Anticipating the next iMac
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Anticipating the next iMac

In a series of Tweets (via, CNET's Brian Tong says he's received word from a "reliable source" that new iMacs will arrive in late April or early May. That's no surprise, and it's easy to guess at some of the features, though others I would love to see probably won't make the cut.

The updated iMacs will doubtless feature dual and quad Sandy Bridge processors, as well as Thunderbolt technology. The lower end iMacs will probably sport 2.3GHz and 2.7GHz dual-core Intel Core i5s, while the high-end iMacs will tout 2.0GHz and 2.3 quad-core Intel Core i7s. The low end models will most likely sport integrated Intel HD Graphics 3000 with 384MB of DDR3 SDRAM shared with the main memory. The higher end models will likely come with an AMD Radeon HD 6490M graphics processor with 256MB of GDDR5 memory or an AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory.

The revved iMacs will certainly sport Thunderbolt I/O technology. Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt features two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices,

Like the recent MacBook Pro rev, the revamped iMacs will include a built-in FaceTime HD camera with triple the resolution of the previous generation.

Hard drive capacities will, I predict, range from 500GB up to 1TB, with options to up that to 2TB. And, of course, there will be pricey SSD upgrade options.

What we won't see are...

° USB 3.0 -- Apple is skipping this in favor of Thunderbolt;

° Blu-ray -- I'd love to see this, but it's not going to happen. Apple CEO Steve Jobs still sees this as a "bag of hurt" -- though I'm sure the real reason is that Apple wants you to rent/buy all your movies and TV shows at the iTunes store.

° A built-in TV tuner. See above for the same reason.

° A 30-inch display. This would make sense if Apple were to include Blu-ray and a built-in TV tuner to make the iMac a true entertainment center. Since it's not, the 21-inch and 27-inch models will remain. I also don't foresee the return of a 24-incher.

The iMac lineup was last updated in July 2010 with Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors, along with ATI Radeon graphics. Those machines retained pretty much the same design first introduced when the iMac was given an edge-to-edge glass screen in October 2009, and that's not expected to change.

And what would you like to see in the next iMac?

-- Dennis Sellers


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