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.