The new iMac

The pre-event rumours around today’s Apple event in San Jose may have focussed on the iPad mini, however the smart money was on other product updates as well, including the iMac. Apple certainly didn’t disappoint.

Apple iMac side profile

Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing sums it up in short:

“With a stunning design, brilliant display and faster performance, we’ve made the world’s leading all-in-one desktop computer better in every way, The all-new iMac is unbelievably thin, yet packs an incredible amount of performance and technology into our most innovative desktop.”

The current iMac design is the 7th generation since the original colourful all-in-ones so many years ago.

In 2012, the new iMac is dramatically thinner, including a thin edge at the back of the unit which bulges out in the centre. Inside the device has been updated with Intel’s Ivy Bridge i5 or i7 processors, USB 3 ports and dual Thunderbolt ports.

There is one big thing missing, though: The optical drive.

With the new 8th Generation iMac you will need an external CD/DVD reader. It’s unlikely to put people off purchasing, but it will mean some additional thought about that external accessory.

Perhaps the most exciting feature is the Hybrid hard drive, even though the technology has been around for a while.

No, this is not a petrol/electric kind of Hybrid, it’s a Solid State (SSD) and Spinning Disk (HDD) combination.

SSD hard drives are expensive, so optioning them into your PC adds a lot of cost. Plus, they are quite small in capacity compared to a traditional HDD.

The benefit of SSD though is super fast launch times for applications and files. What a hybrid drive (“Fusion drive” being Apple’s brand name for it) does is give you enough SSD space for your applications and frequently used files (128GB) and a huge amount of HDD space for the rest (1TB up to 3TB)

Using a bit of genius built in, the drive monitors your usage over time and moves your most common files to the SSD portion to enhance your overall performance. Essentially, its SSD speed, HDD space for a lower price than exclusively using SSD.

The 21.5 inch iMac is available in November. Prices start at $1429, if you want the 27-inch you will have to wait until December with prices for that one starting at $1999 upwards.


Trevor Long travelled to San Jose as a guest of Apple