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New 4K & 5K iMacs support 10-bit screen color for improved image accuracy

Apple's latest Retina iMacs support 10-bit screen color, something that may be especially useful for professional photo and video editors in the future, reports said on Friday.

The technology is supported through new driver software in OS X El Capitan, wrote Cinema5D, citing German publication Mac & I. It's not clear whether the code might support an external 10-bit monitor.

Not to be confused with the bit-depth of files, 10-bit screen color helps eliminate banding artifacts while restoring gradient detail. Most external and built-in device displays are still limited to 8-bit color at most, and accordingly, OS X didn't offer compatibility until now. Windows has had 10-bit support since 2009's Windows 7.

Even on a 4K or 5K iMac, 10-bit color is reportedly only useful in Apple's own Preview and Photos apps. This excludes popular professional software, namely Adobe titles like Photoshop and Illustrator, or Apple's Final Cut Pro. The companies might be able to release compatibility updates, but neither has commented on the matter.

Apple updated the iMac lineup on Oct. 13. As well as improving display options, it upgraded the computers to Intel's Skylake platform.