Update (Nov 27, 2012): Following the October 24th announcement, Apple has announced that the all-new iMac will be available this Friday, November 30. The 21.5-inch iMac will be available through the Apple Online Store and select authorized resellers. The 27-inch iMac will be available for order through the Apple Online Store as well, but will only begin shipping in December.
Alongside the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display and the new Mac Mini, Apple also unveiled its next-generation iMac. The headline feature of this new iMac is that it has an incredibly thin 5mm edge. This is achieved through several means. For one, Apple has adopted a full lamination design for the display. In other words, the IPS panel is now bonded to the cover glass. This removes the 2mm air gap between the two components, and as a result, the display is 45% thinner than its predecessor. Apple also claims a 75% reduction in reflection, and this is made possible by applying an anti-reflective coating on the screen using a plasma deposition process. Furthermore, each display is individually calibrated in the factory. Expectedly, Apple has also removed the built-in optical drive.
The new iMac is powered by Intel’s quad-core Core i5 or i7 ‘Ivy Bridge’ processor and NVIDIA’s Kepler-based graphics processor. Two screen sizes are available: 21.5-inch (with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels) and 27-inch (with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 pixels). The US$1,299 (S$1,788), 21.5-inch base model uses the 2.7GHz quad-core Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost speed up to 3.2GHz) with 6MB L3 cache and the NVIDIA GeForce GT 640M graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR5 memory. It has 8GB of RAM and a 1TB hard drive. For US$200 (S$300) more, you get a faster 2.9GHz quad-core Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost speed up to 3.6GHz) and the GeForce GT 650M graphics processor. Both models are configurable to 16GB of RAM, but only the higher-end 21.5-inch model can be configured with a 3.1GHz quad-core Core i7 processor.
On the other hand, the 27-inch version starts at US$1,799 (S$2,488). This gets you the 2.9GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost speed up to 3.6GHz), GeForce GTX 660M graphics processor with 512MB of GDDR5 memory, and a 1TB hard drive. Add another US$200 (S$300) and you’ll get the 3.2GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (Turbo Boost speed up to 3.6GHz) and GeForce GTX 675MX graphics processor with 1GB of GDDR5 memory. Both 27-inch models come with 8GB RAM as standard, but is configurable to 16GB or 32GB. However, only the higher-end 27-inch model lets you upgrade to the 3.4GHz quad-core Core i7 processor (Turbo Boost speed up to 3.9GHz) and the GeForce GTX 680MX with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Both 27-inch models come with a 1TB hard drive as standard, but this is configurable to a 3TB hard drive, or 768GB of flash storage.
But that’s not all. Another key new feature of the new iMacs is the Apple Fusion Drive. You can think of it as a hybrid drive consisting of both flash storage and a spinning hard drive. The flash storage is fixed at 128GB, but you can choose between a 1TB or 3TB (the latter is applicable only for the 27-inch iMacs) spinning hard drive. Both drives combine into a single logical volume, so in OS X, you’ll only see one drive. Out of the box, the OS and all the software that come pre-installed on the iMac reside on the flash storage. As you add stuff to the Fusion Drive, they’re first placed on the spinning hard drive. However, behind the scene and as time goes along, the OS will determine what items you use frequently, and move them from the spinning hard drive to the faster flash storage automatically.
Other features that are standard across all models include the 720p FaceTime HD camera, four USB 3.0 ports, two Thunderbolt ports, a mini DisplayPort output, a gigabit Ethernet port, dual microphones, stereo speakers, a headphone port, and an SDXC card slot. Of course, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology are also supported.
The 21.5-inch iMac is available in November, while the 27-inch iMac is available in December.