This is unlikely, but here is the iMac I want to see:
Two basic form factors:
15" LCD iMac
17" LCD iMac
Depending on the design, this could be very easy to do, compared to having different sized CRTs. If the display is simply mounted on a base unit containing the internals, then theoretically Apple could snap on any sized display and it wouldn't jack up production costs. So 15" for schools, grannys, and soccer moms, and 17" for computer enthusiasts. Pricing should be no higher than $1600. Something like:
This pricing is possible for sure...Apple gets LCD displays cheap, and if they design the iMac to have low manufacturing costs then this could be done. I wouldn't pay more than $1600 for an LCD iMac however, because for about $2000 I can get a PMG4 w/15" LCD display as a student.
A real AGP slot would be wonderful, but it's not going to happen. BTO options also are not practical, because they drive up manufacturing costs. So what Apple should do, IMHO, is offer the 15" and 17" with a good, midrange video chipset, like the Radeon or GF2MX. Then, offer a Gamer's edition (but Apple would call it the Maya edition or Graphics pro edition--never the gamer's mac). The gaming iMac would be the 17" LCD with a GeForce 3, and it would sell for a premium price at around $1700.
17" LCD w/GF3
People would pay this price for a high end video card and a bitching 17" LCD from Apple....I know I would. It would be a tremendous iMac.
Finally, the other internals:
CPU: Please Apple, PLEASE! slip an Apollo G4 in the new iMac!
IF the G5 Powermacs become reality, then the iMac may get the Apollo G4. So the desktops would go something like:
PMG5: 1.2, 14. 1.6
iMacG4: 1 GHz.
To save manufacturing costs, Apple should use only two different Mobos for the iMac: All of them with 1 GHz G4, and then the gamer edition with a GF3.
It is also possible that the iMac gets the G3, but then when PMG5s are introduced at MWNY, the iMac moves to the G4. It is crucial that the iMac get altivec, so that Apple's altivec user base grows in size. Apple has invested too much in Altivec to use it only in a minority of Macs sold...they must use it in consumer lines to give developer's incentive to code for it. The more Apps that support Altivec, the less MHz matter, and by word of mouth people WILL learn that Macs are fast for their MHz ratings. For word of mouth to work, the iMacs need Altivec.
Another sign that the new iMacs might get Altivec is that AppleInsider guessed that they would get G3s. Since AI is normally wrong, this is more evidence that an Apollo iMac is coming soon.
For optical media drives, same old...base different models by drive and not CPU.
Give all of the iMacs lots of RAM:
Low end 999 iMac: 128 MB RAM
All others: 256 MB RAM.
In reality, I don't believe we will see iMacs like the ones I just descibed, nevertheless I think that if Apple made these they would sell like mad. The only problem with my iMac dream here is the price of the 17" LCD iMac...Apple might not sqeeze out good margins with it. Buy we can dream!