Report: Apple is preparing several next-gen Mac models for Yosemite’s launch this fall

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Yosemite, the newest version of OS X, is definitely coming this fall. You can even get in on a public beta version starting Thursday. Apple usually releases new Mac hardware to coincide with the launch of its new operating systems, but according to a report from 9to5Mac, this October isn’t going to only bring minor spec bumps, but Apple is going to revamp several models. Apple is reportedly prepping a “smaller MacBook” that is likely the 12-inch Retina Macbook Air, an iMac with a higher resolution screen and perhaps even an external display running at 4K resolution.

None of these rumored products should come as a surprise to Mac watchers. We’ve been following the saga of the 12-inch Retina Macbook Air since the spring and the most recent supply chain reports pointed to production starting now for a release this October — right in time for the planned Yosemite upgrade.

Apple new iMac October 2012

The higher-resolution iMac has been tipped by Apple’s own software: code found in Yosemite includes several configuration files for iMac displays as high as 6400 x 3600. It was only a matter of time until Apple upgraded its desktop line for high-resolution displays — “retina” is Apple’s term — but the real question is what resolution these “retina” iMacs will take. According to the report, panels that simply double the 27-inch iMac’s 2560 x 1440  resolution aren’t ready for the market yet, so Apple may be going with the rapidly proliferating 4K standard.

The report also mentions a “standalone monitor with a 4K resolution screen,” which would likely take the place of Apple’s current Thunderbolt Display. I’m a huge fan of Apple’s monitors, and I got one when there were few 2560 x 1440 IPS displays commercially available. But in recent years other companies have been able to offer similar or identical panels for a fraction of the cost, and for Apple to justify its $1,000 model, it needs an upgrade. The current version doesn’t even have USB 3.0 ports, which have been included on MacBooks since 2012.

Of course, as with all reports attributed to anonymous sources, details can change between now and when the products are launched — as evidenced by Microsoft, which killed its long-rumored Surface Mini tablet days before its announcement. Still, new Macs, plus one or even two bigger iPhones and the long-awaited Apple smartwatch, mean this fall could be packed with new Apple products.

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