Zand, actually you're missing a few pieces of the puzzle here. Sure merom was out after conroe, but merom was a drop in replacement w/no retooling needed for Yonah, which shipped LONG before the first trickle of Conroes came out. We're talking early Jan (1st week of Jan 06 if memory serves - with immediate and wide availability) vs mid July with only limited availability...
So merom really doesn't enter into the picture except as an upgrade that's able to drop in to most existing Yonah platforms.
Now intel is taking their mobile platform to a new socket, so that drop in-ability is gone and they will have to chose a new socket and platform - either mobile or desktop - it'll be the first true 2nd generation imac for intel. So the question is that now that Apple is going to have to do some reworking, will they choose socket P or T?
I think T is a viable option.
How do you figure the 24inch imac defeats this argument? The less engineering one has to do on a project, the lower the R & D, the higher the profit margin can go while still being attractive to consumers. That being the case, it's best to borrow as much tech from other product lines as possible.
That's the single best argument I can find for the future imac going socket P - but I'm still willing to say that it could likely go T as well. especially due the engineering similarities of board design between s771 and socket T (aka 775).
The second argument for P over T is that the existing Mac Pros suffer from the FBDimm's massive memory latency problems - if they introduced a range of cheap, quad core (kentsfield) desktops in the imac with beter memory performance, and the option to hit 4gb or potentially 8gb (if they have 4 memory slots, but I don't think imacs have ever had 4 memory slots - anyone know if that's true? I think it's always been 1 or 2?), might sap away people looking at the mac pro.
So I can see reasons for either side. What I find disheartening is people thinking they can come to a forum, and just put 'beat to death' which is like saying 'take a hike' and not bothering to put any reasons.
I think this is a 'maybe' and that people can 'beat' whatever they want here on the forums, but to me Apple has always been about thinking different. Seeing people not really following those thought lines, while the company continues to deliver products that a lot of people didn't think could be done, or certainly not nearly half as well as they do - time and time again - and yet we have neighsayers here. Come on people