When Will Mac Desktops Get Some Apple Love?


Laptops got a lot of love from Apple (NAS: AAPL) yesterday. But then again, if I were a Mac maker and notebooks comprised 72% of Mac unit sales over the past four quarters, I'd focus there, too. That's a decade-long trend that isn't likely to change anytime soon, either.

The company updated its entire notebook lineup while introducing an entirely new model of MacBook Pro featuring a lustworthy Retina display for the first time ever on a Mac. The rest of the families just got incremental spec bumps while retaining familiar form factors.

Heading into the event, there were rumors that Apple would also include its desktops in the refresh, but there was little to no news to report on that front. Apple quietly upgraded the Intel (NAS: INTC) processors inside its Mac Pro, while the iMac was left out altogether.


Current iMac (2011) lineup. Source: Apple.

The New York Times says these product families are probably set for a major redesign next year and new models might be released in 2013. With the introduction of a Retina display on a Mac, you can obviously expect that feature to creep throughout the rest of Apple's Mac lineup, although the biggest constraint will be the displays themselves.

Assuming that Apple sticks with its practice of doubling pixel resolutions as it's done with every Retina display so far, that would put a 27-inch iMac's resolution at 5120 x 2880, or more than 14.7 million pixels. That's absurd.




1080p HDTV

1920 x 1080


MacBook Pro with Retina display

2880 x 1800


21.5-inch iMac with Retina display

3840 x 2160 (estimated)

8,294,400 (estimated)

27-inch iMac with Retina display

5120 x 2880 (estimated)

14,745,600 (estimated)

That's more than seven times as many pixels in a standard 1080p HDTV, and almost three times as many in the new MacBook Pro. Overkill would be an understatement, but this is where the industry is headed. Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) is building high-resolution support into Windows 8, and Intel's chips (the same ones found in the new Macbook Pro) are ready to heed the call of Retina duty.

Beyond displays, I'd also expect the new desktops to carry NVIDIA's (NAS: NVDA) latest Kepler graphics chips, as Apple has now officially begun to transition away from Advanced Micro Devices (NYS: AMD) as expected, after AMD won the spot two years ago.

Sorry, Mac desktop users. You're going to have to wait a little while longer.

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At the time thisarticle was published Fool contributorEvan Niuowns shares of Apple, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out hisholdings and a short bio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Microsoft, Apple, and Intel.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended buying shares of Microsoft, Apple, NVIDIA, and Intel and creating bull call spread positions in Microsoft and Apple.Motley Fool newsletter serviceshave recommended writing puts on NVIDIA. The Motley Fool has adisclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe thatconsidering a diverse range of insightsmakes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter servicesfree for 30 days.

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