Apple iMac Hands On


The new iMac, built with the unibody technique, comes in two sizes, with 21.5- and 27-inch screens. It's got the same edge-to-edge glass of the MacBook Pro and will have Core 2 Duo and new Core i5/i7 quad-core options. UPDATED

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The first thing I noticed when playing with the new iMac was that the screens feel bigger and wider, as they should. Secondly, I noticed the black screen and aluminum smaller "chin". Thirdly, I noticed the wireless keyboard, which was missing the numeric keypad (compared to the wired keyboard) and the Magic Mouse. The computer itself has a few things going on that aren't apparent at a glance.

The screen is finally LED-backlit, like the Cinema Displays. And like the 24-inch Cinema Display, it does IPS (In Plane Switching), which is great for edge-to-edge viewing without color distortion. The iMac has a new trick, too—its DisplayPort can turn it into a second screen, receiving video (and audio, pending availability of 3rd party adapters) input from DVD players or a MacBook. Apple said it was HDCP compliant so it should be fine for watching Blu-rays on, via the port, via a separate player.

The 21.5-incher has a generous 1920x1080 pixels, while the 27-incher has 2560x1440 pixels. Both sit at 16:9. But most big movies are 21:9, and there's NO getting around those bars—21:9 is not even close to 16:9. But a 21:9 ratio'd screen would be weird on a desktop, no doubt. (That said, the new 16:9 ratio is nicer than the last generation's proportions.) The screen is still glossy, which means glare-y.

Compared to the last generation, the 21.5-inch is 1.1mm thinner (23mm vs. 24.1), and the 27-inch is 4.4mm thinner (27.1mm vs. 31.5mm).

Oh! There's a new remote (a $19 option), which is aluminum with black buttons, larger—like a skinny iPod nano in that same elliptical shape. It's gray.

The larger chassis allowed Apple to do two main things over the previous generation's 20- and 24-inch models: Fit in 4 RAM modules, for a total of 16GB max memory, and increase the quality of sound using the both acoustics of the case and better components. There's a noticeable difference.

There's a new SD card slot under the optical. Apple, like on the MacBook Pros, has the card sticking out a lot so you don't forget to put it back in your camera.

The case is no longer plastic on the back—it's the same metal frame as used on the front, meaning it's unibody. The black back of the previous generation made the computer appear even thinner than this one. Apple has not commented so far on the relative thinness here, so we'll have to measure later.

The other thing is, on top of Core 2 Duo configs with 3.06GHz processors (and 3.33GHz for special orders) in November Apple will ship quad-core Core i5/i7 chips at 2.66 and 2.80GHz respectively. They'll go for a lot more, but in theory, you'll be able to take advantage of those four cores using Snow Leopard's GDC tech. Apple said that non-multithreaded programs can take advantage of the chipset's ability to go "turbo"; it can speed up individual cores when the others aren't being used. This happens transparently to the user.

There are three main graphics configs in this machine, too: An Nvidia 9400m or ATI Radeon HD 4670 discrete graphics solution in the 21.5-incher, with the latter being 4x as fast, according to Apple. The 27-inch iMac has the ATI Radeon HD 4670 as its low-end card and a ATI Radeon HD 4850 on the top end. Graphics cards should have an impact on general computing, once developers start writing for the OpenCL functionality in Snow Leopard, so its a bit more important for non-gamers than in previous generations of iMacs.

That's all I can think of for now. It was a short hands on.

Apple iMac Hands On

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Apple Unveils New iMac With 21.5 and 27-inch Displays

Features LED-Backlit Displays, Available Quad-Core Processors & the New Wireless Magic Mouse

CUPERTINO, Calif., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Apple® today unveiled an all new iMac® line featuring brilliant LED-backlit 21.5 and 27-inch widescreen displays in a new edge-to-edge glass design and seamless all aluminum enclosure. The new iMac line, starting at $1,199, is the fastest ever with Intel Core 2 Duo processors starting at 3.06 GHz, and Core i5 and i7 quad-core processors for up to twice the performance.* Every new iMac ships with a wireless keyboard and the all new wireless Magic Mouse, the world's first mouse with Multi-Touch™ technology pioneered by Apple on the iPhone®, iPod touch® and Mac® notebook trackpad.

"The iMac is widely praised as the best desktop computer in the world and today we are making it even better," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "With brilliant LED displays and the revolutionary Magic Mouse, the new iMac delivers an amazing desktop experience that we think customers will love."

The new iMac features stunning LED-backlit displays with a 16:9 aspect ratio, ideal for watching high definition movies and TV shows from iTunes®, or editing and watching your own videos or photos using iLife®. The new 21.5-inch iMac features a high resolution 1920-by-1080 pixel display. The 27-inch iMac features a beautiful 2560-by-1440 pixel display that offers 60 percent more pixels than the previous 24-inch model. Both 21.5 and 27-inch displays use IPS technology to deliver consistent color across an ultra wide 178 degree viewing angle.

The iMac comes standard with a wireless keyboard and the new Magic Mouse featuring Apple's revolutionary Multi-Touch technology. Instead of needing mechanical buttons, scroll wheels or scroll balls, the entire top of the Magic Mouse is a seamless Multi-Touch surface. Using intuitive gestures, a user can easily scroll through long documents, pan across large images or swipe to move forward or backward through a collection of web pages or photos. The Magic Mouse can be configured as either a single button or two button mouse, according to the user's preference. The wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse work seamlessly with the iMac's built-in Bluetooth capabilities to provide a clean, cable-free desk top.

The iMac features improved graphics across the line with NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics or ATI Radeon HD 4670 discrete graphics in the 21.5-inch model, and ATI Radeon HD 4670 discrete graphics or ATI Radeon HD 4850 discrete graphics in the 27-inch model. The new iMac line now also features 4GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 memory and capacity up to 16GB across four SO-DIMM slots. Every iMac features a built-in iSight® video camera, mic and stereo speakers integrated into the thin aluminum and glass design. iMac includes built-in AirPort Extreme® 802.11n Wi-Fi networking, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR, Gigabit Ethernet, a total of four USB 2.0 ports, one FireWire® 800 port and a new built-in SD card slot.

Apple today also announced that the Mac mini, the world's most energy efficient desktop,** is now faster, offers more storage and comes standard with double the memory. Starting at $599, the entry level Mac mini features a faster 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB of DDR3 1066 MHz memory, a 160GB hard drive, five USB 2.0 ports, FireWire 800, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics and a SuperDrive®. The $799 Mac mini features a 2.53 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor, 4GB of memory and a larger 320GB hard drive. Apple now offers a $999 Mac mini that is specially configured with Mac OS® X Snow Leopard® Server. Mac mini with Snow Leopard Server features two 500GB hard drives for a total of 1TB of server storage in the tiny 6.5-inch square by 2-inch tall Mac mini enclosure.

Continuing Apple's commitment to the environment, both iMac and Mac mini extend their leadership in green design. iMac and Mac mini meet the new, more stringent Energy Star 5.0 requirements and achieve EPEAT Gold status.*** The new iMac now features LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. Both iMac and Mac mini use PVC-free internal components and cables, contain no brominated flame retardants, use highly recyclable materials, and feature material-efficient system and packaging designs.

Every Mac comes with Mac OS X Snow Leopard, the world's most advanced operating system, and iLife, Apple's innovative suite of applications for managing photos, making movies and creating and learning to play music. Snow Leopard builds on a decade of OS X innovation and success with hundreds of refinements, new core technologies and out of the box support for Microsoft Exchange. iLife features iPhoto®, to easily organize and manage photos; iMovie® with powerful easy-to-use new features such as Precision Editor, video stabilization and advanced drag and drop; and GarageBand® which introduces a whole new way to help you learn to play piano and guitar.

Pricing & Availability
The new 3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac and Mac mini lines are now shipping and available through the Apple Store® (www.apple.com), Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The Intel Core i5 and i7 quad-core iMacs are available for order and will begin shipping this November. Mac mini with Mac OS X Snow Leopard Server is available from the Apple Store and Apple's retail stores.

The new 21.5-inch 3.06 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,199 (US), includes:
21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit display;
3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache;
4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics;
500GB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+ / -R DL/DVD+ / -RW/CD-RW);
Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
built-in iSight video camera;
Gigabit Ethernet port;
four USB 2.0 ports;
one FireWire 800 port;
SD card slot;
built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

The new 21.5-inch 3.06 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,499 (US), includes:
21.5-inch 1920 x 1080 LED-backlit display;
3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache;
4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
ATI Radeon HD 4670 discrete graphics; with 256MB GDDR3;
1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+ / -R DL/DVD+ / -RW/CD-RW);
Mini DisplayPort for video output (adapters sold separately);
built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
built-in iSight video camera;
Gigabit Ethernet port;
four USB 2.0 ports;
one FireWire 800 port;
SD card slot;
built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

The new 27-inch 3.06 GHz iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,699 (US), includes:
27-inch 2560 x 1440 LED-backlit display;
3.06 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache;
4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
ATI Radeon HD 4670 discrete graphics; with 256MB GDDR3;
1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+ / -R DL/DVD+ / -RW/CD-RW);
Mini DisplayPort for video input and output (adapters sold separately);
built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
built-in iSight video camera;
Gigabit Ethernet port;
four USB 2.0 ports;
one FireWire 800 port;
SD card slot;
built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

The new 27-inch 2.66 GHz Core i5 iMac, for a suggested retail price of $1,999 (US), includes:
27-inch 2560 x 1440 LED-backlit display;
2.66 GHz Intel Core i5 quad-core processor with 8MB shared L3 cache;
4GB 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM expandable to 16GB;
ATI Radeon HD 4850 discrete graphics; with 512MB GDDR3;
1TB Serial ATA hard drive running at 7200 rpm;
a slot-load 8x SuperDrive with double-layer support (DVD+ / -R DL/DVD+ / -RW/CD-RW);
Mini DisplayPort for video input and output (adapters sold separately);
built-in AirPort Extreme 802.11n wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1+EDR;
built-in iSight video camera;
Gigabit Ethernet port;
four USB 2.0 ports;
one FireWire 800 port;
SD card slot;
built-in stereo speakers and microphone; and
Wireless Apple Keyboard, Magic Mouse.

Build-to-order options for the 27-inch Core i5 quad-core iMac include a 2.8 GHz Intel Core i7 quad-core processor.

*Based on estimated results of industry-standard SPECint_base2006 and SPECfp_rate_base2006 rate tests. SPEC® is a registered trademark of Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC). Testing conducted by Apple in October 2009 using preproduction 27-inch iMac Intel Core i5-based 2.66 GHz units and shipping 24-inch iMac Intel Core 2 Duo–based 3.06 GHz units. Performance tests are conducted using specific computer systems and reflect the approximate performance of iMac.

**Claim based on energy efficiency categories and products listed within the EPA ENERGY STAR 5.0 database as of October 2009.

***EPEAT is an independent organization that helps customers compare the environmental performance of notebooks and desktops. Products meeting all of the 23 required criteria and at least 75 percent of the optional criteria are recognized as EPEAT Gold products. The EPEAT program was conceived by the US EPA and is based on IEEE 1680 standard for Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products. For more information visit www.epeat.net.