LG Display outs iMac with 'super high-res' 8K screen

The display maker says 8K means images as sharp as the human eye can discern, and indicates that Apple has an "iMac 8K" coming this year.

Don Reisinger
CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

LG Display shows how 8K resolution improves upon earlier high-definition formats. LG Display

Apple is working on an update to its iMac that will take its resolution to new heights, according to LG Display.

In a blog post last week that was newly noticed Monday, LG Display wrote about the future of display technology, saying that next big thing will be a "super-high-resolution" format known as 8K.

Tucked into the middle of that discussion was one attention-getting sentence: "Apple has also announced that they will release the 'iMac 8K' with a super-high resolution display later this year."

The tricky thing is, Apple hasn't announced such a product. If the LG Display claim is true, the famously hush-hush iPhone maker cannot be happy about what was said. Apple likes to make its own announcements according to its own schedule and holds its vendors to vows of extreme secrecy. If Apple is working on an 8K iMac, LG Display could find itself in some hot water.

Apple's iMac is an all-in-one computer with a display in front of the device's components. It comes with a keyboard and mouse and different display resolutions based on the model. The company's 21.5-inch iMac has a 1,920-by-1,080-pixel resolution, while the 27-inch version has a 2,560-by-1,440 resolution. Apple also sells an iMac with Retina 5K display featuring a 27-inch screen that has a 5,120-by-2,880-pixel resolution. That computer was announced last year

Screen resolution has long been a differentiating factor for displays. The higher the resolution, the more pixels packed into a display -- and thus the crisper and more lifelike the image. For the last several years, the display market has been dominated by 1080p displays boasting a 1,920-by-1,080-pixel resolution. Now TV makers are pitching so-called 4K displays that feature resolutions of 4,096-by-2,160. Apple's 5K display has a slightly better resolution.

Ultimately, LG Display says, the future in display resolutions is with 8K, which it says is the highest resolution at which the human eye can discern, featuring a resolution of 7,680 by 4,320. LG Display showed off an 8K display at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, featuring a 98-inch screen. The company also has a 55-inch display.

Still, offering a high resolution is only one part of the equation. In order for users to get the full effect of 5K or 8K, they'd need to have the content to support it. Right now, 4K content is hard to come by, and it's unlikely that content creators, like movie studios, will encode much video in 8K anytime soon. The benefit, in other words, is only apparent when the content that supports the resolution is readily available.

If Apple is indeed working on an 8K display, LG Display might be in a position to know: according to iFixit, LG Display manufactured the 5K display. It's possible that LG Display is working on an 8K screen for an update to the 5K iMac, and and that's what it let slip.

Neither Apple nor LG immediately responded to a request for comment.