iMac 21.5 and 27 inch teaer 001

In October 2014, Apple refreshed its flagship all-in-one (my dream desktop) with an insanely sharp 5K screen, among other hardware changes. The update left seasoned watchers wondering about the fate of its smaller 21.5-inch baseline sibling, which has remained stuck with a Full HD 1,920-by-1,080 screen.

As suggested by code hooks 9to5Mac discovered in the second beta of El Capitan Developer Preview, the 21.5-incher could gain an ultra-sharp screen with a 4K resolution. In addition, it appears the Apple Remote could receive a substantial upgrade with a multi-touch surface, Bluetooth, Siri support and other perks in the works.

As shown on the screenshot below, El Capitan contains strings that seemingly reference support for an unreleased 4,096-by-2,304 resolution display panel.

The reference, which isn’t present in any version of Yosemite or in the first beta of OS X El Capitan, also mentions Intel’s new Broadwell-integrated graphics chipset known as the Iris Pro 6200 and AMD Radeon M380 – M395X graphics.

“While the larger, more expensive 27-inch iMac is offered with a 5K display, it could make sense for the smaller screen to be upgraded to a 4K resolution,” author Mark Gurman speculates.

However, these strings aren’t necessarily solid evidence of a new iMac as they could hint at support for standard 4K content, external screens or even an Apple-branded 4K Thunderbolt Display.

El Capitan code strings 21.5 inch iMac with 4K Screen

If a 21.5-inch iMac is getting 4K love, will the regular 27-inch 2,560-by-1,440 iMac gain a 4K screen, too? And if so, won’t these upgrades make the flagship 27-incher with 5K Retina screen (5,120 x 2,880) a much tougher sell?

Only time will tell.

Coincidentally or not, Apple supplier LG Display leaked on its own website in April that an ‘iMac 8K’ with “a super-high resolution display” will release “later this year”.

WikiLeaks dump Sony Apple 4K content

According to a recent WikiLeaks dump, part of which is pictured above, Apple did request 4K video content from Sony Pictures back in 2013. Moreover, the iPhone maker was permitted to use the materials for testing and preparing them for “exhibition on a video-on-demand and digital home entertainment basis.”

It’s unbeknownst to the general public whether Apple later signed any additional contracts that would permit it to offer 4K movies and TV shows for sale and rent on iTunes.

On a similar note, Apple scoopster John Paczkowski claims a next-generation Apple TV refresh won’t include 4K video playback capability, despite the iPhone 6 and iPad Air 2 processors being capable of rendering 4K content.

LG Display 8K

If I ran Apple, I’d refresh the iMac lineup like so:

  • $1,099 21.5-inch iMac with 4K (4,096 x 2,304) Retina screen
  • $1,799 27-inch iMac with 5K (5,120 x 2,880) Retina screen
  • $1,999 27-inch iMac with 8K (7,680 x 4,320) Retina screen

As for a new remote, the file named “AppleBluetoothRemote.kext” in OS X El Capitan beta 2 hides reference to a Bluetooth-enabled remote, as opposed to the present-generation Apple Remote which uses infrared communication.

In addition to a dedicated Bluetooth chip, the accessory apparently has a multi-touch trackpad and supports audio, hinting at the possibility of Siri commands.

Apple Remote (front 001)

It’s unclear whether the new remote, if it gets released, is going to replace the current one or be offered as a higher-end accessory. For what it’s worth, the code strings indicate the new remote will be able to connect with devices via an infrared sensor, too.

Apple’s current remote, which was previously available standalone, now only ships with the $69 Apple TV media-streaming box.

Source: 9to5Mac

  • sh1ku

    I have a (silly) question. Does a 4K 21,5” display show the 1080p resolution with the same detail as a 1080p 21,5” display? This is, will we see a pixeled image on a 4K 21,5”@1080p, or it should be the same as on a native 1080p 21.5”? Yeah, I don’t know so much about this stuff. If I’m right, it should be the same, but I honestly don’t know, hence the question.

    This comes because gaming at 4K with the graphics cards I expect from Apple, will probably be a pain, a huge pain in the ***. I know, I know, “Mac is not designed as a gaming computer”. I wouldn’t buy a Mac just for gaming, obviously. But I’d use it for gaming too, as for video producing (for example).
    Said this, games on my iMac 27”@1440p looks low-detailed at 1080p, but I guess it’s about the screen size, not the resolution? Idk, if someone could elaborate…

    • Andrew

      1080p is 1080p. It might just look less detailed because you’re used to 1440p, and the larger screen might also play a part; a 10″ 1080p display will look clearer than an 80″ 1080p display because the pixels are smaller and closer together on the smaller one. So, as you stretch it out, it’ll get less clear.

      (By the way, this is just my guess. I could be totally wrong, but I’m at least 45% sure I’m not)

    • eXoguti097

      It looks low detailed at 1080p because of the size of the display and its PPI. If I game at 1080p on my rMBP 13in which is basically 16:10 QHD it looks very sharp still because of the high PPI.

    • lemonhead

      Well since you probably set the resultion on the mac to 4K, “obviously” the window/picture is gonna be smaller compared to the 21 inch screen.
      So if you then stretch the window out, it looks less crisp, because your computer resolution is at 4K.
      But if you turn the computer resolution down to 1900 x 1080p it should look quite okay i believe

    • It depends… Most of these displays are using Retina screens. So it’s 4 pixels to ever 1 pixel on a standard display, So, if the content is 1080p, I’d assume they’d use software to merge the 4 pixels into 1 pixel and display 1080p at the same size a standard 1080p screen would.
      Not saying that it would take up the entire screen, because it wouldn’t but it wouldn’t make the video seem ‘blown up’ or any noticeable loss in picture quality.

    • sh1ku

      I see. I think I understand it better now. Thank you all for your replies!

  • Well I know I’m passing on the next iphone so this just might be the year I go really big and pickup a 27inch imac.

  • Kaptivator

    Side question…What’s the name of the game shown on the right (larger screen) with the F-15 on the monitor? I have been looking for a good flight simulator/game.

  • -= J$@ =-

    Why would they update the remote as a standalone item? To me it would make sense to update the Apple TV along with a new remote as a package, which will also be compatible with OS X. Just like every Apple TV previously…
    Or maybe this is just my wishful thinking!

  • iPhoneWINS

    i will wait for 8K to come out then 4K will be affordable…

  • Happysnackers

    How about they make the screen tough screen. Don’t they wanna be cool and add features people will never use.