Apple updates iMacs with better screens, faster processors

The tech giant also introduces thinner and lighter accessories for the computers: a Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2.

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Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
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Apple updated its iMac computers with better displays and processors. Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple's iMac and its accessories are getting a minor makeover.

On Tuesday, Apple upgraded its iMac computers with better displays and faster processors, and updated its keyboard, mouse and trackpad accessories.

The Mac business might not be as big or as sexy as Apple's mobile business, but it remains an important focus for the company. Apple generates less than 15 percent of its revenue from Macs, but the devices help flesh out its family of products, which are increasingly designed to work together. The company is hoping the additions are enough to keep its fans happy at a time when broader PC sales have slowed.

Say hello to Apple's new Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2 for the Mac (pictures)

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Apple on Tuesday added its supersharp Retina 5K display to every 27-inch iMac and incorporated a slightly lower-resolution Retina 4K display in the top model of its 21.5-inch Mac line for the first time. Apple also gave its new iMacs more powerful Intel processors and graphics, two Thunderbolt 2 ports and updated storage options.

The 27-inch iMac comes in three models, costing $1,799, $1,999 and $2,299. The 21.5-inch iMac is available in three models starting at $1,099, and the top-of-the-line version with the Retina 4K display starts at $1,499.

The 27-inch iMacs will include Intel's newest, sixth-generation processors, dubbed Skylake, as well as AMD graphics cards. But the 21-inch iMacs will only incorporate the fifth generation of Intel's chips and graphics. That's a boost from their current components but lags behind what other computer makers are releasing.

Before last year's update, the iMac -- an all-in-one desktop computer, with the brains hidden behind a sleek display -- hadn't had a design change in two years. Most of all, its screen resolution hadn't changed much while other devices had been bumped to Apple's Retina Display. The iPhone 4, introduced in 2010, sported the first Retina Display, while the higher-resolution screen hit the iPad tablet and MacBook Pro laptop line in 2012.

Some of the most noticeable changes to Apple's computer products come in the accessories, the Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse 2 and Magic Trackpad 2. The keyboard and mouse are included in the box with new iMacs, and users can choose to swap in the trackpad instead of the mouse for an additional $40. All three are also sold separately, at $79 for the Magic Mouse 2, $99 for the Magic Keyboard and $129 for the Magic Trackpad 2. That's an increase of $10, $30 and $60 over the prices for the respective predecessor products.

All three feature a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery and can last a month or more on a charge. The new Magic Keyboard is streamlined by 13 percent but remains full-size. Apple tweaked the new trackpad to an off-white color from aluminum and increased the surface area by 29 percent. The Magic Trackpad 2 supports Force Touch, which responds to different amount of pressure as on the new touchpads in the MacBook and MacBook Pro.