The iMac's still the winner -- and future champ -- among all-in-ones
Apple's laptop line -- particularly the MacBook Air -- gets most of the computer PR love from the company these days, but the iMac is quietly winning its market.
In the the all-in-one (AIO) market the stalwart of Apple's desktop line has about one-third of the computer industry market. The AIO market grew 39% to 14.5 million units worldwide in 2012, according to DisplaySearch (http://www.displaysearch.com). The iMac accounted for 32.9% of shipments in the third quarter, the research firm estimates.
DisplaySearch believes that the market will reach 23.3 million units by 2014. The iMac looks to continue to lead the pack. Apple's closest competitor is Lenovo, with 22.7% of AIO sales.
So what can we expect from the iMac this year?
A redesign of some sort? Perhaps. A height-adjustable monitor? Maybe, but I'm dubious.
A 30-inch screen to accommodate a rumored iMac with television features (see http://www.macnews.com/2011/12/09/imac-tv-functionality-im-there)? I'd love that, but doubt it will happen (well, the screen size, at least). That said, I think Apple will offer an anti-glare display option.
More solid state drive options? Almost certainly. But the iMac won't be doing away with hard disk drives just yet. SSDs are still pricey and lack the storage capacity of HDDs, so look for "hybrid" drives in new Apple AIOs.
Ivy Bridge processors? Bet on it. USB 3.0? Don't bet on it as Apple considers Thunderbolt the future of Mac (and probably iOS device) connectivity.
Dropping the optical drive a la the MacBook Air? That's a distinct possibility. Apple may expect you to buy an US$79 SuperDrive if you need an optical drive.
Other things that seem possible: more RAM as standard (8GB perhaps), Siri integration and a beefed-up CPU.
-- Dennis Sellers