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Posts tagged with "imac"

Apple Releases iMac Pro and Updates to Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor

As expected, Apple introduced of the iMac Pro today, and an update to its professional video-editing app, Final Cut Pro X. Companion video-editing apps Motion and Compressor received updates too.

Specifications of the new iMac Pro are in line with what was reported earlier this week. In its press release, Apple provides examples of the kind of performance increases that different professionals can expect:

iMac Pro takes Mac performance to a whole new level, even when compared to our fastest quad-core iMac.

  • 3D designers can visualize huge 3D models and render scenes up to 3.4 times faster.
  • Developers can run multiple virtual machines and test environments, and compile code up to 2.4 times faster.
  • Scientists and researchers can manipulate massive data sets and complex simulations, visualizing data up to 5 times faster.
  • Photographers can work with enormous files and perform image processing up to 4.1 times faster.
  • Music producers can bounce (export) massive multi-track projects up to 4.6 times faster and use up to 12.4 times as many real-time plug-ins.
  • Video editors can edit up to eight streams of 4K video, or edit 4.5K RED RAW video and 8K ProRes 4444 at full resolution in real time without rendering. The iMac Pro can also export HEVC video 3 times faster.

All that power comes at a substantial price. The iMac Pro starts at $4,999 but can be configured to over $13,000.

Apple also updated Final Cut Pro X, its professional video editing app for macOS. According to Apple:

new features including 360-degree VR video editing, advanced color grading tools and support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. Optimized to take full advantage of the incredible performance capabilities of the all-new iMac Pro, Final Cut Pro users can now edit full-resolution 8K video for the first time on a Mac. Apple is also extending 360-degree VR video support to Final Cut Pro companion apps, Motion and Compressor.

Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Apps Product Marketing said:

“With new features like 360-degree VR editing and motion graphics, advanced color grading and HDR support, Final Cut Pro gives video editors the tools to create stunning, next-generation content…. When combined with the performance of Mac hardware, including the all-new iMac Pro, Final Cut Pro provides an incredibly powerful post-production studio to millions of video editors around the world.”

The update to Final Cut Pro X lets editors create 360-degree video content and view those projects in real time using an HTC VIVE VR headset and SteamVR. Apple has also added professional color grading tools and supports popular HDR formats. Other features Apple touts include:

  • Easily import iMovie projects from iPhone and iPad into Final Cut Pro for advanced editing, audio work, motion graphics and color grading.
  • HEVC and HEIF support for importing and editing high efficiency video and photo formats from Apple devices.
  • Updated audio effects plug-ins from Logic Pro X with redesigned, resizable interfaces.
  • Faster, higher quality optical flow analysis built on Metal, Apple’s advanced graphics technology.

In addition to the update to Final Cut Pro X, Apple has updated Motion, which lets users create 360-degree VR titles and effects that are accessible from Final Cut Pro. Compressor has also been updated to let ‘users deliver 360-degree video with industry-standard spherical metadata.’

Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor are available on the Mac App Store as free updates to existing users. For new users, Final Cut Pro X is $299.99, Motion and Compressor are $49.99 each. Educational users can purchase the apps as a bundle for $199.99.


iMac Pro First Impressions Around the Web

The iMac Pro was debuted on Apple’s online store today, but won’t be available to purchase until December 14th. Over the past week, the company provided test hardware to a handful of photographers, videographers, an aerospace engineer, and programmers. Each seems to have been given an iMac Pro with a 10-core 3GHz processor, 128GB memory, 2TB SSD, and the Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics with 16GB memory. Although no one had time to put the machine through a thorough review, they each put the new iMac through a unique series of tests and real-world tasks to see how it performed.

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Apple Announces iMac Pro to Begin Shipping December 14th

Apple updated its website with news that the iMac Pro is shipping beginning on December 14, 2017. The pro-level iMac features a long list of impressive specifications. The desktop computer, which was announced in June at WWDC comes in 8, 10, and 18-core configurations, though the 18-core model will not ship until 2018. The new iMac can be configured with up to 128GB of RAM and can handle SSD storage of up to 4TB. Graphics are driven with the all-new Radeon Pro Vega, which Apple said offers three times the performance over other iMac GPUs.

The desktop, which Apple touts as a solution for video editing, virtual reality development, and other graphics and processor-intensive tasks was taken through its paces by Marques Brownlee on his YouTube channel:

According to Brownlee, the machine runs quiet and cool, but suffers from the inability to upgrade components, which is uncommon for a pro-level computer. Brownlee also notes that the iMac Pro worked well on Final Cut Pro X tasks that would typically choke another iMac.

Jonathan Morrison also got an opportunity to preview the iMac Pro, showing off his setup here:


How Aqua and Bondi Saved Apple

Stephen Hackett of 512 Pixels has published a book called Aqua and Bondi: The Road to OS X & The Computer That Saved Apple, a history of the critical role OS X and the iMac G3 played in Apple’s comeback from the brink of financial ruin in the late 90s. As Hackett explains in the introduction to the book,

OS X and the iMac’s stories are intertwined, but are often told separately. Apple’s strength is most obvious when its hardware and software are working in harmony, and that’s what was needed to save Apple in the late 1990s. Turns out, it worked.

Aqua and Bondi shares that story for those who haven’t read it before. It’s a consideration of Apple at a very interesting time in its life and the products it shipped.

I had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Aqua and Bondi and love it. Not only is the story of OS X and the iMac G3 told in a compelling and accessible way, but the book is full of fantastic photos drawn from numerous sources, including Hackett’s own collection of colorful iMacs.

Aqua and Bondi is available from the iBookstore and as a PDF from aquaandbondi.com for $3.99.


The Inside Story of Apple’s New iMacs

Steven Levy got access to Apple's Input Design Lab for today's iMac updates, and he published a story about the details Apple paid attention to when designing the new computers and accessories (make sure to read through the end). I liked this bit from Phil Schiller on Apple's lineup:

Schiller, in fact, has a grand philosophical theory of the Apple product line that puts all products on a continuum. Ideally, you should be using the smallest possible gadget to do as much as possible before going to the next largest gizmo in line.

“They are all computers,” he says. “Each one is offering computers something unique and each is made with a simple form that is pretty eternal. The job of the watch is to do more and more things on your wrist so that you don’t need to pick up your phone as often. The job of the phone is to do more and more things such that maybe you don’t need your iPad, and it should be always trying and striving to do that. The job of the iPad should be to be so powerful and capable that you never need a notebook. Like, Why do I need a notebook? I can add a keyboard! I can do all these things! The job of the notebook is to make it so you never need a desktop, right? It’s been doing this for a decade. So that leaves the poor desktop at the end of the line, What’s its job?”

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Apple Introduces 4K 21.5-inch iMac, Force Touch Magic Trackpad, and Refreshed 5K 27-inch iMac

Apple today introduced a new 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display, plus a new Magic Trackpad 2, Magic Mouse 2 and a Magic Keyboard. In addition, the existing iMac line was also refreshed, from the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display to the bottom of the line 21.5-inch iMac.

“From the first iMac to today, the spirit of iMac has never wavered — deliver the ultimate desktop experience with the latest technologies, gorgeous displays and cutting-edge designs,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “These are the most stunning iMacs we’ve ever made. With our gorgeous new Retina displays, more powerful processors and graphics and all-new Magic accessories, the new iMac continues to redefine the ultimate desktop experience.”

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Retina iMac Questions Answered

There's a lot to consider about Apple's new iMac with Retina 5K Display. Marco Arment has a comparison of the new iMac vs. the Mac Pro (on paper) – here's what he writes about 4K and 5K displays:

This difference is much bigger than it sounds. It’s the same, proportionally, as the difference between typical 21- to 24-inch and 27- to 30-inch monitors: “4K” computer monitors have 8.3 megapixels, while “5K” has 14.7 megapixels. Without software scaling to simulate higher density, the “right” size for a 4K monitor tops out at 24 inches, while a 5K monitor looks right at 27 to 30 inches.

It’s a huge difference.

Make sure to read the entire post as he makes some solid points with interesting technical observations.

Christina Bonnington also published a great FAQ on the new iMac at Wired, and I liked her explanation of why 5K is actually useful:

For most of us, a 5K display is just an extravagance, a high-end computing machine with specs that make our friends’ jaws drop. But for professionals in some industries, such a high pixel density is quite important.

For example, 5K resolution is great for those working on 4K content. “You can view all of the images at their true native 4K resolution, which is very important, and then have a fair amount of leftover screen space all around it for controls, icons, and even a generous 3.2-inch high text area at the bottom for commands and text input,” Displaymate’s Ray Soneira told WIRED. This actually ends up being better and more efficient than using a second monitor because you can keep your eyes on the images while working on them, instead of having to glance off to the side.

IHS Technology’s Rhoda Alexander points out that in addition to those in graphics-related fields like CAD and CG, healthcare imaging (like radiology) also has need for displays with a very high resolution.

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The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display

At Apple's media event yesterday, Apple unveiled a new high-end iMac that includes a Retina 5K display. Starting at US$2499 it includes the 5K display with a resolution of 5120x2880, a 3.5GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive and an AMD Radeon R9 M290X graphics processor with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. In every other respect, the iMac is identical to its non-Retina version, still tapering off to the sides with an edge of just 5mm.

“Thirty years after the first Mac changed the world, the new iMac with Retina 5K display running OS X Yosemite is the most insanely great Mac we have ever made,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “With a breathtaking 14.7 million pixel display, faster CPU and graphics, Fusion Drive, and Thunderbolt 2, it’s the most beautiful and powerful iMac ever.”

The Retina iMac can be further upgraded to a 4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 32GB of RAM a 3TB Fusion Drive or 1TB SSD and an AMD Radeon R9 M295X with 4GB of GDDR5 memory.

Apple's website explains the interesting technical features that allow the iMac to have a 5K display, including a custom timing controller, Oxide TFT and highly efficient LEDs. Because there are nearly 15 million pixels, Apple developed its own timing controller that has four times the bandwidth of the previous generation 27-inch iMac.  The Oxide thin film transistor (TFT) provides the electrical charge to each pixel and does so more precisely and quicker than other technologies - and is even more energy efficient. Apple have also used more efficient LEDs which has actually enabled them to power four times the number of pixels with 30 percent less power.

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