 2017 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center. Picture: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

AT a time when computer sales are shrinking, Apple has gone big.

In an Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) event overloaded with announcements and product updates, it was easy to get lost in the Mac update section that was full of specs that had power users clapping their hands and the rest of us scratching our head.

But here is the big news in brief: Apple has released a bunch of computers. A big bunch. Seven new Mac computers in one day. An apple a day is supposed to scare of medical practitioners but seven Apples in a day will draw a crowd.

Apple also announced this week that it would be releasing the iMac Pro later this year. This is definitely not something for the home consumer, but judging by the way high-end users in the San Jose convention centre gasped at the announcement, we’re going to assume that that is a very powerful computer if you’re into those sort of things.

And plenty of people are.

Leading up to this year’s WWDC, there was lot of talk that Apple wasn’t doing enough for power users. Actually, there was more than talk, in the lead up to the event one man posted a music video to social media calling on Apple to remember power users.

With the swag of announcements of new Macs, much of those questions demanded by power users were answered. People who expect their Macs to do high end things have plenty to look forward to.

But what about general consumers? If you’re someone who is looking at getting an iMac for the home, what do you need to know?

We got hands on with a shiny new iMac just to answer that question.


iMac 27-inch with Retina 5K Display. 3.4Ghz quad-core Intel Core i5, 1TB Fusion Drive, 8GB DDR4. The unit we tried costs $2699. The 21.5 inch iMac starts from $1899.


The first thing any computer company will say about their new computer is that it is better than the last one, and indeed it should be. Physically, the new iMac is the exact same form and shape as the old one, with the exception that when you look at the back you get the bonus of two Thunderbolt 3 ports next to the USB slots. Internally, it is faster by quite a bit — basically, when it comes to video editing or gaming you can expect about 1.5 times faster than the previous model.

Walk into an Apple store and, if it’s your sort of thing, there will be someone willing to tell you how this is much more powerful, with specs to make your head spin. They might also tell you that with the Fusion Drive, the apps and files you use the most often are stored in flash storage so they open quicker.

But you will want them to stop talking and start showing this fancy new screen which is brighter and better by a long shot. The screen now has a maximum brightness of 500 nits (the more nits you have, at least with computers, the better), which is 43 per cent brighter than the previous generation, and it can display one billion colours, which is also an improvement of about four to five times better.


Firstly, Apple is committed not just to the iMac as a product line but to the shape and form of the iMac as it looks now. Not only do the new iMacs, in terms of physical size and shape, look exactly like the old models (screen brightness and colour improvements aside), we know that the next Apple computer, the Power iMac coming out on December, while do the same.

Apple likes the shape of the iMac so much they didn’t tweak it at all and just boosted the performance. That’s not a bad thing — a much faster iMac is great — but it is also not groundbreaking.

We also know that Apple’s move to bring a touchscreen experience to computing is, at least for now, just going to stay with the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro. Yes, you can get an extended Apple Magic Keyboard that has a separate numeric keypad, but you are not about to experience the advantages of the Touch Bar on Apple’s desktop computer.

That could mean the reaction to the Touch Bar on the MacBook Pro, both from people using it and software makers supporting it, hasn’t been what Apple wanted. Or it could just mean that Apple feels the Touch Bar is better suited to the MacBook Pro form.

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