According to Apple's track record, the iMac lineup is due for a refresh this spring. This update will focus on bringing the iMac up-to-date with the latest technology and prepare it for Lion 10.7. This will be a minor update, with a major one expected sometime around January 2012.
Apple has been updating their iMac line around every 8 months with major updates coming out every 27 months. The next iMac update is due out this March. The last major update was the 27" iMac which came out in October 2009. As Apple usually has one or two minor updates between their major releases. The last minor update was in July 2010. Although Apple has been known to update the iMacs more frequently, Apple is focused on a major update to the MacBook Pro line instead. This update will focus in on three areas: Sandy Bridge, SSD, and a high resolution display.
-Apple will begin to move the MacBook Air Solid State Drive (SSD) modules to the rest of the Mac family this year. They will start with the MacBook Pros and then move them to the iMacs. Even smaller SSD modules will greatly improve the speed of the iMac family. These modules paired with large standard 1 or 2 terabyte drives will deliver both speed and large storage, the best of both worlds. By adding the same SSD drives to all their products, Apple will leverage the economies of scale to bring the costs down, further distancing the competition.
- Intel promises the largest performance increase in their companies history with its new microarchitecture Sandy bridge. It is expected to ship early in 2011 and should be ready for this new iMac refresh. This will be the 2nd generation of the iCore series of processors offered by Intel. Apple will still be using ATI graphics cards even though Intel's integrated graphics technology has been improved by 50% with Sandy Bridge.
-The last area of focus will be to improve the resolution on the 21.5" and 27" displays. Apple currently offers a high resolution option for the MacBook Pro. These new displays offer pixels per inches comparable to the iPad at 130 PPI. Adding this option to the iMacs will improve the readability of fonts and icons as well as improve the detail in pictures and movies. More good news will come when Apple adds an anti-glare option to their iMac display offerings.
With this new update, Apple will improve an already great product and get it ready for the new features coming in Mac OS X 10.7. Lion and the Mac App Store will change the way we use desktop machines and the iMac will soon be ready.