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Apple Introduces New iMacs and 13 Inch Macbook Pro with Retina Display 'For the Pro in All of Us'

10.23.12 @ 5:57PM Tags : , , , ,

Apple announced a new and faster iPad today (less than eight months after the new Retina iPad), along with an entirely new product line, the iPad mini. For most filmmakers though, that’s an appetizer to the main course — which happens to be brand new computers, including a new Mac mini, a 13″ Macbook Pro with a Retina display, and new (incredibly thin — pictured left) 21″ and 27″ iMacs. We didn’t get a Retina iMac like many were hoping for (or a new Mac Pro for that matter), but the fact that they squeezed an entire computer inside such a thin housing is a remarkable feat. Click through for the rest of the details.

Since it was a pretty big day, here is a rundown of what was released and when it’s going to be available:


  • iPad — faster with Lightning port | $500 and up for Wifi, $630 and up for LTE | Both versions available in November
  • iPad mini — with 7.9″ 1024 x 768 display | $330 and up | Available in November
  • Mac Mini – Dual 2.5 Ghz or Quad Core 2.3 Ghz Ivy Bridge Processor | $600 and up | Shipping Now
  • 13″ Macbook Pro – Retina display - 2560 x 1600 | $1,700 and up | Shipping Now
  • 21″ iMac — 1920 x 1080 display | $1300 and up | Ships in November
  • 27″ iMac – 2560 x 1440 display | $1800 and up | Ships in December

So they announced new iMacs — big deal, right? Well, it’s some of the less than obvious features that make the new offering interesting — besides removing the optical drive, and adding USB 3.0. They’ve also made NVIDIA GPUs the standard for these new iMacs, so you should be able to take better advantage of CUDA acceleration in Adobe programs like Premiere and After Effects.

One of big breakthroughs is a brand new screen that is supposedly less reflective — which I’m sure will make many folks happy. Here’s a little bit about that screen:

The new iMac display is not set behind the cover glass — it’s right up against it. The LCD itself is 5 mm thinner than before, and we used an advanced process called full lamination to eliminate a 2-mm gap between the LCD and the glass, something that has never been done on a display this large. Although it may not seem like much, those few millimeters are enough to make images look as if they’re leaping off the glass. Full lamination has a second major benefit: It eliminates the reflection of light off the LCD panel and off the back of the display’s cover glass. But we also figured out how to reduce reflection off the front of the glass without compromising color quality. Instead of applying an antireflective coating to the glass in a conventional way, we adapted a process used on smaller surfaces like camera lenses and fighter pilots’ helmets. It’s called plasma deposition, and it involves coating the glass with layers of silicon dioxide and niobium pentoxide so precise and so thin they’re measured in atoms. The result: an astounding 75 percent reduction in reflectivity — and vibrant, accurate colors.

OK, so some of that is marketing speak, but the one thing you can say about Apple is they are always doing something groundbreaking related to making screens fit into thinner housings. Another interesting tidbit they mentioned, is that each display is being put through its own extensive color correction test before shipping, ensuring that the displays are all individually calibrated. That might not seem like a big deal, but Apple has always delivered stunning color performance, and this will most likely remove any inconsistencies.

Apple is also introducing new hybrid drives into the iMacs and the Mac Mini. They take an SSD and a traditional spinning drive and fuse them together for better performance, which they’ve aptly named Fusion Drives. This technology is not new, but it’s certainly new for Apple and OSX, and it will give you all the benefits of having a fast SSD drive (faster load times and a speedier workflow overall) but without sacrificing on total space. They are offering configurations that go all the way to 3TB with these Fusion Drives, so you won’t have to choose between speed or space — you can have both.

The new 13″ Macbook Pro interestingly enough has a similar resolution as the 15″ computer, 2560 x 1600 vs. 2880 x 1800. Obviously not all programs are Retina-capable yet, but it definitely makes the case for high resolution films above 1080p. If 2K and above screens become commonplace, why not release your film in multiple higher-res versions similar to Tom Lowe’s Timescapes? They’ve also added USB 3.0 to this computer as well as the rest of the product lines, including the Mac Mini. It’s a relief that Apple has decided to support both Thunderbolt and USB 3, as there have been far more devices (namely external hard drives) made for the USB 3 spec.

Apple still has not delivered a new Mac Pro, but as Tim Cook said, we will probably see a new one in 2013. How about Retina iMacs? There’s a good chance that Apple has not been able to get the price down on the screens for those, but when they do, it’s likely we will be seeing a 4K or 5K screen. That would surely be a must-buy for a lot of RED owners, actually being able to see their footage on a native or close-to-native screen for only a few thousand dollars. Only time will tell though, we’ll just have to wait until 2013 to find out.

You can read more about the announcements and pre-order or order these products by going to the Apple website.

What do you guys think? Which announcements are you interested in? What do you think about the new iMacs?

Link: Apple — Website

COMMENT POLICY

We’re all here for the same reason: to better ourselves as writers, directors, cinematographers, producers, photographers... whatever our creative pursuit. Criticism is valuable as long as it is constructive, but personal attacks are grounds for deletion; you don't have to agree with us to learn something. We’re all here to help each other, so thank you for adding to the conversation!

Description image 85 COMMENTS

  • john jeffreys on 10.23.12 @ 6:05PM

    JOE YOU ARE MISSING THE BIG APPLE FILMMAKING NEWS TODAY, BROSEPH

    FCP X GETS NATIVE RED SUPPORT

    NATVE

    RED

    SUPPORT

  • I think the important question on the iMac for us is do the video cards in there offer CUDA acceleration that’s good enough for our post needs. If so, how much value would the Mac Pro be in a file-based native workflow?

  • All the new iMacs use NVIDIA graphics cards also! Great news for us Adobe CS6 editors and Motion Graphics artists!

    • Yes!!! That’s great indeed for us CS6 editors…

      • trackofalljades on 10.23.12 @ 8:40PM

        I’m confused, I thought one of the big changes with CS6 was that Mercury was supported on Open CL, and not just CUDA…as in a lot more Mac models would be able to edit better? Not the case? Where did I read that…

        • That might be true. But NVIDIA Cuda will still run faster then OPEN CL, that’s why people are stoked about Nvidia cards showing up

  • I’m pretty intrested in the new iMacs. I know that better aesthetics do not increase performance but this thin design is really astonishing! Nothing to say specwise, I’m sure they’ll perform seamlessly.

  • What about the new imac Nvidia gtx cards are they better for cs6due to cuda support?

  • I think the new imac at full it,s better deal than the actual Macpro.

  • I’ll probably get an iMac but what do you think of HP’s computers like the Z620?

    • Yeah I cant figure out if I wanna stick with Mac (All my software is for mac e.g. AE & C4D, although there are options for switching) or if I should buy a real workstation from hp or dell. I guess I would be getting more power for the money, right?

      • David J. Fulde on 10.24.12 @ 12:45AM

        nofilmschool DOES have a great resource for building a hackintosh (Power/price of a PC but letting you run OSX)

  • I’m really souring on Apple. I’m reluctant to invest in much more of their tech since they’re blatantly heading down the path of making consumer based technology that is all dependent on an iTunes/AppStore hub, and which is gradually phasing out support for all competitor products.

    Not to mention to pure arrogance that’s oozing from their TV spots lately, only to be contradicted within the following 12 months, if not 12 weeks. Look at the recent iPhone 5 ads, which boast “who needs a screen bigger than this? this is just common sense”. 6 weeks later, they release the iPad Mini.

    But, who’s gonna call the biggest, most successful business of today out?

    Viva la Hackintosh!

  • What a lot of people might want to know is, could you use the 27″ iMac to work with native RAW from the Black Magic Cinema Camera – is it going to cut the mustard there?
    Because if it does, that combination would be, financially speaking, very attractive.

    • Nygel bissel on 10.24.12 @ 12:50AM

      You are absolutely right … IPad mini today after Steve job publicly talk shit about the kindle ….

  • JkMorganChase on 10.23.12 @ 6:37PM

    APPLE is a joke, and the company is really comical these days. What interesting to me is the push for a better higher resolution screen when they dont even include blu ray bays/drives in their technolgy. The company will find every excuse or walk around answer for not including the technology. This is the same company that took two years to include copy and past in the ios moble platform.

    • Blu-ray? Who the hell cares about physical formats anymore? If you really want it, buy an external drive.

  • I’m increasingly questioning what the best computing set up is these days. I’m committed to the Apple ecosystem and have an 8-core MacPro (2008) which, while still adequate, is showing it’s age particularly in light of things like Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, HDMI, and flash.

    Given the refreshes announced today, what are people’s thoughts about the best Apple set up for those of us without huge financial resources? Is it the new iMac? Is it the MacMini with lots of externals? Is it a MacBook Pro with an external monitor and peripherals?

    It seems like NoFilmSchool.com is a good forum for this kind of discussion.

    • Unfortunately, Apple keeps making this tougher and tougher with every round of updates. There’s no clear answer, really, as each model has huge pros and cons in terms of editing. And meanwhile, speaking of Pros, the Mac Pro remains completely neglected for yet another product cycle. I’m not into the whole Hackintosh thing when it comes to professional work, so that’s not an option either.

      I’d say Apple has about another year left before it needs to release a product targeted directly at the pro market, otherwise video editors will really have to consider PCs again.

      • I’m not terribly tech savvy when it comes to computers, but what kind of power can you get from networking a few mac minis in comparison to one MacPro tower? Obviously you’d need some kind of workaround to make up for the lack of high end graphics cards, but shouldn’t the divided workload make up for the shortfall in pure grunt? Or are the transfer speeds on thunderbolt still not fast enough?

        I’ve heard of people running an offline/online set up like that, working off proxys on one system and doing the final render shared over a few smaller computers, but I don’t know enough to know whether that’s an effective solution, or just a cheap workaround.

        • trackofalljades on 10.23.12 @ 8:47PM

          The answer to a question like this is completely dependent on the exact specifics of a use case. Some application and needs can be handled very well through parallel/grid computing, others would experience no speed increase whatsoever…also you need to consider how much power you’re using (buying a bunch of old G5 machines is cheap and they have a lot of FLOPS, but how much do they cost to air condition and operate…ah right that’s why they’re cheap).

      • JkMorganChase on 10.23.12 @ 10:45PM

        agree especially considering the fact that CS6 has unlimited multi cam features that are only limited by hardware, Macs are really getting long in tooth and while screen resolution is “nice and all”, at the end of the day regular hd is suffiecient enough to edit on. Retina displays on just a decent computer is like trying to turn a “eye candy” only beautiful woman who has no skills other than looking beautiful and trying to turn her into a house wife, it just doesnt work in the long haul and you end up spending more money making up for lesser situation.

  • I’ve switched back to a PC after 10 years on MAC (FCP 7). Signed up to Adobe Cloud and have all the apps on both my editing PC (Windows 7) and MacBook Air.

    Got an i7 3.4 with dedicated graphics card, lots of RAM, memory etc. for $700.

    Apple was just too expensive to get a really fast machine……and Premiere Pro works great on Windows with the DSLR & RED footage that I use.

    • Finally some sense.
      We use Premiere, After Effects, Avid and FCP7. We make a lot of the tv and movies you watch. Nothing announced today, re hardware or software makes Apple compelling for enterprise or for the single professional user. I understand people are using FCPX, I’ve recommended it to some, but it literally doesn’t exist in the current pro environment. A couple of iterations on, when we’re all shooting RAW for 4K broadcast, who knows.

      • FCPX is for at-home-hobbyists. All the pros use Avid or Premiere. Avid have been in poor financial health for a while, so no point in spending time learning Media Composer if its future is in question. Abobe Anywhere (coming in 2013) is going to create a whole new career field for remote editors, and become the new driver in client collaboration.

      • Dude…you should list exact specs on machines, software, etc., you guys use to create those projects: movies, tv shows. I’m directing-editng my first low bud indie feature since film school and am trying to get a solid list together of all needed for post. Thx.

  • I’ve been waiting for a new cinema display that I hoped was coming out today. Now what to do? I imagine it will be along the lines of the new iMac so definitely worth waiting for…anybody have any ideas? Nothing over at Mac Rumors.

  • trackofalljades on 10.23.12 @ 8:50PM

    I’m very interested by the newly retina-equipped 13″ notebook, but I’m concerned about the same thing that concerns me about the other 13″ model, no switching video. If there’s no NVIDIA chipset on board to kick into “high gear” when editing, just how frustrating (or not) will those Intel 4000 graphics be? FCP X is one thing, but what if you want to use Premiere Pro CS6 or other CS6 applications that involve the Mercury Playback Engine?

    I read somewhere (it’s driving me nuts, digging through browser history now) that the inclusion of OpenCL in addition to CUDA support in CS6 was going to expand the pool of Mac hardware that can most effectively be used with Adobe applications…but the source was thin on details. Is gaining all those extra pixels in a smaller notebook really that much of a dream if you can’t get Mercury acceleration? Someone who’s more familiar with all this, please let me know!

    • I also am interested in upgrading my 13″ Macbook to one of the Retina display models, but it appears Apple is protecting models higher in their lineup by only offering Intel HD 4000 graphics on all of the 13″ Macbook. Apparently, Apple doesn’t think 1700 USD is enough to get you a laptop with a dedicated graphics card so you need to step up to one of the 15″ models starting at $1800.

  • good thing some of us got a hackintosh no thank to koo :D

  • FCPX now supports R3D natively

  • Who owns 13″ MBP for editing work? I was considering purchasing one of these for basic REDiting, but I’ve seen over on reduser that there are complaints of REDcine being to small for even 15″ MBPs.

    • john jeffreys on 10.23.12 @ 9:39PM

      the regular 13″ is kinda cramped…most of my friends have one but they are not filmmakers, just like artists in general and stuff. It’s nice for viewing dailies and stuff, but yeah, the screen is barely over 720p. The retina sounds interesting for mobile editing though

    • 13″ is basically impossibly tight for video editing. I have a 15″ hi-res @ 1680 x 1050 (not retina), which is the smallest resolution I feel comfortable using as a primary editing display. The 13″ Retina seems like an interesting choice, although I worry about the integrated graphics.

      • I have a 13″ 2010 MBP and I agree it’s just a little too tight for NLE programs. Using external monitors is my solution, but then that kind of makes the whole ‘shoot anywhere, edit anywhere’ appeal of the macbook a bit moot.

  • I would say that even the latest 13″ Retina would be pushing it for RED, dual processors and only 8GB or RAM is probably not enough. Thinking of upgrading myself as I’m starting to get a lot more projects where we have the option to shoot RAW and R3D, I do cherish portability, but it looks to me like the new iMac might be a more sensible option (for those not made of money).

    • I know what you mean – I just at least want a way to travel light when I have to shoot somewhere for a week – my 2006 MBP can’t comprehend 1080p footage, and lugging my iMac around would be insane! Maybe the refurbished 17″ or even the newer, non-retina 15″ will do for basic editing work and dumping.

      • trackofalljades on 10.24.12 @ 10:34AM

        Any of the last few 15″ models would make a far better choice for video editing and similar use cases because, as far as I know, none of the 13″ models (including these brand new ones) have switching video. The larger models have more room for a second, hotter GPU and the extra battery capacity it demands so they can shift back and forth between NVIDIA and Intel chipsets. The smaller ones are Intel only (not so hot, in both meanings of the phrase).

  • Why can I not find any mention anywhere on line of the processors in the IMAC? Is the i7 IVY BRIDGE?
    How good is it in actual numbers compared to Sandy Bridge? You think there will be a 6 core processor set in iMAC someday?

  • I was looking into building Koo’s Hac Pro for a new editing/color grading workstation, but was waiting to see what the new iMac line would offer. I’m a little hesitant about building a hackintosh, but at the same time i’d like to build something powerful enough to work with 4k footage. Does anyone have any suggestions?

    • I think it depends on how these nVidia GPUs in the iMacs benchmark. Yes, they’re nVidia which is great for CUDA and other visual work, but they are the MOBILE version of nVidia cards — primarily designed for laptops. The 680MX looks like no slouch; two Thunderbolt ports gives you the ability to expand externally to a certain extent; and 32GB of RAM should be adequate for just about anything (though I’m sure it will come at a price premium compared to buying it yourself) — but if the base 27″ model with a Core i5 and 8GB of RAM starts at $2k, how much will a fully spec’d-out one run? If it’s $4k, at that point you’re in Mac Pro territory… and I hate the idea of having to throw out the monitor when you want to upgrade the computer.

      • Thanks Ryan. I’m gonna go with your hacintosh because I know it’s capable of handling what I need at a better price. Hopefully one day when I have a bigger budget Apple will have released a better MacPro!

      • David Harris on 10.25.12 @ 11:08PM

        Excuse my ignorance but can’t you just use an older imac as a second monitor to the new laptop you upgrade to?

  • YES. We have voiced our concerns, and Apple has finally been listening to what pro users really need – thinner desktops.

  • …it`s getting very easy to spot amateurs, these days, not only do they still use toys/apple but they seem to be proud about it…must`ve been the same type of proudness the old film editors had about their steenbecks or moviolas…

  • Maybe the marketing dept. should remove the fake glare from the image as well :)

  • Paul Abrahams on 10.24.12 @ 5:46AM

    They put cuda’s in there and hybrid SSD thingy’s? I am definitely getting a new imac.

  • $20 says that we can’t replace the RAM ourselves in the iMac.

  • Once again Apple does what they are best at: Saying that what they are doing is revolutionary and convincing lots of people to buy the ‘new thing’ again this year.

  • Correction: the iPad gained a Lightning connector (like the new iPhone 5), not a Thunderbolt port.

  • I’ll be getting one of these based on the fact that it has an NVIDIA PCIe 3.0 cuda card in it. It may not be the best card on the entire planet but it’s better than my current iMac which does not have an NVIDIA card in it. I’m not complaining too much about it. I just get it and keep working.

  • What is the best option today if you have around 3000 usd? a Mac Pro? an Imac? a built hackintosh? an Alienware Aurora or another PC?

  • Daniel Mimura on 11.1.12 @ 9:25PM

    A thinner iMac? Who cares? We don’t have to carry them in our backpacks or pockets.

    I’m actually a little worried about it b/c when thinner and smaller becomes so incredibly important to them, cooling and higher power gets sacrificed.

    The fusion drives and Nvidia chips look good though…