Due next from Apple: refreshed 20- and 24-inch iMacs

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Assuming last minute snags are avoided, the coming weeks should bring new iMacs, rounding out Apple's 2008 hardware introductions as the company enters the holiday shopping season with one of its strongest product portfolios ever.



Avid AppleInsider readers will notice that our little 2008 hardware roadmap -- published back in August and reprinted below -- has thus far panned out quite nicely, clearing the way for new iMac models to edge their way to market sometime in the next four weeks.



People familiar with the company's plans have said changes to the iMac family will largely consist of performance improvements and technology refreshes. And while there's admittedly been few concrete details to go by since the August report, this week's notebook overhauls offer a window into the future of the iMac line, which sports an architectural resemblance to the MacBook lines.



CPU



While the processors used in the existing iMacs largely resemble those of Intel's current Montevina-based offerings, they're actually a special run of the chipmaker's Santa Rosa-based offerings developed at Apple's request. They operate at high clock speeds and support a faster 1066MHz bus versus the 800MHz of the Santa Rosa-based parts that were available to the broader market at the time.



Since then, Intel has unleashed its Montevina (Centrino 2) platform, which umbrellas new Core 2 Duos that are shipping inside the new unibody MacBooks, and are destined for the fall iMac line at clock speeds close to those currently available.



Intel has also been working diligently on quad-core mobile chips that should eventually find their way into iMacs, especially around next year's release of Snow Leopard; the operating system will include Grand Central technology designed to leverage Macs with an increasing number of processor cores.*



As it stands, the chipmaker currently offers a quad-core 2.53GHz Core 2 Extreme mobile processor that sports a similar thermal envelope to the special run 3.06GHz Core 2 Duo employed by the existing top-of-the-line iMac. With its $1000+ price tag, however, Apple may be hesitant to use the chip even if there*doesn't appear to be anything else stopping the firm from adopting the chip this year for a high-end iMac.







DisplayPort



Processor performance aside, Tuesday's MacBook introductions hinted at a couple of other technologies that should find their way into iMacs. The first is DisplayPort, a new royalty-free, digital audio/video interconnect that chief executive Steve Jobs noted would be built into every suitable product Apple develops.



"This is what we're going to for all video out on all of our products. It's pretty outstanding," he said during Tuesday's event. "We can do everything [a full-size DVI] connector can do and more -- including driving 30-inch displays -- out of something a fraction of its size. Now the new industry standard Mini DisplayPort. We're building it into everything we make."



Graphics



The other potential but less certain technology advancement would be a move towards more of NVIDIA's latest graphics technologies. The Mac maker is clearly impressed by the chipmaker's latest offerings.



"We said 'this is fantastic'," Jobs said of NVIDIA's pitch to Apple months ago regarding a next-generation part that initially combined the chipset with a powerful embedded graphics processor for desktop systems, not notebooks.*



Apple currently offers an ATI Radeon HD 2400 or 2600 paired with an Intel chipset as the baseline offering in existing iMacs. *An NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT is listed as a $150 build-to-order option.



It's possible Apple could use the same or a related NVIDIA controller in the iMac that it enthusiastically demonstrated in the new MacBook lines.



Apple to speak on Tuesday



The next time we hear from Apple will be on Tuesday, when the company holds a conference call with analysts and members of the media to discuss the results of its fourth fiscal quarter of 2008 and announce how many iPhone 3Gs were sold during its first three months on the market.*
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 183
    Let me be the first to ask. What about the Mac Minis? I see no mention of them.
  • Reply 2 of 183
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by VisualZone View Post


    Let me be the first to ask. What about the Mac Minis? I see no mention of them.



    Oh they'll be getting displayport too, don't you worry.
  • Reply 3 of 183
    .... When are we going to see a Mac Pro update that doesn't cram everything into the "long in the tooth" PowerMac G5 case?



    So with Display Port are we going to see the back of the Mac Pro's graphics cards feature it too? That doesn't really seem that cost effective when no one else is featuring it.
  • Reply 4 of 183
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Come to think of it, how did Apple manage to make that iMac face/frame without having to resort to hollowing out a solid block, and why didn't that carry over to the new "unibody" notebook chassis design?
  • Reply 5 of 183
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,946member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post


    .... When are we going to see a Mac Pro update that doesn't cram everything into the "long in the tooth" PowerMac G5 case?



    Crammed? It seems like they did a pretty good job with it. There isn't anything in there that makes me think that it's a kludge.



    Quote:

    So with Display Port are we going to see the back of the Mac Pro's graphics cards feature it too? That doesn't really seem that cost effective when no one else is featuring it.



    I don't think there is anything preventing ATI from releasing an updated 37xx or 47xx based board with DP.
  • Reply 6 of 183
    mcarlingmcarling Posts: 1,106member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post


    So with Display Port are we going to see the back of the Mac Pro's graphics cards feature it too? That doesn't really seem that cost effective when no one else is featuring it.



    Virtually all computers will come with DisplayPort within a few years. DisplayPort will replace DVI as effectively as DVI replaced VGA.
  • Reply 7 of 183
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post


    Come to think of it, how did Apple manage to make that iMac face/frame without having to resort to hollowing out a solid block, and why didn't that carry over to the new "unibody" notebook chassis design?



    I'm not sure what exactly you're asking... The iMac's front plate is obviously carved from a single piece of aluminum, but there's nothing about that that would "carry over" to the unibody. The novel feature of the unibody design is that there is no internal frame structurally supporting the body of the notebook; the outside plate *is* the frame.



    That's not the case with the iMac, and there's not that much need to apply the unibody blueprint to it either. It's not a portable computer subject to constant movement and pressure.



    So, long story short, the iMac just has a single-piece outside, but still uses a more traditional internal frame.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post


    .... When are we going to see a Mac Pro update that doesn't cram everything into the "long in the tooth" PowerMac G5 case?



    Which parts of the G5 design are you unhappy with? I'm honestly asking.
  • Reply 8 of 183
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macless View Post


    Oh they'll be getting displayport too, don't you worry.



    Sorry, I just had to reply to get a reaction. It seems when other Apple products get updated, the Mac Mini gets left out. Maybe it's the end of the line for the Mini?
  • Reply 9 of 183
    mknoppmknopp Posts: 257member
    I will second the ardent pleadings for a little Mac Mini Love. Seriously, around two years with nothing more than a processor bump? You are killing us Apple!



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post


    So with Display Port are we going to see the back of the Mac Pro's graphics cards feature it too? That doesn't really seem that cost effective when no one else is featuring it.



    This is not at all true. Display Port is the way that computers are moving. And while there are very few devices out there at this time which use display port there is support for it.



    http://www.displayport.org/certified...es/default.htm



    Also, I recall much the same being said when Apple moved to USB and there were very few USB devices.
  • Reply 10 of 183
    ipeonipeon Posts: 1,122member
    Let's hope FW stays.
  • Reply 11 of 183
    Uh oh... the current iMacs might be the last new ones we buy for our small retail business if they pull FireWire from the line because it's a "Pro feature."



    For our primary office system, which acts as our POS server and fileserver for common files, we're going to using an external FireWire two-drive RAID 1 box as the boot drive to the iMac. This will allow us to quickly swap in another Mac temporarily if the iMac goes down and needs repairs. (Yes, it has happened once already.)



    Although the external drive case supports FW400/FW800/USB2.0, Macs don't support booting from USB.



    Also, we do daily rotating backups using a single-drive hot-swap FireWire unit. That would also be incompatible and require additional consideration for us. Oh my.
  • Reply 12 of 183
    leppoleppo Posts: 66member
    I know you weren't asking me, but I think the G5 Mac Pro case is just way too big. It was designed that big to accommodate the liquid cooling systems for the 1.0 dualies (I had one, it burned out about 2 yrs ago), and now the extra space seems a bit unnecessary. It's great if you're a true pro that needs two optical drives and four hard drives and whatever, but I'm sure the case could use a nip and a tuck here and there, along with some modernization and sexy new lines. I believe the tiny cheese grater holes were also for cooling purposes.



    Apple is clearly letting their iphone and ipod design focus test for their other hardware. It's obviously successful and helps gain new business/switchers. "Do people like the new ipod/iphone? Great, lets make our laptops and imacs look like that. Do people like the new laptops and imacs? Great, let's do the same for our desktop machines."



    It used to be the case that desktop machine design was the company's flagship. No more, so now we wait.



    Is the case flawed, other than the size? Of course not, it's perfectly functional, but this is Apple, and I expect more than mere functionality.
  • Reply 13 of 183
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,146member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by iPeon View Post


    Let's hope FW stays.



    I think it will. The more I look at it I see the design tradeoffs that

    afflict the macbook. It's so small and compact that I believe Apple

    "could" have added FW but didn't want to go through the design

    difficulties.



    The iMac is expansive by comparison and there's no excuse not to keep

    the FW on it. In fact I'd love if they standardized on FW800 and moved to

    one of those USB/eSATA combo ports.
  • Reply 14 of 183
    msnlymsnly Posts: 378member
    I'd like to see black keys on the keyboard and either back to a black mouse like the old pro one, or maybe an aluminum one.



    That way I can get a new MBP, one of the displays, and the keyboard and mouse, and it won't look weird.
  • Reply 15 of 183
    johnqhjohnqh Posts: 242member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by HellaDude View Post




    Although the external drive case supports FW400/FW800/USB2.0, Macs don't support booting from USB.

    .



    PowerPC Macs cannot boot from USB. All Intel Macs can.
  • Reply 16 of 183
    johnqhjohnqh Posts: 242member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by johnqh View Post


    PowerPC Macs cannot boot from USB. All Intel Macs can.



    Actually, it seems I was wrong...PowerPC Macs can too



    boot PowerPC Macs from USB
  • Reply 17 of 183
    gmhutgmhut Posts: 242member
    Create the affordable mini tower we desperately need.



    or



    Make the mini big enough to put in a real graphics card and at least 8 gigs of ram, update chip.



    or



    Release an iMac with a designer grade, matte screen.



    or



    I think about going to the dark side after using Macs since 1984.







    Dear Steve J,



    Get your head out of your tuchus, stop making toys and computers for super rich yuppies or super computers for the highest of high-end pros exclusively, and come back to us pro designers and photographers in the middle who have been supporting Apple since there was Apple. You are systematically removing our workable options or pricing us into no other choice but to switch, and not the way you want. It's not the pudgy PC guy who is trying to banish the Mac kid that is costing you sales. It's YOU who are banishing me from being able to make my next computer another Mac. Your killin' me dude, and not softly.
  • Reply 18 of 183
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by KindredMac View Post


    .... When are we going to see a Mac Pro update that doesn't cram everything into the "long in the tooth" PowerMac G5 case?



    So with Display Port are we going to see the back of the Mac Pro's graphics cards feature it too? That doesn't really seem that cost effective when no one else is featuring it.



    I don't know what the hell you're talking about, but the PC industry case offerings are garbage next to the Mac Pro tower design, modularity and minimalistic need for cables.
  • Reply 19 of 183
    satchmosatchmo Posts: 2,699member
    On an aesthetic level, could they perhaps make that black Apple logo on the chin, smaller?

  • Reply 20 of 183
    macosxpmacosxp Posts: 152member
    The new iMacs are also almost certainly going to incorporate LED backlighting seeing as Apple just announced a 24" LED display and made LED standard for their MacBooks.



    LED backlighting, improved nvidia graphics, and hopefully one or two other nice surprises and a price drop will make the iMac UNSTOPPABLE!



    Oh and in the world of impossible hopes, A MULTI-TOUCH SCREEN FOR GOODNESS SAKES OR SOME KIND OF MULTI TOUCH MOUSE REPLACEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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