Apple's next iMacs rumored with compelling new features

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
A couple of new features rumored to be in the cards for Apple's forthcoming iMac refresh will up the value proposition for prospective buyers in the market for an all-in-one desktop system, AppleInsider has been told.



One of those features is said to have long been on the wish-lists of many Mac users while the other is expected to cater to the semi-professional audio/video crowd. This is according to cryptic tips from people often familiar with the Mac maker's future product initiatives, but who declined to elaborate because they were not authorized to discuss the matter in detail.



Still, both features have been characterized as significant announcements in their own right, leading some industry-watchers polled by AppleInsider to wonder whether the former of the two will finally see the Cupertino-based company embrace technology once described by chief executive Steve Jobs as "a bag of hurt."



Either way, the new iMac offerings are expected to follow a trend set this spring with the introduction of new MacBook Pros, by which Apple simultaneously shaved retail costs while offering more value through added features such as better battery technology, higher-quality displays, and improved I/O functionality.



So how is Apple, renowned for its traditionally high gross profit margins, managing to achieve this flexibility amid the sharpest economic downturn in its corporate history? Independent analyst Turley Muller, who out-scored all of his colleagues on Wall Street in predicting the company's third-quarter results, is chalking it all up to the iPhone.



He believes the latest touch-screen handsets generate profits so high -- estimated at nearly 60% for the 32GB iPhone 3GS -- that the proceeds from sales of the devices are helping Apple absorbed and offset margin hits in the highly-competitive personal computer market.



"Going forward Apple will recognize higher iPhone revenue carrying a higher gross margin," Muller said. "As iPhone revenue as a percentage or share of total revenue increases, the impact of the higher iPhone (gross margin) on overall (gross margin) will intensify. This will assuage margin pressures Apple faces in other areas."



For example, he added, "we just witnessed, Apple cut prices on its Mac line-up, and there hasn't appeared to be any noticeable impact on overall (gross margins),"



Those price cuts, which were first reported by AppleInsider months before they became official, helped Apple drive sales of more than 1.75 million notebooks for the three-month period ended June, representing 13% yearly unit growth. The MacBook momentum also helped the company set a third-quarter Mac sales record of just over 2.6 million Macs with desktop units factored into the mix.



And while it's true that the future of Mac computing is heavily weighted towards portables, recent data points out of the Far East suggest that Apple enjoys a commanding lead over its peers in the realm of all-in-one desktop systems -- one which it's undeniably looking to fortify.



The Chinese-language Commercial Times reported last month that Apple is expected to ship 3 million of the integrated desktops during the course of 2009, representing nearly half of the 6.5 million all-in-one systems that will be sold this year.



Meanwhile, Apple is simultaneously said to be working on an industrial design overhaul for the iMac line which could arrive as early as this year, possibly as part of the aforementioned refresh. This much has not been corroborated by insiders with any degree of certainty, however. Indications would point to slimmer, sleeker designs akin to the company's relatively new 24-inch LED-lit Cinema Display.



Also in the queue



Apple's much-anticipated tablet device coming early next year

Apple may extend antiglare display option to more Macs

Briefly: more affordable iMacs from Apple expected by fall

Apple listing implies iPod touch to eventually gain digital camera

Apple procuring video camera modules for next-gen iPod touch
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 232
    successsuccess Posts: 1,039member
    First post
  • Reply 2 of 232
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    Quote:

    Still, both features have been characterized as significant announcements in their own right, leading some industry-watchers polled by AppleInsider to wonder whether the former of the two will finally see the Cupertino-based company embrace technology once described by chief executive Steve Jobs as "a bag of hurt."



    Blu-Ray.



    I wonder what changed?
  • Reply 3 of 232
    floccusfloccus Posts: 138member
    Personally, I could see Apple putting a Blu-ray writer in the iMacs and Mac Pros, but I think that would cater more towards the professionals. An awesome consumer iMac feature would obviously be a multi-touch screen. Even if offered only on a high end iMac that cost ~$3K, it would probably be pretty compelling. I mean, people are plunking down 1K to get 8GB of ram, why not an extra 1500 for a 24" multi-touch iMac?
  • Reply 4 of 232
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    I'm still hoping that Snow Leopard will announced with blu-ray support and all new macs will at least have a build to order blu-ray option. I'll be looking to buy a mini to sit under my TV within the next year or so, it would be great to get it with blu-ray.
  • Reply 5 of 232
    cmf2cmf2 Posts: 1,427member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Amorph View Post


    Blu-Ray.



    I wonder what changed?



    The licensing structure for one.
  • Reply 6 of 232
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Amorph View Post


    Blu-Ray.



    I wonder what changed?



    It's just a guess by some people we asked.



    K
  • Reply 7 of 232
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Amorph View Post


    Blu-Ray.



    I wonder what changed?



    blu-ray drives are cheaper. i saw one at newegg last week for $58. If apple buys 5 million a year then say $20 per drive for them. or maybe less
  • Reply 8 of 232
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,157member
    Well, I remember the dissapointment that was the last refresh, I am still using a 17" core2duo iMac, until they get some decent hardware into the mix I wont upgrade.



    Still hard not to get excited about an iMac update!
  • Reply 9 of 232
    kasperkasper Posts: 941member, administrator
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Amorph View Post


    Blu-Ray.



    I wonder what changed?



    Good to see you back, btw



    K
  • Reply 10 of 232
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Meanwhile, Apple is simultaneously said to be working on an industrial design overhaul for the iMac line which could arrive as early as this year, possibly as part of the aforementioned refresh. This much has not been corroborated by insiders with any degree of certainty, however. Indications would point to slimmer, sleeker designs akin to the company's relatively new 24-inch LED-lit Cinema Display.



    Joy. An even slimmer design. I guess the likelihood that the iMac will ever get a Quad Core is going down. The iMac doesn't use current 45W Penryn Core 2 Quad or the special 65W desktop Core 2 Quads and Nehalem based quad cores aren't much better at 95W for Lynnfield and 55W/45W for mobile Clarksdale. Further thinning the iMac which will likely further reduce thermal room won't help any.
  • Reply 11 of 232
    rokkenrokken Posts: 236member
    I wonder if we are going to see a Mac Mini refresh alongside iMac or have to wait another two years :/
  • Reply 12 of 232
    biggest pain is to get clips from a DVD movie into iMovie.

    How about Apple start with home movie DVDs without the encryption so I can get family DVD movies into iMovie for further editing. Worry about the DRM of commercial DVDs later!
  • Reply 13 of 232
    quadra 610quadra 610 Posts: 6,745member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Amorph View Post


    Blu-Ray.



    I wonder what changed?



    Blu Ray?



    What, to just play $30+ Blu Ray discs, or to rip to your high capacity HD?
  • Reply 14 of 232
    zunxzunx Posts: 620member
    NO glossy screens, PLEASE!

    At least two FireWire 800 ports.

    Quad core processor.

    QUIET.



    And, of course, a SUPER Mac mini or a Mac mini TOWER. That is, a headless Mac that is QUIET.
  • Reply 15 of 232
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ltcommander.data View Post


    Joy. An even slimmer design. I guess the likelihood that the iMac will ever get a Quad Core is going down. The iMac doesn't use current 45W Penryn Core 2 Quad or the special 65W desktop Core 2 Quads and Nehalem based quad cores aren't much better at 95W for Lynnfield and 55W/45W for mobile Clarksdale. Further thinning the iMac which will likely further reduce thermal room won't help any.



    check out Intel's CPU roadmap at AnandTech or Tom's Hardware. I think they are supposed to go all quad core on consumer PC's this fall and a new generation of CPU's on a new manufacturing process next spring.



    And the 9400M is getting very old and it's very slow compared to modern GPU's. and I don't think it even supports PhysX. there is probably another integrated solution now.
  • Reply 16 of 232
    anonymouseanonymouse Posts: 6,581member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    One of those features is said to have long been on the wish-lists of many Mac users while the other is expected to cater to the semi-professional audio/video crowd. [...]



    Still, both features have been characterized as significant announcements in their own right, leading some industry-watchers polled by AppleInsider to wonder whether the former of the two will finally see the Cupertino-based company embrace technology once described by chief executive Steve Jobs as "a bag of hurt."



    [...]



    Meanwhile, Apple is simultaneously said to be working on an industrial design overhaul for the iMac line which could arrive as early as this year, possibly as part of the aforementioned refresh. This much has not been corroborated by insiders with any degree of certainty, however. Indications would point to slimmer, sleeker designs akin to the company's relatively new 24-inch LED-lit Cinema Display.



    So, anti-glare screens and blu-ray in an iMac Air? Maybe someone will make a carrying case for it like those big soft boxes with shoulder straps they used to sell for the original Macs.
  • Reply 17 of 232
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Amorph View Post


    Blu-Ray.



    I wonder what changed?



    perhaps merely that Blu-ray hasn't crashed and burned. it actually looks like it is going to have a market.



    that said, I can't see them putting it in all machines. I can see it in the Pro and perhaps the highest 24", perhaps as a custom option on the others.



    as for the thinner comments. the thickness is due to the components so it likely won't change too much. not until they go solid state, which is also something I could see being a custom feature at least on the higher end. prices are coming down enough it's possible.



    a +3 ghz processor on the high end would be nice. more harddrive and cheaper ram (that upgrade to 8gb is a hurt right now), all probably in the pipe.



    touch screen imacs I don't really see as a high market. perhaps an option on the displays for businesses, but I would think that a matte finish option is more wanted than touch screen. again at least as a custom choice for the high end 24" and the display.



    and a 30" display and/or 30" imac would probably have some market, particularly if prices came down
  • Reply 18 of 232
    I think the following would work well for the iMacs, you guys have any feature thoughts?



    - Slimmer design

    - Blu-Ray drives

    - SD Card Slot Reader

    - Full LED Displays (currently still LCD+inverter assemblies)

    - Backlit keyboard optional

    - 2.0MP iSight Camera

    - Quad-Core option



    Brian
  • Reply 19 of 232
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,215member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SFSwitcher View Post


    biggest pain is to get clips from a DVD movie into iMovie.

    How about Apple start with home movie DVDs without the encryption so I can get family DVD movies into iMovie for further editing. Worry about the DRM of commercial DVDs later!



    DRM and the ripping unfortunately go hand in hand to some degree. which is why it's not officially supported.



    Maybe one day



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brianmaier View Post


    I think the following would work well for the iMacs, you guys have any feature thoughts?



    - Slimmer design

    - Blu-Ray drives

    - SD Card Slot Reader

    - Full LED Displays (currently still LCD+inverter assemblies)

    - Backlit keyboard optional

    - 2.0MP iSight Camera

    - Quad-Core option



    if you are looking for professional features, an express slot to attach esata would be on the list. perhaps that SD card slot could be switched on order for such use.
  • Reply 20 of 232
    One thing that many Mac users have had on their wish list for a long time is cable-in. That would represent a big philosophical change on Apple's part, since integrating cable TV goes against Apple's iTunes-only approach to content.



    There have been rumors in the past that Apple would get into the HDTV market and an iMac is basically an HDTV with no cable-in, so it would make sense that iMac would be the Mac that would get the full HDTV treatment.



    I don't think this will be a feature on the next iMac, but it's not out of the question.



    Personally, I would rather see Apple go the Comcast-killer/Netflix-killer route -- introduce a flat-price package for TV content that includes live sports and news content AND work out better arrangements with the studios for a more complete rental catalog.
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