26 Jun

Rumors circulating that Apple is developing smaller 4k 21.5in Retina iMac

Apple Retina iMacApple recently released a new OS X El Capitan beta for developers. The feature-light edition won’t be released in its full edition until the fall, and tech-geeks have already begun scouring the source code for clues to up and coming Mac creations. What they’ve found could excite iMac fans, as it appears the company may be working on the development of a smaller, 4k 21.5in Retina iMac.

Apple released a 5k 27in Retina iMac last year, and for those who can afford the high-end technology, which hit the shelves in the US with a $2,499 price tag, it was a great success. A smaller 21.5in version of the iMac was also released for low-end consumers, retailing for $1,100-$1,300, but in order to keep the cost low, it failed to incorporate the high-resolution Retina technology.

Now, after finding several clues in the source code of OS X El Capitan, some say the addition of a 4k 21.5in Retina iMac is imminent.

The beta release of the new Mac operating system references support for a new resolution, labeled “4906 x 2304 Retina”. The larger 27in 5k resolution model is “5120 x 2880 Retina”. And since there is currently no Retina iMac that supports the referenced 4k resolution, many assume it’s safe to say that Apple is developing the system as we speak.

Further backing the theory, the source code also indicates the new Broadwell integrated-graphics processor, “Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200”, which was released earlier this month. Four new “AMD Radeon R9” processors (M380, M390, M395 and M395X) were referenced as well.

According to 9to5Mac, the AMD Radeon processors could indicates upgrades for the current 21.5in iMac, while the Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 “would be a perfect fit for powering” a new 4k Retina iMac.

When Might the 4k 21.5in Retina iMac Arrive?

According to Tyler Lee, tech writer for UberGizimo.com, Apple is likely to expose the new iMac—assuming it does exist—before the year is out.

“No word on when Apple plans on unveiling these new computers,” wrote Lee. “But chances are we might get to hear about them in the later part of the year during Apple’s iPad event, which is also when the company announces new computer refreshes like they did last year.”

Lee pointed out that, “Apple hasn’t really done a huge refresh for the 21.5-inch iMac. In fact the last time we saw an iMac “refresh” was when Apple lowered the price of the 5K iMacs and introduced a lower-end model for customers who might not have been able to afford the higher-end models.

“We can only assume that the 21.5-inch models would be even more affordable,” said Lee, clarifying that, “this is just speculation for now.”

Apple introduced the larger 27in 5k Retina iMac in October of 2014, at the same time the iPad Air 2 was unveiled. In June of this year, Apple’s most recent event offered a preview of the OS X El Capitan. No other events are currently scheduled, but the company has held multiple events every September and October for the past few years to announce enhancements to its iPad and Mac computer line-up.