New iMac 2017: We take a closer look at Apple’s new range of iMacs to see what’s new on the 2017 range.
We’re part-way through 2017, and that means Apple’s hit us all with a load of upgrades to its existing product ranges, including the ever-popular iMac all-in-ones. Yes the desktops have been spruced up with some new processors and graphics hardware, along with some blindingly bright screens.
But there’s more to it than that, of course. So, allow us to explain exactly what Apple has done to its line of desktops with a guide to the 2017 iMac range.
NEW IMAC 2017 – DESIGN AND DISPLAY
Firstly, the design is exactly the same as it was last year. You’re getting the iconic metal and glass, all-in-one form factor you’re used to here, and that’s no bad thing. The range still comes in the form of a 21.5-inch model with Full HD display, a 21.5-inch model with 4K Retina display, and 27-inch 5K beast.
The thick metal “lip” on the bottom of the devices remain this year, and will also feature on the upcoming iMac Pro – set to be released at the end of 2017.
In terms of screen sizes, the new range of iMacs start at 21.5 inches with 1080p resolutions, with a 21.5-inch Retina model also available which sports a 4K screen and the ability to support up to 4,096 x 2,304 pixels on an external display.. At the top-end of the series is the 27-inch 5K iMac which offers the best resolution of the entire lineup at 5120×2880 pixels, and the ability to output to two 4096×2160 external displays, or one 5120×2880 dual-cable screen.
This year, Apple’s added 1 billion colours and 500 nits of brightness to its AIOs, making the screens 43% brighter than the previous Mac models. What’s more, the 5K iMac is calibrated to satisfy the DCI P3 colour standard. That’s the same standard used in film production. Add to that the fact all iMacs, except the 21.5-inch model without the Retina display, come with 10-bit colour, and you can expect a fantastic display even at the low-end of the range.
On the rear of the iMac range you’ll find a Gigabit Ethernet socket, four USB 3.0s and two Thunderbolt 3 (USB C) ports. They’re backed up by a SDXC card slot and headphone jack. Round the front, there’s the standard HD FaceTime 1.2-megapixel camera, so you can Skype in high definition.
No matter which model from the new range you go for, you’ll get Apple’s new Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad and Magic Mouse. There’s also the Magic Trackpad 2, but you’ll have to pay an extra £50/$50 for the external trackpad.
NEW IMAC 2017 – HARDWARE
Apple’s stepped its game up on the hardware front this year. There’s new processors and greatly-improved graphical performance for 2017. Here’s exactly what’s inside the new range of iMacs:
Firstly, there are still numerous iMac configurations when it comes to the standard range, but the main thing to note is that all models have gained the latest Intel Kaby Lake processors. The top-spec 27-inch iMac comes with a quad-core Intel i7 Kaby Lake (4.2GHz), 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD and AMD Radeon Pro 580 graphics with 8GB video memory for £4949. But that is the very best you can get.
The 21.5-inch Macs come with dual-core Core i5 Kaby Lake chips, while the 27-inch models have quad-core Core i5s, which you can upgrade to Core i7 chips.
Fusion Drive now comes as standard on all 27-inch configurations and the top-end 21.5-inch iMac, while Apple has made SSD storage options 50% faster.
Apple is also making a big thing out of the iMacs’ new ability to run VR. All the new iMacs except the entry-level model use Radeon Pro graphics. That entry-level model now uses Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640.
Here’s how the whole series’s base configurations look for 2017:
21in 1080p iMac
Starts at £1049/$1099 — 8GB/1TB HDD/Core i5 dual/Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640
21in 4k iMac
Starts at £1449/$1499 — 8GB/1TB Fusion Drive/Core i5/Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB video memory
27in 5K iMac
Starts at £1749/$1799 — 8GB/1TB Fusion Drive/Core i5/Radeon Pro 570 with 4GB video memory
NEW IMAC 2017 – SOFTWARE
Apple announced macOS High Sierra at this year’s WWDC, alongside the newly upgraded iMacs. The new version of macOS will be launching later this year, and users will be able to upgrade at that time. A public beta is available right now.
Last year’s Sierra brought a host of features, such as Siri’s debut on desktop, but High Sierra bring yet more improvements. There’s better Spotlight search alongside new full-screen split-window support in Mail. Elsewhere, users will benefit from an email library that’s now 35% smaller in terms of file size, as well as support for the most common 4K video standard, HEVC (H.265). Metal 2 graphics support means developers can get stuck into the new graphics API from Apple, and the aforementioned VR support should pair nicely with the newly upgraded graphical capabilities.
We’ll have more once High Sierra has launched and we’ve gone hands on with the new OS.
NEW IMAC 2017 – PRICE
The new range of 2017 iMacs is on sale now. As we mentioned, there are a load of different configuration options which affect pricing, but here’s a quick guide to the cost:
21in 1080p iMac
Starts at £1049/$1099
21in 4k iMac
Starts at £1449/$1499
27in 5K iMac
Starts at £1749/$1799
NEW IMAC (2017) – SUMMARY
Design: Apple has stuck with its tried and tested design this year, and we’re not complaining. These things still look sleek and refined.
Hardware: New Kaby Lake processors, greatly-improved graphical capabilities, brighter screens, and speedier memory make this year’s lineup a welcome upgrade to last year’s.
Software: All models in the iMac range will run the latest macOS High Sierra when it launches later this year.
Price: The 2017 iMacs range from £1049/$1340 to around £5000/$6350 depending on which configuration you go with.
The new range of iMacs have received significant hardware upgrades while retaining the sleek design that Apple has become known for. All told, Cupertino has done an excellent job of bringing its AIOs up to date. We’ll have more once we’ve reviewed the new models.