WWDC 2017: Apple announces new iMac range, powers up the MacBook

The iPad and iPhone maker has revealed hefty improvements to the iMac, a product line not updated since 2015.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer
(Image: CNET)

Apple has announced a refreshed iMac range with emphasis on improved processing power and displays.

At Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Jose, Calif., on Monday, the iPad and iPhone maker announced an overhaul of the Mac product family, with the latest macOS High Sierra and a new range of iMacs.

During WWDC's keynote, Apple CEO Tim Cook called the Mac the "heart and soul of Apple," and "no-one can match the Mac's deep integration of hardware and software."

With MacBooks beginning to lag behind in processing power, an upgrade is, no doubt, appreciated by Apple fans.

In April, Apple confirmed that new iMac desktops -- a line not updated since 2015 -- were due to appear this year, although it was not known at the time whether the tech giant would choose to reveal them at WWDC. It seems the wait is over.

Overall, Apple has included three new models to the main product line: An iMac 21.5-inch, a 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display, and a 27-inch iMac Retina with 5K display.

John Turnus, VP of hardware engineering, said at the conference that the iMac range will now include improved displays of 500 nits, or a total of 43-percent brighter than the previous generation. They will support up to one billion colors.

The full line is moving to Intel's 7t- generation Core processor, Kaby Lake, at up to 4.2 GHz with Turbo Boost or up to 4.5 GHz.

The 21.5-inch model can now be purchased with up to 32GB memory, while larger sizes, such as the 27-inch, can be customized with up to 64GB.

When it comes to storage, the executive said SSD options will be up to 50-percent faster and users can request up to 2TB in storage space.

Entry-level iMacs will come with Intel Iris Plus Graphics, which is up to 80 percent more powerful than the previous generation, while the new Radeon Pro 500-series graphics with up to 8GB of vRAM is also available.

Ternus said the new 21.5-inch system will be up to three times faster than its predecessors when it comes to graphics support and rendering, while the 27-inch model will enjoy graphics improvements of up to 50 percent.

Apple's 4K iMacs will include an AMD Radeon discrete GPU, suitable for content creation, VR, and gaming.

"[With] Up to 5.5 teraflops of graphics compute, it [is] a great platform for VR content creation," Turnus said.

The iMac range will also include two USB-C connectors with Thunderbolt and a Fusion drive as standard.

The iMac 21.5-inch's starting price is $1099, a 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display will set you back $1299, and a 27-inch iMac Retina 5K's cost begins at $1799.

In addition, the iPad and iPhone maker revealed the iMac Pro, created for "power users," which will ship with a 5k Retina display, 8-core Intel Xeon processor, 10-core Xeon processor, or 18-core processor, AMD's Radeon Vega graphics, and up to 16GB of VRAM with 22 teraflops of half precision and built-in 10GB ethernet.

According to Turnus, with those specs, you could easily "hook up two 5K displays and two RAID arrays."

However, the model won't come cheap, with a starting price tag of $4,999, although the executive said that to build your own comparable model, you could expect to pay upwards of $7,000.

The iMac Pro will be available in December.

Apple also updated the MacBook and MacBook Pro with faster processors, added faster SSDs to MacBook, and introduced a new $1,299 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The new 13-inch MacBook features a Kaby Lake processor up to 1.3GHz Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4 GHz, and up to 50-percent faster SSD storage. The 15-inch model goes up to 3.1 GHz Core i7 with Turbo Boost up to 4.1GHz, and it has improved graphics, better video memory, as well as Apple's new Touchbar system and Retina display.

To wrap up the refreshed product ranges, the tech giant has also updated the standard 13-inch MacBook Air with a 1.8GHz processor.

Read also: WWDC 2017: Apple reveals macOS refresh, High Sierra | WWDC 2017: iOS 11 revealed with more Siri smarts, AR support | WWDC 2017: Apple positions Mac updates, Mac OS High Sierra for VR developers | WWDC 2017: Apple gives Siri top billing on watchOS 4, Apple Watch

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