Originally Posted by Conrail
The New iMac will be a sealed unit like the rMPB. Soldered RAM, specialized SSD, no optical drive. Basically no reason to open it because of zero expansion capabilities. Two models, both 21.5 inches, with the retina iMac being the new high end model. No more giant honking monitors. Same resolution as the 27 inch in the same physical space as the 21.5 inch.
Same with the mini. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the New Mac Mini is the same size as the appleTV.
You're assuming a next generation panel must conform to an existing size. I don't agree with this at all. I don't think they'll even bother hitting quite the dpi of the 15". They wouldn't be tied to any specific size if it requires a major design overhaul either way. Actually I'd expect in such a situation they might make basic reference designs for multiple sizes. Design work often involves a lot of projects that never make it to market. This is not unique to Apple or any other company. It's the nature of the work. They could solder ram, but no one has shown any real advantage that could be implemented today. A couple people mentioned future engineering reference specs involved soldered ram for signal integrity. In terms of performance, the Air and rMBP don't have greater performance from this. Soldering the chips horizontally also takes up a larger amount of space on the board. The ODD isn't really a restriction on the imac, so you won't get more space if it's removed. The will have to work around this. All of this becomes an issue if you're trying to pack so much into a 21.5" form factor when placement is already tight at 27". Concerns were raised over the chin too. I'd have to look at one again, but I recall the design deriving a portion of its airflow from vents in the chin. The mini also becomes hot and noisy as it is. Trying to shrink it further without significantly cooler components would not yield a great machine. Beyond that it doesn't really bring anything to the user. At its current size there are virtually no placement restrictions. It fits anywhere, so you gain very little beyond a gimmicky design.
I get the impression that some of you just want to feel like you're providing information regarding Apple's direction. The statement doesn't really have much to say about engineering. It's much like when several people on here suggested that usb3 was unnecessary when we have thunderbolt. If Apple really didn't want to use usb3, they could have neglected to write drivers. It should have been obvious to anyone that given its inclusion in the updated chipsets, they wouldn't really go this route.