updated 01:59 pm EDT, Tue October 23, 2012
iMac loses optical drive, gets Ivy Bridge processors
At the Apple event, the iMac got its first refresh in three years. It will now get Intel's Ivy Bridge Core i5 and Core i7 processors. The edges of the computer are just 5mm thick, with the new computer 80 percent thinner than the earlier one. Apple had to use a new production method to fuse the display with the glass, eliminating the air gap. As before, the iMac will be available in a 21.5- and 27-inch screen size.
The smaller model has 1080p resolution, while the larger one crams in 2,560x1,400 pixels. An anti-reflective coating was added to the display via plasma deposition. It's touted to reduce reflections by 75 percent and all are said to be individually calibrated before shipping. Finally, the IPS display is said to offer 178-degree viewing angles and 300 nits of brightness.
Otherwise, there is a 720p front camera embedded along with dual microphones and stereo speakers. Also found inside the iMac is NVIDIA's GeForce 600-level graphics and as much as 32GB of RAM.
A new Fusion Drive will be offered for the first time. It combines 128GB of flash storage and either a 1TB or 3TB hard drive fused into a single volume. It offers faster read and write speeds than just a hard drive, and its operation is seamless. The computer is said to learn the most commonly used programs and tasks by a user and prioritize them by placing them in the flash partition. Otherwise, users can opt for a 768GB SSD or a number of hard drives that top out at 3TB in capacity. An optical drive is gone, with an external one that connects over USB available.
The starting price of the iMac has gone up by $100, with the new models costing a minimum of $1,299. The smaller model ships in November, with the larger one due in December, with prices for that one starting at $1,799. Both get 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drives standard, with the 21.5-inch model powered by a 2.7GHz i5 CPU, while the 27.5-inch version getting a 2.9GHz processor.