Rumor: New iMac in October with "Retina" display

By on July 3, 2012, 5:30 PM

Will the next generation iMac hit shelves in October? Even more intriguingly, will it sport a Retina display? This is what Digitimes, purveyor of rumors peddled by global supply chain factories, is suggesting. Digitimes' sources -- mostly Chinese companies involved in Apple's upstream supply chain -- are claiming they will begin production of the company's next iMac offering this month, making an October-ish launch seem most likely.

More interesting than just news of an upcoming iMac though, are claims that a Retina screen could find its way to some of these iMacs.

"Retina" is the label used by Apple to identify its ultra high-resolution screens sporting at least double the pixels per inch of standard panel offerings -- a pixel density where human eyes have difficulty discerning individual pixels. Currently, the iPhone 4, 4S, iPad (third generation) and Macbook Pro with Retina Display are the only products offered by Apple which house such screens.

There have been many rumors of high pixel density displays from others companies too, including Acer and Asus, but we've yet to see those rumors materialize. One reason for this may be the prohibitively high cost of displays with enormous pixel densities. 

iSuppli, an industry analyst who performs product teardowns in order to determine their total BOM (bill of materials) cost, has said Apple spends around $68 per LCD panel on its Macbooks -- the non-Retina kind, that is. A senior analyst from NPD DisplaySearch believes Apple is spending about a $100 more per unit for Retina-quality panels. That's a substantial bump in price for PC makers who often operate on thin margins but remains hardly an issue for Apple consumers expect a price premium.

With Apple taking the plunge on high PPI panels, it is likely we'll see prices on these screens tumble as other companies follow suit.




User Comments: 17

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Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Laptops are one thing, but I really don't understand the need for higher pixel density displays on desktops. I actually did a test, and, at the distance I sit away from my primary monitor, which is 21.5", 1920x1080, the effective pixel density is about the same as a retina macbook pro would be if it was sitting on my lap. Sitting at a comfortable distance from my desktop monitor, I cannot distinguish between pixels, and I have fairly good vision. What's the point of pixels my eyes won't even be able to pick up?

Camikazi said:

Laptops are one thing, but I really don't understand the need for higher pixel density displays on desktops. I actually did a test, and, at the distance I sit away from my primary monitor, which is 21.5", 1920x1080, the effective pixel density is about the same as a retina macbook pro would be if it was sitting on my lap. Sitting at a comfortable distance from my desktop monitor, I cannot distinguish between pixels, and I have fairly good vision. What's the point of pixels my eyes won't even be able to pick up?

More desktop real estate, more open programs and windows without having to tile them.

Guest said:

Technochicken seriously needs to have his eyes checked if he can't tell the difference between a retina display and a regular monitor and I mean SERIOUSLY needs to have his eyes checked. It also boggles my mind how he can't see the benefits.

Guest said:

Guest, I think he's sitting 20 feet away from the monitor instead of the common distance of 2 feet and less. :D I agree, everyone with normal eye sight can clearly(!) see the individual pixels, especially when you look at text and even more if it's in italic. If he's happy with the outdated low pixel density, fine with me, but when I switch from my retina display to my regular desktop monitor, I'm shocked by the poor quality pixel density.

Guest said:

lol every time I see "the new ipad" in a store, I go up to it and get really close, hopping I can see the pixels, no luck yet =P

Coodu Coodu said:

No need for all the bashing on techno just to start.. everyone's entitled to an opinion.

I personally think you don't realize the difference in clarity until like Guest said, you switch from a regular device to a high-res.

I haven't had a chance to play with the new high res MacBook Pro's we have at work but I noticed a huge difference when I upgraded from iPhone 3G to the 4S.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

More desktop real estate, more open programs and windows without having to tile them.

If you've looked at the retina macbook pro, you'll see that that's not apple's goal with the retina display. They don't even let you set the desktop real estate to the panel's native 2880 x 1800. Using Windows on it would give you the extra screen space though.

Technochicken seriously needs to have his eyes checked if he can't tell the difference between a retina display and a regular monitor and I mean SERIOUSLY needs to have his eyes checked. It also boggles my mind how he can't see the benefits.

Guest, I think he's sitting 20 feet away from the monitor instead of the common distance of 2 feet and less. I agree, everyone with normal eye sight can clearly(!) see the individual pixels, especially when you look at text and even more if it's in italic. If he's happy with the outdated low pixel density, fine with me, but when I switch from my retina display to my regular desktop monitor, I'm shocked by the poor quality pixel density.

Clearly you did not read what I wrote properly. At the same distance away from you, yes, there will be a huge difference. However, if you are using a laptop, I don't know, maybe on your lap, then the screen is more like 1-2' away from your face, compared with 2.75' for my desktop monitor.

Okay, math time. Say you had a desktop monitor that had the same resolution as the retina macbook pro - 2880 x 1800. If that monitor had the same physical pixel density as a standard 1080p 21.5" monitor, it would be 28.1 inches wide (horizontally, not diagonally)(the 21.5" monitor is 18.74 inches wide: (18.74in x 2880px)/1920px = 28.1in.).

Now, the macbook pro retina's screen is 13.2 in (1.1 ft) wide - (15.6/sqrt(16^2 + 10^2)) x 16 = 13.2. For a screen 13.2 inches wide to fill the same amount of your field of view as a screen 18.1 inches (2.34 feet) wide would at 2.75 feet away from you, the 13.2 inch screen would have to be 1.25 feet away from you. The ratio of distance away from you to screen width is constant, so the distance of the 13.2 inch screen must be 1.1/2.34 x 2.75, which equals 1.25 feet.

Therefore, if one uses the retina macbook pro with the screen 1.25 feet away from you, which is a completely reasonable distance, the effective pixel density would be exactly the same as the effective pixel density of a 21.5" 1080p monitor at 2.75 feet. According to Apple, retina just means that at a normal usage distance, pixels are indistinguishable. If the screen on a retina macbook pro meets this criteria at 1.25 feet, than any old 21.5" 1080p monitor would meet the same criteria at 2.75 feet. Which is exactly what I said the first time around, but with way more words. Plus a diagram.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Technochicken, that is the greatest Diagram I have ever seen

Guest said:

More pixels eh? Yawn!

Guest said:

It all depends on the size of the pixels - they aren't an SI unit of area, they are an abbreviation of picture elements, can be any size (smaller than the screen would be good of course).

Miguel said:

I wish more people would understand this, sigh

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Great diagram Technochicken, nothing like showing up the guests with a bit of geometry eh

I seriously hope this brings down the cost of monitors with higher than 1080p resolution, there's been pretty much no competition to force down prices of the Dell U3011, Apple 30in Cinema, etc.

Camikazi said:

More desktop real estate, more open programs and windows without having to tile them.

If you've looked at the retina macbook pro, you'll see that that's not apple's goal with the retina display. They don't even let you set the desktop real estate to the panel's native 2880 x 1800. Using Windows on it would give you the extra screen space though.

Never said the Mac would have more desktop space, you said you don't see the use of higher pixel density displays in desktops and I told you what the use is. I haven't used the new Mac Pro but I do know what a high-res display is useful for since I have used those.

Uvindu said:

Currently, the iPhone 4, 4S, iPad (third generation) and Macbook Pro with Retina Display are the only products offered by Apple which house such screens.

You forgot about the iPod Touch 4th Generation. I just Happen to have one, that's why I noticed

RetinaMath RetinaMath said:

More desktop real estate, more open programs and windows without having to tile them.

...

Please look into "angular resolution", limits of human vision related to angular resolution. What you're saying is not true.

Technochicken Technochicken, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Angular pixel size on an LCD would be measured in minutes of arc per pixel.

The best way to evaluate the perceived image quality from the user point of view is, in my opinion, to use the angular resolution

The evaluation of resolutions that follows takes into account two important factors:

* The raw horizontal and vertical resolution of the internal display system (LCD or CRT) in pixel units

* The horizontally covered field of view (FOV) in degrees

The resolution is measured in terms of minutes of arc per pixel, which includes these two factors.

Source

In my example, both the raw horizontal and vertical resolutions of the two compared displays are the same, and both the horizontal fields of view are the same. The angular pixel densities, therefore are the same as well. I don't see how my previous post was wrong. Actually, reading about angular resolution simply seems to corroborate what I said before.

RetinaMath RetinaMath said:

Have you read any studies about limits of human vision / acuity related to angular resolution of image being viewed?

Limit for average guy is ~200 pixels per degree. Apple classifies its "Retina" display as: apparent size of pixel at normal viewing distance = 1 arcminute. That translates to angular resolution of 60 pixels per degree.

60 vs 200.

Sorry if I'm being brief. I've spend hours typing about same things on other websites, it gets boring typing it all over every time.

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