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Apple's next-generation iMacs to add a touch of grace

post #1 of 284
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AppleInsider has learned that Apple's popular line of iMac personal computers are about to undergo a substantial facelift that will showcase striking new industrial designs aimed at leaving both competitors and onlookers smitten.

People familiar with the matter say the Cupertino-based Mac maker has called upon its award-winning design chief Jonathan Ive and his team to cut the fat from the the current iMac line and outfit a pair of new Core 2 Duo-based models in a form factor that will be both slimmer and sleeker than today's offerings.

For Apple, the impending iMac makeover will represent the first major industrial design overhaul to hit its flagship all-in-one consumer desktop line in nearly three years. The last eye candy to accompany an iMac update came back in August of 2004, when the company retired its "sunflower" iMac G4 design while introducing the portrait-style iMac G5.

With the burden of a major architectural transition to Intel chips weighing on its shoulders, Apple in 2006 elected to reuse the the iMac G5 design for its first Intel-based iMac offerings. At the time, the objective was to push an Intel version of its top-selling desktop into market as quickly as possible and get the ball rolling on the next chapter in Apple computing.Â*

As part of an industry-wide shift away from desktops and towards high-powered portables, Apple's industrial design prowess in 2006 was largely reserved for its notebook lines, which saw cutting-edge design revisions replace aging form factors at both the consumer and professional ends. In turn, those designs and compelling Intel-based underpinnings helped the firm sell nearly 3 million MacBook and MacBook Pros during the 2006 fiscal year, boosting its share of the U.S. notebook market to over 10 percent.

Apple has no plans to relent in its assault on the notebook sector in 2007 and has arranged to boost it 15-inch MacBook Pro models with more vivid L.E.D.-backlit display panels later this Spring and followup with a tiny flash-enabled ultra portable model sometime thereafter. But while 2006 was clearly the year of notebooks for the Mac maker, the electronics firm now has its sights set on high-definition digital media and plans to bring the iMac along for the ride.

It's likely for these reasons that the firm's entry-level 17-inch iMac model will reportedly become the subject of considerable neglect. People familiar with the matter are confident that the forthcoming iMac redesign will grace only the 20- and 24-inch models, which are outfitted with widescreen displays comparable to smaller living room television sets. The 17-inch iMac, those people say, will enter a state of limbo that could ultimately phase it out of the lineup entirely, condemning it to the same fate as the 12-inch PowerBook.

Apple's current line of iMac personal computers includes 17-, 20- and 24-inch models.

Apple's move to strike the 17-inch model from its next-generation iMac line raises a number of questions about the company's plans for education and the upcoming 2007 educational buying season. A barebones 17-inch iMac has been outfitted to fill the role of the company's primary desktop offering for educational institutions ever since the eMac hit the chopping block last spring. It retails for just $899, or about 10 percent less than the 17-inch model available to the general public.Â*

Going forward, Apple may choose to keep a revision of the 17-inch iMac afloat specifically for education sales. Alternatively, another scenario would see the Mac maker adhere to some aggressive cost scrubbing measures in order to deliver a version of its new 20-inch offering that would sell for considerably less than the $1399 currently quoted for a 20-inch model on the Apple educational online store.Â*

Also uncertain is precisely when Apple intends to drop the new iMac line into market. It appears, however, the systems are tracking as hardware-side complements to the company's next-generation Leopard operating system release which, based purely on conjecture, may not be ready until May at best.

In the meantime, indications that Apple could be ready to unleash new hardware offerings as early as next month have already turned heads in international markets, where a shortage of iMacs and other Mac systems in Europe were recently met by unusual iMac price cuts at some big-box Canadian resellers. There's also been a buzz State-side, where sources at some of the largest online retailers have passed on the word that Mac inventories could be constrained early next month ahead of major product refreshes.

Apple last updated its iMac offerings in September, when it equipped the 17- and 20-inch models with Core 2 Duo processors from Intel and added a dazzling new 24-inch widescreen model atop the line.
post #2 of 284
maybe chin will be gone.

but what I really want in new iMac would be touch screen.
post #3 of 284
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post #4 of 284
Perfect! My 800MHz G4 is starting to show it's age (almost 5 years old) and a slimmed down 20" iMac would suit my needs just fine. I was planning on waiting for Leopard before I bought anyway, so if this story is somewhat accurate, it will work out great. I'm so excited now!
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post #5 of 284
Finally this is the type of news I've been waiting for since last year, new apple hardware. I think they should still produce the 17 inch imac and just rename it the emac, like they did with the imac g3 design in the original emac.

Let's let the mockups fly!
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post #6 of 284
I've been waiting for an iMac look refresh for a long time now. I know I'm not the only one that finds it kind of ugly and especially unappealing to a business environment. I just hope that newer, slimmer versions still come with a full size hard drive. I won't even mention a color change.
post #7 of 284
What new/un-obvious information is this write-up giveing us?
post #8 of 284
Wow I sure hope this is true, I have been waiting since September to buy a Mac. I really was waiting for Leopard but this would sweeten the deal quite a bit!

syklee26: I do not see the appeal of a touch screen at all. In fact if it were touchscreen I would be very disappointed.

onlooker: What did you mean by this? What does it have to do with a new iMac? Are you suggesting that the new iMac may be revealed during the Adobe webcast?
post #9 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by MauiMac View Post

What new/un-obvious information is this write-up giveing us?

new design coming.

heck it could just be 'black'. This says nothing.
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post #10 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by MauiMac View Post

What new/un-obvious information is this write-up giveing us?

The potential removal of the "inexpensive" 17" iMac is quite interesting (and scary). It makes me wonder how Apple plans to compete in the edu market and the entry-level market...
post #11 of 284
its about time
post #12 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by syklee26 View Post

maybe chin will be gone.

but what I really want in new iMac would be touch screen.



the chin, the chin, the chin.......


you get the most elegant desktop in the world and the only thing discussed the the 'chin'

Give a good reason to get rid of it.

I actually think there are a number of functional reasons for it. The primary reason of the chin is to lower the centre of gravity of the iMac to improve stability whilst maintaining the screen at a higher level. The second reason (although I am just making this up now!) is that some componants that are relatively thick can be located in the lower portion of the body and occupy space otherwise occupied by the screen. Another reason is to have a prominant place for branding.

But that why I thing the chin, in the current form factor, is relevant.

Please.... reasons for its removal... anyone (and not simply that it is ugly(unless you care to articulate why it is ugly)) come on, this could be fun!

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post #13 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by orange whip View Post

the chin, the chin, the chin.......


you get the most elegant desktop in the world and the only thing discussed the the 'chin'

articulate why it is ugly)) come on, this could be fun!

Orange, I am so with you on this. For the life of me I will never understand how someone could think the current iMac design is ugly. If we are just judging physical appearance, it puts the entire PC industry to shame. If Apple's flagship model is so ugly, why is Apple known for having such beautiful hardware and the best industrial designs? Isn't that ONE of the things as Mac fans that we take pride in?
post #14 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by docprego View Post

Wow I sure hope this is true, I have been waiting since September to buy a Mac.

Since September, huh? Well why didn't you just buy one of the new Core 2 Duo iMac's or the brand new 24" iMac that was released that month? Did you not notice they were out?
post #15 of 284
I was just about to post a thread on future iMacs.

Future Shop, Canada's largest retail electronics chain (now owned by Best Buy) has started running wall to wall tv advertising saying that "all iMacs are on sale this week."

As far as I can remember, this is unprecedented. Putting ALL iMacs on sale has not been done before.

Something big is definitely coming.
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post #16 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by KD86 View Post

Orange, I am so with you on this. For the life of me I will never understand how someone could think the current iMac design is ugly. If we are just judging physical appearance, it puts the entire PC industry to shame. If Apple's flagship model is so ugly, why is Apple known for having such beautiful hardware and the best industrial designs? Isn't that ONE of the things as Mac fans that we take pride in?

I am right here with both of you. It's not even a large space... people forget the Entire computer is in that thing. It's not a winblows box and screen, it's an elegant, sleek, very personal computer. I would welcome a new design but I would never say the current iMac is ugly in any way, shape, or form. I think the problem is that when one gets so much of a good thing, one starts to expect even better things to be wow-ed by. Apple consistently puts out phenomenal products so of course people try to find the one thing wrong in order to look forward to the next best thing. Just my two cents
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post #17 of 284
I love almost all Apple products, but I hate the iMac chin. From a design standpoint, it's wasted space. I predict you will only be able to see a very nice mount and the display. One plug, wireless keyboard, mouse, and remote. Positively perfect, with not an ounce of wasted space. Drool.
post #18 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by krankerz View Post

Since September, huh? Well why didn't you just buy one of the new Core 2 Duo iMac's or the brand new 24" iMac that was released that month? Did you not notice they were out?

Because I wanted to wait for Leopard, that was my main motivation. I also felt that Leopard would bring exciting new hardware with it at launch, looks like I might have been right.
post #19 of 284
As cool as this news is I don't see the iMac as the next update to Mac line.

Adobe is releasing CS3 on March 27th, and NAB is on April 14th. I think we'll see Mac Pro's at NAB for sure now - along with most of the Apple Pro Application updates. Now that Adobe has CS3 ready Apple will hopefully follow suit immediately. Apple is holding a special event at NAB on April 15th. Apple at NAB
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post #20 of 284
I was waiting for Leopard anyway to get my first iMac, but it looks like I'll now have another reason to wait

I just hope they keep the 24" model at $2000, because that's my price point.
post #21 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by docprego View Post

Because I wanted to wait for Leopard, that was my main motivation. I also felt that Leopard would bring exciting new hardware with it at launch, looks like I might have been right.

I hope you're right....I really hope we see a nice jump in GPU specs.
post #22 of 284
Finally a story that isn't about the accursed iPhone...
post #23 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmpizzle View Post

I love almost all Apple products, but I hate the iMac chin.

I love the chin. For two reasons:

1. I have JBL Encounter speakers, and the chin places the screen high enough so that the speakers don't block any of the screen real estate.

2. It's a great place to hang yellow sticky notes on occasion.

If they decide to remove the chin, all I care is that the screen is at the same height as before. Or that the new form factor allows some adjustment of the screen up and down. That would be most welcome.

GTSC
post #24 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalf the Semi-Coherent View Post

I love the chin. For two reasons:

1. I have JBL Encounter speakers, and the chin places the screen high enough so that the speakers don't block any of the screen real estate.

2. It's a great place to hang yellow sticky notes on occasion.

If they decide to remove the chin, all I care is that the screen is at the same height as before. Or that the new form factor allows some adjustment of the screen up and down. That would be most welcome.

GTSC

GTSC (hah! love the name) :: you have some excellent feedback there. :thumbs up:

However, I am afraid the chin will be gone. Chin is old skool, IMHO (not that I am a product design expert, but I sense Apple Design will do away with it, they view the chin as old school and it makes the screen look smaller and not as wide as sexy shiny widescreen LCDs/ HDTVs etc.
post #25 of 284
I'll say it here for the sake of posters who would otherwise say it (beat you to it !! hah!)

MID TOWER
MID TOWER
MID TOWER
GPU OPTIONS
MID TOWER
MID TOWER
MID TOWER
NO SCREEN
I GOT SEPARATE
SCREEN
I DON'T WANT SCREEN
MID TOWER
MID TOWER
FAST GPU
SLI
CROSSFIRE
MID TOWER!!!

post #26 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by jApple View Post

The potential removal of the "inexpensive" 17" iMac is quite interesting (and scary). It makes me wonder how Apple plans to compete in the edu market and the entry-level market...


A rumour makes you scared? Not me. I know that as much as I enjoy visiting these rumour sites, they are almost never accurate and only fodder for the imagination. Nothing more.
post #27 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by rpm16601 View Post

Finally a story that isn't about the accursed iPhone...

Dude, totally. Final-fracking-ly.
post #28 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gandalf the Semi-Coherent View Post

I love the chin ...
It's a great place to hang yellow sticky notes on occasion.

This is actually what I use my iMac chin for. I have about 6 hanging htere right now. Also, the Apple remote hangs mostly in the chin region ... and the big Apple logo is on the chin ... isn't that also where the power brick is? I dunno ... it'll be interesting to see what the design looks like, but leave it to Ive and his buch to do something completely sexy

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post #29 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

AppleInsider has learned that Apple's popular line of iMac personal computers are about to undergo a substantial facelift that will showcase striking new industrial designs aimed at leaving both competitors and onlookers smitten.

if it has multi touch i will buy my first iMac, then wait for the tablet..... i can dream
post #30 of 284
How about adding an touchscreen dock on the chin for the new iMacs?
post #31 of 284
The chin may have to turn into a forehead if the iMac is going to pivot/slide down to a desk surface/lap position, unless it's current position works as a wrist rest. I'm talking about the iMac going multi-touch ofcourse.
post #32 of 284
OK, but where, exactly, is the "fat" in the current design that Ives is supposedly being charged with removing?

We know Steve is absolutely obsessed with making everything as small and thin as possible, so it's not like the "chin" was some arbitrary element-- clearly the current iMac needs the space so it can be thin as possible (the alternative would be to drop the chin and make the whole machine about an inch thicker).

And we know that getting overly aggressive about pushing the size/heat dissipation envelope has caused problems with thermal management on some earlier machines.

So even if new iMacs are using the latest Intel chipset, I don't recall reading about radical reductions in power consumption/heat, so how do you make everything smaller without it melting?

People are acting like the current machine's size was just aesthetics, but if they could have made it any smaller, they would have. I can't see what's changed that would allow that shrink now. Redesign, new colors, move things around, new materials, sure. But radically downsized? Don't buy it.
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post #33 of 284
As soon as they are out, I'll buy them.
'nuff said.
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post #34 of 284
What's that? "Little bird" may be right after all? Quick, European guy for an interview at AI!
post #35 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by MauiMac View Post

What new/un-obvious information is this write-up giveing us?

Here it is:

Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider

For Apple, the impending iMac makeover will represent the first major industrial design overhaul to hit its flagship all-in-one consumer desktop line in nearly three years.
post #36 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by jApple View Post

The potential removal of the "inexpensive" 17" iMac is quite interesting (and scary). It makes me wonder how Apple plans to compete in the edu market and the entry-level market...

This could mean that the 20" model will replace it in 1-2 years from now (that is, at the 17" price point of today).
post #37 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmpizzle View Post

I love almost all Apple products, but I hate the iMac chin. From a design standpoint, it's wasted space.

I don't see what you are trying to say, but there are vital components in there. Now this does not mean that Apple could not finish an improved design in the last three years for the next iMac generation.
post #38 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunilraman View Post

I'll say it here for the sake of posters who would otherwise say it (beat you to it !! hah!)

MID TOWER
MID TOWER
MID TOWER
GPU OPTIONS
MID TOWER
MID TOWER
MID TOWER
NO SCREEN
I GOT SEPARATE
SCREEN
I DON'T WANT SCREEN
MID TOWER
MID TOWER
FAST GPU
SLI
CROSSFIRE
MID TOWER!!!


Everything except SLI. I doubt any Mac programs would be compiled specifically for it so it would be largely useless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by orange whip

the chin, the chin, the chin.......

you get the most elegant desktop in the world and the only thing discussed the the 'chin'

Give a good reason to get rid of it.

It doesn't look as good as Sony's 'iMac', which has no chin and the same spec as the iMac. Even if they get rid of it, you can still hang stickies off the bottom like other LCD owners.

I suspected that they would get rid of the 17" iMac after seeing the insides. I don't think they could design the 17" without a chin but the 20" and 24" are easy. All they have to do is reduce the price of the 20" by £300. Now if they offer GMA and a combo drive and a smaller HD in the lower model, I think they'd be able to pull that off. Even if it was just £200 cheaper, I'm sure people wouldn't mind paying an extra £100 for a 20" machine.

My only concern over losing the chin is that the iMac may sound worse. ATM, the iMac is the best sounding machine in Apple's lineup.
post #39 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by syklee26 View Post

but what I really want in new iMac would be touch screen.

I really cannot understand what is this obsession with touch-technology in computer displays. A touch screen can only simplify basic operations. A computer is a much more complicated device needing more refined input methods. And what about finger prints on a 24" display?
post #40 of 284
Quote:
Originally Posted by onlooker View Post

As cool as this news is I don't see the iMac as the next update to Mac line.

Once again, I think I agree with onlooker's assessment. I would expect the iMacs coming hand in hand with Leopard.
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