Watching an Apple Keynote is always kinda fun but in recent years it has been more like ticking off the list of rumours that have been circulating around the internet in the proceedings weeks.
If we are honest we tuned into this year’s one with a little bit of indifference, confident in the fact that we could pretty much predict the agenda. There would be the obligatory story about a 10-year app developer who is changing the world one app at a time, which would lead into various OS and iOS updates, then refreshes to the MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air lines, new iPad Pros and a device to rival Amazon’s Echo.
Everything was running according to plan, when, out of the blue, Apple announced changes to the iMac. Regular readers will know that the iMac is our favourite Mac and our number one leased Mac, so any changes here are a big deal. What made this great is that nobody had called this one. We didn’t see a single rumour that suggested a new iMac was going to be announced at WWDC.
Suddenly this WWDC had an air of excitement about it. It would be wrong to say that Apple launched a brand new iMac design, but for a product line to be refreshed without anybody writing a rumour about it was really refreshing.
So, as you have guessed, the iMac still looks and feels the same. You still get 21.5” and 27” options, but the internal changes have meant that the iMac has been bought into 2017. So what has changed? For a start, the iMac now has Intel’s Kaby Lake CPUs. Fusion drives, which combine solid state and spinning hard disk storage, are now standard on 27” iMacs whilst the 21.5” models get a combination of Fusion drives or standard Hard Drives. SSD drives are available across both models.
We have also seen a big increase in the amount of RAM that both models can take. At the top end of the range, the 21.5” model can accommodate 32GB RAM, while its bigger brother can be specified with 64GB.
The 27” iMac still has a 5K display, which Apple states is now 43-percent brighter and hits 500 nits. With 10-bit dithering, which allows for a greater number of shades of each primary colour, the screen can now display 1 billion colours (just not all at once). The 4K Retina Display on the 21.5” iMac also benefits from these improvements.
What will really please a lot of our customers is that there has been a significant improvement to the graphics capability of the machines. The top of the range 27” iMac now boasts a Radeon Pro 580 graphics card with 8GB as standard.
A small gesture, but one that will be well received was that Apple also launched the Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad. A wireless keyboard with the numbers on the side will be welcomed by those customers for whom data entry is a priority.
The news on the iMac didn’t stop there, however. Apple also teased the $4999 iMac Pro. Shown in “bad ass” Space Grey this is a Mac for the serious pro user. You will be able to specify this bad boy with 18 cores of processing power, 128GB RAM, 4TB SSD, Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics processor with 16GB HBM2 memory.
This monster will not be unleashed until December, but it along with the promise that Apple is working on a new Mac Pro it does show that Apple is focusing on its pro users once again. What was really good is that all of these improvements came without any price increases.
After all of this, the changes were made to the portable Macs too, bringing the Kaby Lake processors and improved graphics across the range. We also got a refreshed iPad Pro 12.9” and the new 10.5” models. Apple also introduced HomePod which will launch in December and will take on the challenge thrown down by Amazon’s Echo.
All in all, the keynote lasted 2 hours. It was hard to keep up with all of the announcements and changes that Apple made, and we loved it. It reminded us of how things used to be. A time when Apple could surprise you and make you want to have a product simply because it looked cool. Next time a keynote comes around we won’t be so indifferent, and hope to be pleasantly surprised again!