Rumor: Retina iMac in late testing, could launch next month

iMac 8G (two up, left angled, right angled)

A rumored 27-inch iMac with a Retina screen featuring a “5K” resolution of 5,120-by-2,880 pixels is reportedly in late testing stages within Apple, as first reported Monday morning by Jack March and corroborated by 9to5Mac.

The reported “5K” resolution would quadruple pixel count versus the 2,560-by-1,440 resolution panel on the current 27-inch iMac model. To drive all those pixels, Apple is said to outfit the forthcoming all-in-one desktop with AMD’s pro-grade graphics utilized on the late-2013 Mac Pro, as opposed to Nvidia GPU’s powering the current iMac lineup.

The machine should be unveiled at Apple’s next major media event.

Multiple rumors have suggested that Apple will soon issue invites for an October press event to refresh the iPad lineup and launch OS X Yosemite.

“A source familiar with Apple’s plans tells me that Apple is indeed planning to launch a Retina iMac at their next press event,” March reported.

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac confirmed this with his sources “who have used the future desktop computer”. March claims that only the 27-incher will feature a 5,120-by-2,880 panel, as leaked in the OSX Yosemite code a few months ago. Specifically, watchers spotted references to 6,400-by-3,600, 5,760-by-3,240 and 4,096-by-2,304 resolution screens in Yosemite betas.

March’s source is “almost 100 percent sure” that the 21.5-inch model should continue to use the current full HD 1,920-by-1,080 screen.

“The source says that its likely that the 21.5″ model will get a Retina display when powerful Broadwell processors start shipping,” wrote March.

This would be in line with Apple’s current MacBook offering, that comes in two flavors: Retina and non-Retina. March also added that the new 27-inch model would continue to use Intel’s Haswell Core i7-4790K processor clocked at 4.0 GHz because next-generation Broadwell chips won’t be ready until next year.

The machine should feature the same thin design as the current model, with improved Wi-Fi antennas. Port configuration is said to remain largely intact.

Apple has been expected to unveil a brand new 12-inch MacBook Air with Retina display, but that machine is also thought to have been delayed because low-power Broadwell chips won’t be available in volume until mid-2015.

Taiwan-based display researchers WitsView believes that a “5K” Retina-class Apple Thunderbolt Display is in the works as well.

[Jack March via MacRumors, 9to5Mac]