Apple releases new 27-inch iMac with better spec and new HD webcam

New camera features come amid sustained criticism of how Apple's webcam makes them look in lockdown Zoom calls

Andrew Griffin
Tuesday 04 August 2020 17:10
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Apple CEO Tim Cook looks at the new 27 inch iMac with 5K retina display during an Apple special event on October 16, 2014 in Cupertino, California
Apple CEO Tim Cook looks at the new 27 inch iMac with 5K retina display during an Apple special event on October 16, 2014 in Cupertino, California

Apple has released an update for its 27-inch iMac.

The new computer is “by far the most powerful and capable iMac ever”, Apple claimed, pointing to a range of spec updates.

But perhaps the most surprising is the addition of a new 1080p HD camera. The webcams in Apple’s computers have received sustained criticism in recent times, particularly as video calls in lockdown have revealed the low quality of the cameras found in even its more expensive Macs.

In addition to the extra resolution, Apple said that the new computer will use the T2 security chip to process and improve the image that comes through the webcam. That will allow for "tone mapping, exposure control, and face detection for a much higher quality camera experience", Apple said.

In addition to the new camera, Apple has added new and better Intel processors, doubled the memory capacity, new graphics processors and better mics and speakers.

Notably, the computer still uses Intels chips rather than its own. Apple has promised that its computers will move over to its own chips, with computers using that architecture available by the end of the year, but also said when it announced that change that it would release new Intel computers as well.

It also brings a new nano-textured glass option for the display. A version of that technology is already found in Apple’s Pro Display XDR, and allows the screen to avoid reflection and glare for a better view.

Apple did not make reference to ongoing lockdowns in its announcement of the new webcam or the Mac more generally. But did note that its customers were relying particularly heavily on their computers at the moment.

“Now more than ever, our customers are relying on the Mac. And many of them need the most powerful and capable iMac we’ve ever made,” said Tom Boger, Apple’s senior director of Mac and iPad product marketing, in a statement.

“With blazing performance, double the memory, SSDs across the line with quadruple the storage, an even more stunning Retina 5K display, a better camera, higher fidelity speakers, and studio-quality mics, the 27-inch iMac is loaded with new features at the same price. It’s the ultimate desktop, to work, create, and communicate.”

In addition to the changes to the larger iMac, Apple will also update the 21.5 iMac and the iMac Pro. The smaller computers will now get SSDs across the line, and the iMac Pro now comes with a better processor.

The 27-inch computer starts at £1,799, the smaller iMac costs £1,099 and the iMac Pro costs £4,999. They are all available to order now.

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