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O iMac, Where Art Thou?

August 13, 2012 - Dave Hecei
The current iMacs were released back in May of 2011. With simple math that makes 15 months without any iMac update. I don’t know about you, but that seems a bit too long for Apple’s flagship desktop.

Yes, the Mac Pro tower is the grand daddy Mac – the fastest Mac. The iMac is no slouch. The high-end quad-core iMac can hold its own against all but the 12-core Mac Pro, which wins only on core count. The current fastest iMac configured with SSD storage is actually faster on certain tasks.

So where is the new iMac? Apple recently released notebook models using the latest Intel chipset called Ivy Bridge. They also released the next generation of OS X, Mountain Lion. They are also working feverishly on the next iPhone, and if rumors are correct, a mini iPad. Yes, Apple is busy, hopefully not too busy.

So what could be holding things up with a new iMac? This is the real question. The current iMac design has been around, in computer time, for quite a while now. The design is based on the white G5 iMac from 2004. When Apple switched from PPC to Intel, the iMac was one of the first Macs to be updated, even if the outside didn’t.

In 2007, Apple redesigned the iMac with an aluminum case. It still had the same all-in-one LCD monitor design but with a much more elegant silver and black case with a large glass front that had the look of going right out to the edge. This design has lasted for 5 years. What I’m getting at is Apple might be redesigning the iMac’s design.

The other possibility is that Apple is working on the display itself. With the iPhone, Touch, iPad, and now MacBook Pro using a Retina display rumors are out there that Apple is trying to put Retina in the iMac. If this is the case then the iMac might be taking a bit longer getting to market.

Whenever the iMac does make it to market it will likely be much thinner. Apple really thinks that optical drives are the past. They even think that spinning hard drives are the past. The next iMac will likely not have any optical drive and all models will have an SSD boot drive. There will be a second spinning hard drive inside the iMac, but it will likely be an option.

No matter if the design changes or not, the next iMac will have the latest Intel Ivy Bridge chipset. This will bring a nice speed boost to the iMac, but will also bring USB 3.0 and the possibility of dual graphics systems – the built-in Intel graphics and either nVidia or ATI discreet graphics. With Thunderbolt finally starting to come into its own, look for dual Thunderbolt ports on both sizes of the iMac (currently only the 27-inch iMac has dual ports).

It is time for a new iMac – it is long overdue. This year has seen new laptops, and a slightly updated Mac Pro tower. The iMac and Mac mini are the missing pieces, which should be filled in very soon. Unfortunately, only Apple knows how soon.


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