updated 10:30 am EST, Mon January 26, 2009
Kaufman Bros on New iMac
Apple is nearing the release of its redesigned iMac but may not stick with the quad-core processors rumored for the system, Kaufman Bros. senior analyst Shaw Wu says. Investigations within the supply chain suggest that Apple is "almost ready" to launch updated iMacs but is still determining whether it will use the low-power Core 2 Quads introduced just last week or else will use faster Core 2 Duos with extra cache, though it's not known whether these last chips would be desktop or mobile parts.
The all-in-one desktops are "almost ready" and may show before March but are being held up by business issues as well as a possible "small technical hurdle" that isn't explained. Casing changes are expected by anonymous sources to be minor at best, though the added heat from any desktop processor choices is said to potentially require an updated cooling system.
No other details of the system are available, though Apple has already slipped out system files that hint the iMac is likely to use an NVIDIA platform in its next update.
Regardless of inside knowledge, Wu explains that Apple's disappointing desktop sales from the fall quarter will likely require a new iMac in the near future to spark sales, which have sagged in the absence of an update. Sales of iMacs, Mac minis and Mac Pros dropped about 25 percent year over year but were countered by a 34 percent increase in MacBook sales.
Separately, the Kaufman researcher also notes that Microsoft's $100 million drop in Zune sales from year to year has likely handed Apple "considerable" additional iPod market share, as the latter's sales ultimately increased 3 percent annually despite declining holiday spending by the public and frequent attempts by Microsoft to promote the Zune and discount models.
Wu maintains a "buy" recommendation for Apple stock and a $120 price target he deems cautious.