Apple and affordable 5K displays

“At $2,499, the former base high resolution iMac did offer, in addition to the marvelous 5K display, other enhancements over the regular iMac that included a faster processor, beefier graphics, and a 1TB Fusion Drive, the combo SSD/hard drive that offers close to the performance of a pure SSD,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “Subtracting the higher resolution display, it actually represented only a modest cost increase to get all those extra pixels.”

“Now Apple has essentially wiped out the difference. So a somewhat lower-end 27-inch Retina 5K iMac debuted this week for $1,999, same as the previous high-end model with the standard display,” Steinberg writes. “A notable change is the 3.3GHz Intel i5 processor, down from 3.4GHz on the previous standard resolution model, a very insignificant and slightly cheaper move. Apple also cut $200 from the price of the original 5K iMac. Together these moves essentially eliminate the price penalty, which makes this machine an even more impressive value.”

“Now to give you an example of just what this means, one of the lowest price third-party 5K displays is the HP Z27q, also a 27-inch model, which lists for $1,999 at the company’s site, although I’ve seen it advertised for $1,299 or even a little less,” Steinberg writes. “Apple is still selling an aging 27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display for $999. It addition to a panel that’s even older than the one on the regular 27-inch iMac, it’s saddled with USB 2.0 and the original Thunderbolt port. It represents a poor value, and I wonder why Apple continues to sell it. If Apple were to switch to 5K, and update to USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 2, and the newer MagSafe connector, I suppose it could be priced at $1,299, same as the HP counterpart. So where is it?”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The minute Apple unveils the 27-inch Retina 5K Thunderbolt Display, they’re going to get absolutely flooded with orders.

Related article:
Apple introduces 15-inch MacBook Pro with Force Touch trackpad and new $1,999 iMac with Retina 5K Display – May 19, 2015


      1. You’ll also have to pre-order a new computer that doesn’t exist yet. 5K requires DisplayPort 1.3 to run. And NO, the new MacBook doesn’t support it either. That Mac only does DP1.2 through USB-C.

        Incidentally, USB-C WILL be able to support 5K if all 4 lanes are used for video.

        1. Well, as part of the DisplayPort consortium, why isn’t Apple pushing the technology? It went to all the trouble to make a 5K resolution iMac and then did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to allow Mac Pro users to create high resolution video on Apple hardware. Not only are videographers ditching their old Thunderbolt displays, they are ditching their Mac Pros.

          Apple is mismanaging its Mac business badly. By now every Mac should have the option of at least a 4K display. No excuses.

          1. They are. DP1.3 supports 4k and even 8k eventually. It was released last Autumn. Apple can absolutely built DP1.3 support into new computers. However, at the same time, USB-C can support similar bandwidth when using 4 channels of data. Along with a USB 2 speed signal.

    1. They’re waiting for new computers that output DisplayPort 1.3. DP1.2 (All existing Macs) support MAX 4K.

      (The Dell 5K requires TWO DP1.2 ports to run it and can have problems with synchronization)

      1. Thanks. Well they better git crackin’! I have a 30″ Dell monitor along with a 24″ Cinema Display and wish Apple would use the 30″ size for their standalone monitors. I’m sure there are reasons why they don’t. 🙁

    2. Apple has been so slow in updating their Cinema Displays that it makes me wonder if they intend to drop that product. The ACDs were always pricy compared to the competition, but now they are both pricy and outdated.

      I am a strong supporter of Apple, but I have no problems in pointing out shortcomings when Apple drops the ball. This is one of those occasions.

  1. Have to share. I have a 17″ MBP that was having the dreaded video issue. Had Applecare, but it expired months ago. Took it into our new Apple Store. Fixed and returned in 48 hours! Absolutely Free, not to mention they replaced the Ram free also.
    That is the Apple that I know and love. So proud of that part of the company.
    I wish they would spin off the computer/display/server/pro software portions back into Apple Computer, operating as a sibling unit, just so all the love that professionals need isn’t given to the watches/pads/pods/iphones. Those are obviously the bread and butter, but the computer/software side is in need of more dedication and commitment.
    Many would love to see a 17″ Retina, a new rackmount server line with upgradeable insides (no hackintosh, and no pc envy), not to mention the aforementioned 5K Thunderbolt/USB-C/USB 3 displays!

    Now please don’t be a hater!

    1. Apple once did a $2400 free repair years ago on a 2005 G5 Mac Pro I had and that never had Apple Care. It had suffered a couple Logic board failures though and I had paid for 2 previous fixes so I guess Apple did the responsible thing and fixed it for free. That machine still works but stuck at Leopard, although it’s useful days are numbered (can’t stand the sound of those fans!). I will transition my old 2007 Intel Mac Pro as a second work station and buy a new Mac Pro OR an HP workstation depending (not that I am at all happy about that second possibility but VFX and video are demanding taskmasters and the current Mac Pro has some ground to make up and additional headroom to achieve – maybe at WWDC? Hope springs eternal.).

    2. I would love to have an even smaller Mac Pro with only 1 GPU card but a super fast connector to an extern GPU box so I could:

      – Use 4 or more GPUs with a Mac Pro
      – Use nVidia GPU cards (my customers use CUDA) with a Mac Pro
      – Use nVidia Tesla GPGPU cards for number crunching with a Mac Pro
      – Upgrade GPUs anytime without having to buy a whole new Mac Pro

      Until then my powerhouse machine has to run Windows (ouch) and doesn’t have the hardware/device reliability of a Mac (yuck).

      The Mac Pro is an incredibly nice device, but that one thing – GPU flexibility – completely handicaps it for many professionals, especially graphics, engineering and science professionals who Apple historically treated like gold. 🙁

    3. 2 MBP 15″ RD fully loaded, 2012. Both video issues. Both repaired under that late protocol. One was fixed, for free, the other was fixed AND got an new battery, both for free.
      That is what you expect from a company you buy 2 computers from that cost a lot of money!

  2. Well obv! Everyone’s been waiting to buy them since they slimmed the iMac. We at least want a slim display, and now we also want it in 5K. Nobody in their right mind has bought a Thunderbolt Display since 2012.

    1. Most people know they don’t really need 5K. The rest of the industry is pushing 4K resolution with ease — and they do it by simply upgrading their video cards inexpensively. Apple penalizes its users by refusing to offer new displays and also by making the GPUs in its newest Macs non-upgradeable.

      It’s LOOOOOONG past time that Apple offered 4K displays. Ideally, with USB-C & Thunderbolt and in 16:10 ratio so that we have room for a full 16:9 frame plus a visible toolbar.

      Apple really ought to offer displays in the same sizes as the iMac plus a 30″ size as well.

      What the hell has Apple been doing all this time?

  3. I’m starting to wonder if Apple wants to bother with the display market any longer. They certainly are half-hearted about it these days. Is this somehow related to the (never more than a rumor) decision to give up on an Apple TV integrated monitor? Did this lead Apple get sour on the whole display market?

    Anyway, it’s good that there are decent alternatives.

  4. If they are making enough displays that they can create a lower priced retina iMac then they can certainly produce standalone displays. I don’t understand what the delay is.

  5. I would not pay for the 5K display on the iMac only because Apple has yet to deal with the dust build up that happens inside the panel. This problem starts with what looks to be dirt in the corners of the flat panel display. The reason for this… the dust that build up after a few years is blown into the flat panel and you are reminded of the dirt overtime you are looking at the screen. Apple needs to address this problem… I have seen it on EVERY single iMac after 2 years.

    1. in the event people are not sure about what I am talking about… check this link out… as soon as you see it you will be like… DUDE!!!!… I have that same issue… FIX THIS ISSUE APPLE… Your supposed to be the best industrial designers on the planet

  6. Where are the i7 six cores, i7 eight cores. These are premium prices for slow processors. Discrete graphic chips, fast memory for the gpu. 5K, ok, nice, but until TV catches up…
    3.5, 4.0, 4.4… that’s a better direction. 1.5K – 2.2K, those are must buy prices.

  7. In microeconomic terms, Apple Marketing is quite expert at “maximizing demand curve utilization.” They will do their best to leave the high-margin 5K iMac on the market long enough to derive maximum benefit from the early adopters before introducing a monitor for everybody else. They will do it, but timing is essential. They’ve really honed this craft through years of experience with iPods, iPhones, iPads, Macs, and software.

  8. Absolutely agree to MDNs take. I would order 3 immediately!!!

    I find it absolutely ridiculous that the Thunderbolt display is about an inch thick while both the iMac with exactly the same resolution as the Thunderbolt display and the iMac 5K are about one third of that even though they come with a full Mac inside.

    The display is the most visible part of an Mac at home and I really do not want to spoil my home with some sort of Dull display when everything else is well designed. I do not understand why Apple is not addressing this problem.

    It is absolutely a shame that it takes Apple so long to come up with a proper display.

    1. You would only be able to run a 5K monitor that accepts two DisplayPort signals through two thunderbolt port and has a timing chip to synchronize the signals. Not impossible, but not elegant.

  9. The problem isn’t the display, it’s the throughput.

    The version of DisplayPort in Macs can NOT run a 5K monitor. Only 4K. DP1.3 was announced late fall 2014, but releasing a monitor that no Mac can run today would NOT be a good move.

    Apple does 5K in the iMac by merging two DisplayPort ports into one internally. That’s what they’re talking about, when they said they have a custom timing chip.

    Although there are SOME solutions that simply require two DisplayPort 1.2a ports to run, the problem is timing. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish.

    USB Type-C, incidentally, will have throughput to run a 5K monitor.

    I suspect that as they refresh Macs this year, they will all have USB-C and support DP 1.3. earliest I expect a 5K monitor is late this year… likely early 2016.

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