Well, the Apple Store went down, and we waited with bated breath. And most of what people expected to see came true. One of those expectations was new iMacs, and Apple’s all-in-one desktops did indeed get a nice upgrade and redesign. That means you’re old hat, iMac which I’m typing this up on right now.
The new iMacs feature LED-backlit 21.5 and 27-inch widescreen displays, with a new edge-to-edge glass and seamless aluminum case design. It’s quite the sexy little get up, and it’s sure to turn a few heads. Also sure to turn heads is the introduction of quad-core processors to the iMac line, though the entry level model still sports an Intel Core 2 Duo processor by default.
In the official Apple press release detailing the new hardware, Phil Schiller focused on the LED-backlighting and the inclusion of the new Magic Mouse when talking up the new all-in-ones:
The iMac is widely praised as the best desktop computer in the world and today we are making it even better. With brilliant LED displays and the revolutionary Magic Mouse, the new iMac delivers an amazing desktop experience that we think customers will love.
The new displays feature 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution for the 21.5-inch, and 2560 x 1440 for the 27-inch, which mathematically inclined readers will note makes the aspect ratio for the screens 16:9. That’s good news for HD movie and TV show watchers, but the changed ratio might not excite web and print professionals quite as much. Still, as Apple points out, the display on the new 27-inch screen does provide 60 percent more working area, which is never a bad thing.
Graphics computing power also gets a boost in the new line. The NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated card is still around, but the ATI Radeon HD 4670 discrete card is an option on the 21.5- and 27-inch model, while the ATI Radeon HD 4850 is reserved as an option exclusively available for the bigger computer. The new iMacs now have 4GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 RAM standard, and the potential to increase that to up to 16GB.
As for storage space, you’ll get 500GB in the base 21.5-inch model, or 1TB in the mid-range 21.5-inch or top-of-the-line 27-inch versions. All drives operate at 7200 rpm. Of the four available models, only the most expensive 27-inch 2.66 GHz version offers a Core i5 chip, with an option to upgrade to the Core i7. All three of the other models offer the Intel Core 2 Duo processor operating at 3.06GHz. Four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire 800, and a brand new SD card slot are also standard on all models.
New iMac owners get a nice bonus when it comes to input devices, as wireless keyboards and the new Magic Mouse, which only comes in a wireless (Bluetooth) variety, are now standard with every machine. Apple is clearly doing its best to de-clutter your workspace, or at least to add to the perceived value of its machines, since the price points of the new models have not changed as some had suspected. The base models are priced at $1,199, $1,499, $1,699 and $1,999 respectively.
So long as you aren’t in the market for the $2,000 quad-core beast, you can order now from the Apple Store and your computer should ship in 1-3 business days. The Core i5 model isn’t shipping until “November,” according to Apple’s website, which is maddeningly vague. Attempting to upgrade to the Core i7 does nothing to remedy the situation, which doesn’t come as a surprise.
Finally, I spotted a new Apple Remote as an add-on option on the ordering screen. Not an iMac exclusive, but the little guy does get an aluminum makeover, with black buttons, and looks much fancier. Is it worth an additional $19 now? Not sure, but at least it matches the machine it works with.