New iMacs on the way?

Apple's iMac computersSeems my earlier post was somewhat premature. A couple of tweets from CNET’s Brian Tong are fueling speculation that new iMacs are possibly on their way to the US, with an expected début in late April or early May.

Over at MacNews, Dennis Sellers has made predictions that the new iMacs will feature dual or quad-core Sandy Bridge processors. At the low-end of the price spectrum would be 21″ models running dual-core Intel Core i5 CPUs at 2.3 and 2.7 GHz, while the high-end would feature 27″ iMacs with quad-core Intel Core i7 CPUs at 2.0 and 2.3 GHz. Sellers also speculates the new iMacs will come with Thunderbolt I/O (the fast new I/O standard has already made a début on the latest MacBook Pro models). This latter one is a bit of a no-brainer really.

So, will we see these new iMacs anytime soon over here n the UK and if so, at what price. The current models are priced as follows:

  • 21.5-inch; 3.06GHz; Intel Core i3; AMD Radeon HD 4670 with 256MB for £1,020.00
  • 21.5-inch; 3.2GHz; Intel Core i3; AMD Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB for £1,276.00
  • 27-inch; 3.2GHz; Intel Core i3; AMD Radeon HD 5670 with 512MB for £1,429.00
  • 27-inch; 2.8GHz; Quad-core Intel Core i5; AMD Radeon HD 5750 with 1GB for £1,684

First thing I would say is that, as well as the CPU upgrade, the graphics need an upgrade too. The Radeon 4670 is looking somewhat long in the tooth now and should be replaced. The same could be said about the 5000 series models in the rest of the range. My expectation (hope) would be that we would see 6000 series graphic cards in the new models; certainly in the higher end models. Whether Apple goes with just the Intel HD Graphics 3000 in the two 21.5-inch models or not is hard to say. In my view, they should go with AMD 6000 series graphics across the range. My guess is that they would opt for the following:

  • 21.5-inch; 3.1GHz; Intel Core i5; AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 256MB GDDR5
  • 21.5-inch; 3.3GHz; Intel Core i5; AMD Radeon HD 6490M with 512MB GDDR5
  • 27-inch; 2.8GHz; Intel Core i7; AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5
  • 27-inch; 3.4GHz; Intel Core i7; AMD Radeon HD 6750M with 1GB GDDR5

If I am right (and I am just guessing here – no sources I am afraid, just looking at Intel’s spec for the Sandy Bridge range and what’s in the current MacBook Pro range), then these specifications represent a significant upgrade. If Apple can manage to keep the price points the same, then with the addition of Thunderbolt we would have some cracking hardware on our hands!

Here’s hoping for a nice Easter surprise.