TV manufacturers like Panasonic, Sony and Samsung might be falling over themselves to smooth over the transition to 4K, recently agreeing standards for the new HDMI 2.0 specification that will facilitate the delivery of native ultra high-definition (UHD) content at higher frame rates, but one tech giant seems to be less than keen on the concept.
Apple didn’t declare so officially, but a recent update to its support pages reveals that its latest MacBook Pro laptops and Mac Pro computers will not carry support for HDMI 2.0, or at least not for the time being anyhow.
In a support document titled “Using 4K Ultra HD TVs with Mac computers”, Apple claims that its latest 2013 MacBook Pro (Retina) and Mac Pro machines are compatible with 4K Ultra HD TVs, whether or not they’re running OS X or Windows. Unfortunately, the maximum supported resolution only goes up to 3840×2160 at 30fps; or 4096×2160 at 24fps, which is below the newly agreed HDMI 2.0 specification of 4K at 60fps.
Those who are familiar with 4K know that the higher resolution brings with it greater colour depth, higher frame rates and superior image clarity, but to deliver this to the screen our connections need more ‘oomph’ than what the older HDMI standard allows. Quite simply, the older HDMI 1.4 specifications that Apple does provide support for aren’t nearly enough to handle fast-action content in 4K, for which HDMI 2.0 was so hurriedly designed.
Not all Apple fans will care, but the news does have implications for some, particularly creative professionals in the video and broadcast industry, with whom Apple products are especially popular – these people will need to find an alternative machines if they want to perform editing/encoding tasks with 4K resolution material at 60hz.
What’s not known as this stage is whether or not Apple will be rolling out a firmware update at a later date to upgrade HDMI 1.4 to 2.0. Sony recently issued a similar update for its Bravia X9 series of 4K TVs after all, and so Apple might just be waiting for wider adoption of UHD before it does the same.