New El Capitan beta reveals 4K 21.5-inch iMac, Multi-Touch Bluetooth Remote (for Apple TV?)


Although it’s light on new consumer-facing features, the latest release of the OS X El Capitan beta for developers hides references to a pair of future Apple hardware products: a new 4K version of the 21.5-inch iMac and a new Bluetooth Remote control…

Likely destined for a refreshed version of the 21.5-inch iMac, which currently does not have a Retina display, the new El Capitan beta references Mac support for a new 4096 x 2304 resolution Apple-made display panel. While the larger, more expensive 27-inch iMac is offered with a 5K display, it could make sense for the smaller screen to be upgraded to a 4K resolution.


In addition to the 4K panel reference, which is not present in any version of Yosemite, the innards of the software upgrade include references to a new Intel graphics chipset known as the Iris Pro 6200. This new, Broadwell-integrated graphics processor launched earlier this month and would be a natural fit for powering a 4K iMac.


References to four new AMD Radeon R9 processors (M380, M390, M395 and M395X) are also found in the beta, which could indicate additional Mac models or 4K iMac upgrade options. Journalist Pierre Dandumont assisted us with locating the 4K iMac and graphics files.

Screenshot 2015-06-25 10.11.10

Macs aside, a new file inside of El Capitan seems to confirm that Apple has been working on a new Bluetooth Remote Control. According to our scan of the file’s contents, this new piece of hardware integrates a dedicated Bluetooth wireless chip, can connect with devices via an infrared sensor, and includes a Multi-Touch trackpad with inertial scrolling support. There is also a reference to what could be Force Touch support, but we are less certain about that. The device also appears to support audio, which could indicate either playback or input for Siri. This file does not exist in earlier, public versions of OS X, nor the OS X 10.10.4 Yosemite release that is also in beta.

A Bluetooth Remote control that also supports infrared and Multi-Touch would be a brand new product for Apple, and its appearance inside of this fall’s OS X release leads us to believe that it could be related to the upcoming Apple TV revamp. However, our analysis of the files does not turn up any direct Apple TV references. We first reported earlier this year that a new Apple TV set-top-box would include a redesigned hardware remote with additional functionality and new hardware buttons, and it seems possible that the remote referenced in El Capitan is this controller.

Thanks, William. 

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  1. James Alexander - 8 years ago

    I just want a ew Apple TV come on. ;-)

  2. cameroncovington - 8 years ago

    Could it be that the remote is a refreshed version of the universal remote, used for Macs currently? It doesn’t make much sense for an Apple TV remote reference to be in the code for El Capitan.

    • Stetson - 8 years ago

      If it’s a bluetooth remote then it could easily work with Macs as well as the new Apple TV. Apple stopped including the IR receiver for the previous Mac-compatible remote on new Macs a couple generations ago.

      • Steve Grenier - 8 years ago

        Hope it will work for the Mac. I miss that functionality in the older Mac models.

    • PMZanetti - 8 years ago

      It sure does considering the AppleTV SDK will be running on El Capitan.

      • gkbrown - 8 years ago

        You think so? I’d guess no. The original ATV was based on OS X, but the 2nd and 3rd gen have been based on iOS.

      • Paul - 8 years ago

        He means the development kit runs on OS X, if there is a new multitouch remote that allows functionality in 3rd party apps on a new Apple TV then it would make sense that OS X would allow the remote to work through the SDK – just a guess though. Or, it’s entirely possible that they are bringing back a Front Row style interface for Macs and the remote works for that.

  3. tdgeditor1 - 8 years ago

    Maybe this new remote can be used to control other Devices. That would end up the remote mess.

    • tjbenton - 8 years ago

      Surely the obvious answer is a force touch enabled Magic Trackpad with enhanced capabilities. There’s no reason why this device could serve as an ATV remote or a trackpad.

      • tjbenton - 8 years ago

        Could should be couldn’t sorry.

  4. Rutger (@MrLightBulp) - 8 years ago

    Maybe a new ThunderBolt 4K display,
    The current version is really old, bulky and still has the same price.

  5. PMZanetti - 8 years ago

    We’ve been hearing about this Bluetooth Trackpad Siri remote for years now. Clearly Apple has been working on the best possible input method for the future AppleTV, that can also be squeezed in to the price point of AppleTV.

    Very hopefully that this year’s iPhone event in September is iPhone + AppleTV

  6. Gary Stern (@stern2g) - 8 years ago

    Isn’t it possible, if not more likely, that the Bluetooth device references a Bluetooth keyboard that can be used for the Mac and iOS devices, which has the two-finger touch capability found in iOS to control the cursor? If they’re able to create one using haptic feedback or otherwise, it would be logical to introduce it at the time the iPad Pro is introduced.

  7. ikir - 8 years ago

    Please new Thunderbolt Display 4k

    • jonshf - 8 years ago

      If a new Thunderbolt display is 27″ then it will need to be 5K like the 27″ iMacs. That’s not practical until the Thunderbolt 3 standard is implemented along with Intel’s Skylake chips – likely not before early 2016.

      • vitalyx (@Vitalyx) - 8 years ago

        No, it doesn’t need to be 5K. It can be 27” and 4K. The text on current 27” Thunderbolt display is too small. Compared to 24” Full HD monitors which are pretty standard everywhere. Plus you won’t be able to output to a 5K display with any of their current laptops (maybe with the exception of 2015 15” MBP). But with a 4K display, you will. So why wait another year. Bring a 27” 4K TB display on now and 32” 5K TB display next year. I’m sure both will sell well :)

  8. tomtubbs - 8 years ago

    Would Apple push to make their lineup retina? Currently they have 21″ Full HD 1080 screen, then a Quad HD, and 5k 27″. If they drop the 1080 21″, would they keep the QHD 27″ around, or drop that, and make all the 27″ iMacs 5k?

  9. lokinpl (@lokinpl) - 8 years ago

    AppleBluetoothRemote => GAME? => New ATV+Game?

  10. therackett - 8 years ago

    Stuck on whether to buy the current MacBook Pro – or wait for a redesign. I think at a baseline the 2880 resolution listed confirms 15.4″ at least (would hope for a 16″).

  11. charilaosmulder - 8 years ago

    That 4096*2304 resolution is weird for the 21″. The current resolution is 1920*1080, which in retina should translate to 3840*2160. This probably implies the new 21″ iMac will either have a slightly more dense desktop, or it will be slightly bigger than 21″

    • mrgroaner - 8 years ago

      This would be a welcome increase in size. Always found the 21″ as a bit too small. The 24″ iMac a few years back was ideal. I doubt they’ll go there given it’s too close to the 27″ dimensions.
      Perhaps a 22″ or 23″ display?

  12. willo (@mozfart) - 8 years ago

    It´s Mac + Apple TV keyboard/mouse++ in one device with SIRI. Apple Control.

  13. Scott (@ScooterComputer) - 8 years ago

    That Remote would make an interesting and welcome replacement for the iPod touch. And utilize pretty much the same components.

  14. traductopro - 8 years ago

    Looks like this prediction could come to fruition after all

  15. Lars Pallesen - 8 years ago

    Great news! A 4K 21,5 inch iMac was exactly what I was hoping for! Although I think I’ll skip the first Broadwell version and wait for the more energy-efficient Skylake-version. Something not mentioned here: Do we expect these new iMacs to come with the new USB-C ports instead of USB 3?

  16. Kiley DeMond - 8 years ago

    Here’s a thought: iMac Retinas in 21.5″ and 27″ and a standalone retina monitor at 24″. My preference is for a 24″ iMac retina (there is a huge difference in feeling between 24″ and 27″ and I find the additional desktop real estate exhausting to survey and bulky to look at on a desk in a house.