Newsletter Issue #784: The iMac 5K: Four Hours to Instant Gratification

December 8th, 2014

Let me put my cards on the table. With the first release of the MacBook Pro with Retina display, I was convinced it would be a terrific addition to Apple’s product portfolio if done right. The reviews and some hands-on exposure convinced me that Apple found a way to make me feel less sad about the decision to discontinue the 17-inch model. Surely the sharper display would compensate for having to examine content in a smaller space.

After all, I was already convinced that a Retina display worked on an iPhone, so mirroring that concept on a note-book computer didn’t surprise me. However, it wasn’t easy to scale up the display, pack a graphics chip powerful enough to move all those pixels, and make it at least somewhat affordable. But prices have come down over time. Today’s 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display starts at $1,299. The low-end 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display — low being relative — starts at $1,999. The latter is outfitted with 16GB of RAM, though the SSD drive is only 256GB. You really need twice that.

As high definition note-books go, those prices are actually quite competitive with PC hardware of similar specs, although Apple continues to possess the unfortunate reputation of charging an alleged “Apple Tax.” But when rumors arose of a Retina iMac in the works, I was skeptical. As a long-time user of a 27-inch iMac, I felt the display was quite sharp enough. But why did I always gravitate to my iPhone to read long passages of text?

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