Apple's new iMac Retina is worth the cost for your employees

The reasoning is simple: Technology that makes people more productive is almost always a good investment.

imac three quarters view
Credit: Susie Ochs

Almost exactly a year ago, Apple introduced a slew of new iPads and the super-powerful Mac Pro desktop computer. And I suggested that you should indulge your power users’ lust for the spendy Mac Pro. In retrospect, I suspect that not too many people took my advice. At least, I haven’t seen a lot of Mac Pros around.

That’s OK. I’m about to do it again.

Yesterday, Apple once again introduced a slew of new iPads and the uber-cool iMac with Retina 5K display desktop computer. And I’m once again suggesting that even in the age of mobile devices, it’s worth investing in super-spendy desktop computers—and especially screens

See also: How the Mac is invading the enterprise

You see, this time the appeal isn’t raw computing power like the Mac Pro, but a stunning 27-inch, 5120x2880-pixel display (twice the resolution of the company’s standard 27-inch iMac). That’s a lot of pixels (14.7 million), whether you need them or not. But I think most people need the space and the pixels, whether they realize it or not.

Go big, even if you don’t go iMac

In the launch presentation, Apple was happy to claim that so-called 5K Ultra HD displays often cost as much as this new iMac’s $2,500 starting price tag, so you get the computer for “free.” That’s not entirely ridiculous. The Dell UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor, introduced last month, also lists for $2,500. But you can get a Samsung 28-inch Ultra High Definition LED Monitor (with a still-impressive 3840x2160 resolution) for less than $600.

I’ve always been a believer in using the biggest, highest-definition screen available, to get an immersive experience, work with multiple open windows at the same time, see documents and spreadsheets and dashboards as clearly as possible, and so on.

My point is that it makes no sense to pay people big bucks and then try to scrimp and save by forcing them to squint to see some tiny, pixelated monitor. Mistaking a tiny, pixelated 6 for an equally illegible 8 could have dramatic consequences.

Buy the biggest, best screens you can afford

Of course, getting a big, clear screen could mean a Retina iMac, but it doesn’t have to. It could also mean some other, less expensive computer with nice big super HD screen.  If your team does real desktop-computer work, though, it really is worth investing in the biggest, best screens (and other equipment) you can afford.

It’ll be cheaper in the long run.

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