Product Notes: Apple iMac
October 20, 2009
Apple announced significant updates today to its iMac line of all-in-one desktop systems. This update follows a previous iMac refresh in March 2009.
Design and Changes
This latest generation of iMacs retain the same general enclosure as iMacs have had since the introduction of the "aluminum" iMac in August 2007, with some modifications in ports and port arrangement. The most easily visible change is the move from 16:10 displays to 16:9 displays. Thus, the medium display size changes from 20-inch to 21.5-inch and the large display size changes from 24-inch to 27-inch. These new displays are LED backlit In-plane Switching (IPS) units and both come with wide (178 degree) viewing angles - the medium display is no longer substantially deficient to the large display in this regard.
Changes in these latest iMacs include increased maximum RAM (now 16 GB) and the return of the availability of discrete video cards to the medium model. All systems now include SecureDigital (SD) card slot and the 27-inch systems add a DisplayPort input port. Apple also offers a VESA mount adapter kit for the 27-inch system.
Missing from this latest update are the availability of Blu-Ray drives. There is still no matte screen option, which matters to some users for both color precision and ergonomic reasons.
These new iMacs meet or exceed the specifications in the newly-revised Performance PC Buyer's Guide.
Both versions of the iMac are EPEAT Gold-compliant and Energy Star 5.0-certified.
Several considerations when ordering an iMac:
See ISC's Performance PC Buyer's Guide for more configuration hints. As of October 2009, configuring an iMac to the Performance PC specification can be done for approximately $1,150 (the previous-generation 20-inch iMac and the Mac mini are the best choices for a Mac OS-based Value Desktop). The University's Computer Connection has four new iMac configurations available for order.
ISC sees the updated iMac as being a solid choice among desktop systems available in late 2009 and the iMac will continue to serve as the Apple component in the University's Desktop Recommendations. Continuing improvements in the standard specifications once again have dropped the barrier to entry for appropriately configured models.
ISC will follow up with a full review of the iMac as soon as testing has been completed.
iMac graphic courtesy of Apple
--John Mulhern III, Lead for Client Technologies, ISC Technology Support Services (October 20, 2009)
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania
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