Apple releases new 27″ LED Cinema Display – comes with a free Mac

Today Apple released a new [27″ iMac]( with [impressive specs](, a unibody design and an impressive LED backlit display. Somewhat hidden in the announcement is a small but important feature – the DisplayPort connection on the back of the 27″ iMacs operates both as a jack for an external monitor and also as an input for an external computer if you want to use your 27″ iMac as a monitor.

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The 27″ iMac [starting at $1699] has the same modern LED screen as Apple’s [24″ LED Cinema Display]([$899] – noticably higher quality than Apple’s dated [30″ Cinema display]( [$1799]. It is of comparable size and weight, nearly the same resolution [2560×1440 vs 2560×1600] – $100 cheaper, and comes with a free Mac – namely a 3Ghz Core2 Duo with 4 Gigs of RAM and a 1TB hard drive in the base configuration.

**30″ Cinema display – $1799**               **27″ iMac – $1699**
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I’ve had Dell’s [3008WFP 30″ monitor]( [MSRP $1699] sitting on order for a few days now – which I just canceled in favor of Apple’s 27″ LED version, which comes with the free Mac.

  • CraigM

    Thinking of doing same here, replacing 24″ Dell monitors … so, a couple of questions spring to mind:

    1. Is this just a straight thru (?) display port cable? Can you buy those yet?
    2. How do you toggle the behaviour, I guess auto-sense by signal asserted on certain lines, but can you override (ie. toggle display between internal and laptop easily)
    3. Can 2. be driven from the “monitor” end, ie. iMac, rather than having to disable external display on laptop

    Should be a really nice combination … I can envisage the workflow now on my desk, whether its as graceful as I hope I guess we’ll have to wait and see


  • CraigM

    BTW, the AUX channel engineered into the DisplayPort standard offers potential to route USB back and forth, so its feasible to forward the iMac keyboard and mouse signals to the laptop when “docked” theoretically.

    Would be fantastic if Apple’s forward planning at MBP birth had been gearing up for such a solution ;-)


  • Paul Stamatiou

    I had the 3007WFP HC for some time, as I did a last gen 24-inch iMac. I sold the iMac after a year because the hardware was outdated for me and the screen wasn’t usable otherwise… a huge downside of all prior iMacs. This new iMac is quite impressive with the displayport input you are referring to. That being said, I’m guessing the iMac itself has to be “on” to be able to use it as a standalone display.. much like what Craig was asking in the first comment.

    For me it all comes down to pixel pitch. I’m now on a 17-inch MBP with 1920×1200 and find that it’s damn near perfect. I wonder how crisp the 27 @ 2560×1440 will be!

    BTW, I ended up getting rid of the 3007WFP HC because it was too big and my desk wasn’t deep enough so I had to move my head quite a bit to look from one end of the display to the next.

    Unrelated but.. where are the Mac blu-ray drives already???

  • Jeff Mancuso

    @CraigM – I am interested to see how switching between monitor mode and iMac mode is accomplished. In theory, it should be controllable in software. Perhaps just Fn-F7 will do it.

  • Mario

    Totally agree with your article. The only very big turn off for me is the reflection. I would have bought an iMac long ago if it didn’t have that annoyance.

  • Sandifop

    Hmmm, distributed processing and 2 – 27″ iMacs side by side.

  • Karsten

    did noone think of attaching HDMI or HD-Component devices to the iMac’s displayport?
    that is something that would rock way more than just connecting 2 iMacs….which besides being possible is not the most useful thing to do.

    This way you might be able to connect a xbox/wii/playstation or even a blue ray dvd player if you want to.

  • Orenge

    The main reason I want this instead of my beloved 24″ matte screen is the glass front: I don’t like glossy (but I can tolerate it) but I would LOVE being able to wipe the glass clean! And the glass is anti-glare after all–it’s not “just glass.” Bright white lights behind you (which is never what you want in your office anyway) reflect as a dim blue. Still readable. And as we know, bolder colors than matte offers.

    Matte IS still nice, but not worth the hassle of being paranoid about keeping the screen free of fingerprints and splatters–followed by the inability to clean it without risk of smearing, scratching or worse. A year-old matte LCD often looks like it’s been abused, while glass stays looking new. LCDs are fragile and should always be behind glass in my view. (Well, maybe not in laptops due to weight! But even there I like that glossy screens wipe clean.)

    Now add the 27″ view area, better speakers, webcam, IR remote receiver, and free Mac, and it’s the ultimate monitor :)

  • Darwin

    You can also connect XBox, PS3, Blu-ray player etc. This is a killer app for the iMac. I hardly use my huge HD TV as it is and will probably never use it now.

  • Robin

    I’ve read somewhere (it was without a source, so i’m just spreading the word, don’t know this for sure) that the input-DisplayPort on the iMac would only work with true DisplayPort devices, like a MBP, and not with those VGA2DP or DVI2DP cables.

    I’m not sure why it wouldn’t, but that would make it impossible to hook it up to a XBox or PS3.

  • Rob

    As a designer working with, and for, accurate color, the glossy screens are a complete non-starter. We have one glossy iMac in our studio and we now use it to store Adobe pallets and tabs, while the real work gets done on calibrated MATTE screens. No designer or photographer will sit in front of this machine with it’s insane reflections and horribly inaccurate color. The monitor is calibrated, but can only display accurate color in the middle. The corners are a different color until you place your head directly in front of the corner, but then of course the middle color now looks different.

    They put all this great graphics technology in the machines, and then stick a glossy monitor on the front. It is intolerable. The colors shift from top to bottom and left to right, and I’m not talking about viewing from wildly off center. This happens if you move your head just a few inches to the left, right, up or down.

    Let’s hope these new LED monitors can at least keep the same color from corner to corner no matter where your head is, like the matte monitors have always done. ….It wasn’t broken until they put glossy monitors on… Let’s hope the LED glass really is “anti-glare”.

  • Dennis Stevenson

    I was going to buy the 27″ iMac until I saw it had a mirror screen. I am ready for iDictate and all my computers are power PC so I have to update. After these comments, I’ll go to the Apple store and try the 27″ out. One mac dealer told me you can get a matt screen cover – but for 27″. It would be an art to put that on. Why do Apple create such problems?

  • xiao-quan

    I am going to buy 27″iMac until I found it’s like a mirror.

    I hope the Apple would change to anti-glare surface.

  • Lora B

    Is there a quality difference between the stand alone 24″ monitor and the 27″ monitor that
    comes with the iMac? I have an older MacBook Pro
    with an older stand alone 24″ monitor that needs to
    be replaced (the monitor, not the computer). The 24″ is $900plys $150
    for a connector. For $1700 I can get a larger
    screen and a new computer. I am a photographer, so the quality of the screen is important.
    Also would still like to use my lap top as my main computer
    and the new iBook as back up. Can I do this and use both screens?
    Thanks for any help, guidence.

  • scalding-frog

    I’ve got 27′ iMac today. Can somebody explain me if I will use my iMac as external monitor for my PC laptop which has standard VGA port what kind of adapter will be needed? And what I suppose to do to switch between iMac and my laptop? Thanks.

  • dan1987

    What a POS this monitor turned out to be. with the “yellow tinge” issue. Thin glass that easily cracks and the screen flicker issue. The only thing impressive about this monitor is the specs. In the end you get what you pay for and that would be junk. Do Mac owners really think they’re getting a premium monitor with those specs at that price?

  • Luke

    Over the weekend, we finally got two of the 27″ inch iMACs. We run them as browser testing and color testing for internet but not print graphics. Jeff was right, you can use them as an external monitor and they work great just keep them away from the bright sun as they do give off a nice glare.

  • dfs

    A couple of comments. a.) If you just want to run the 27-in. iMac as a monitor, hang on a couple of weeks and you can probably save big bucks. Rumors are flying that Apple is about to release an actual stand-alone 27-in. monitor using the same one incorporated in the iMac. 2.) This business about the reflective screen is greatly exaggerated. Sure, that may be a problem with a laptop when you are using it in airport waiting rooms and other places where you can’t control the lighting. Using a desktop, as long as you can angle it the way you want and control the lighting arrangements in your room, the problem drops down to just about zero. Unfortunately, Apple Stores insist on displaying the iMac with the black-background “aurora“ wallpaper and the lighting in Stores is unspeakably bright and glarey, so if you test out an iMac there you will be seeing it at its worst. Use a more neutral-colored wallpaper and you diminish the problem a lot right there. Reduce the brightness (at full blast it’s bright enough to sear your eyeballs) and you reduce it even more. And although some bad iMac units have been shipped, it’s very unlikely you’ll encounter problems of the yellow band and cracked glass. Chances are overwhelming it will be problem-free and it will be love at first sight. And yes, it’s not quite as dense as a real HDTV in the pixel department but it comes remarkably close.

  • Scottsbluff Computer Repair

    I like the way you write, few parts I had to read twice :D but still good stuff.

  • Sarah

    Hi! Great article! The 27″ iMac is pretty impressive but I am still a Windows platform user.

  • Natural Therapy Melbourne

    A very nice post you have here… MAkes me wonder if I need to stick with my windows plattfor or try the 27? iMac. But I guess I need to have one. :D