What We Expect
Apple's next iMac is expected to be introduced at the company's October 23 media event, although it is unclear exactly when the new models will be available. We've been hearing that the 21.5-inch models will be availability immediately, while new 27-inch models may not launch until several weeks later.
According to a report from earlier this month, the new iMacs will see a redesign of the iMac that has retained the same general form factor since 2007. The new iMacs are said to be thinner than the existing models, with a more curved rear shell resembling a water droplet rather than the squared-off edges of the current design. The new iMac will adopt Intel's Ivy Bridge processors and USB 3.0 support, but ultra-high resolution Retina displays are not expected in this round of updates.
Pricing for the new iMacs will remain the same as current models.
Rumors of an iMac update began to ramp up in earnest in early 2012 as the launch of Intel's Ivy Bridge chips neared, with some reports pegging a June target for updated iMacs. Details on the updates beyond Ivy Bridge remained scant, although one report indicated that Apple was looking at including anti-reflective glass on the front of the machine.
Rumors of an imminent iMac update gained steam in mid-May with the discovery of a Geekbench benchmark for what appeared to be a genuine 27-inch iMac running an Ivy Bridge processor.
Rumors and part numbers appearing just prior to Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in early June offered hope that the iMac would be seeing updates at the event, but the new models did not appear at the event.
In the wake of WWDC, a pair of reports suggested that the iMac and Mac Pro would see their next updates in 2013, but Apple took the unusual step of clarifying the issue to note that only the Mac Pro was expected to see its next update in 2013, keeping the door open for an iMac update in the second half of 2012.
In the following weeks, reports began surfacing suggesting that the next iMac update would not include Retina displays and would be arriving in the fall of 2012. Additional reports supported the notion of an iMac update in the September-October timeframe.
As that timeframe approached, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was the first to claim that the new 21.5-inch and 27-inch models may not launch simultaneously, with a new lamination process designed to increase display quality reportedly proving more challenging for the larger displays than the smaller ones.
Production on the new iMacs was rumored to have begun ramping up by mid-September, although sources were still pointing to issues with the displays on the 27-inch models. With a fresh report sharing alleged details of a late October launch and a photo of the machine's internals, as well as sightings of part numbers that seem to represent new iMacs, it appears the Apple's October 23 media event is indeed the target date.