The new iMac iWant
Monday 18 May 2009
I've been saying for the last three years that something odd is going on at Apple.
OK, some of you may think there are a lot of odd things go on at Apple (and most other big companies, for that matter), but I'm talking about Apple's computers.
Already a few years ago the distinction between consumer Macs and professional Macs was getting harder to define. Publishing companies started putting in lots of iMacs instead of several Mac Pro towers.
The reasons were clear - iMacs took up less desk space, you got more workstations for the same money and, with G5 and then Intel chips inside, iMacs were powerful enough for most of the Mac operators in the firm. Once upon a time, iMacs were only given to writers and receptionists.
When Apple released a new range of MacBooks and MacBook Pros last year, lo and behold, they even looked the same. Both were made from a single piece of milled aluminium. But with proper video cards inside them, the little 13-inch MacBooks are not only super portable, but very capable with their dual Intel processors. Serious travellers could choose between a slick, svelte and very portable MacBook or a heaver, harder to carry but admittedly more powerful MacBook Pro. The choice had never been harder.
Apple had always created consumer Macs from plastic, and then white plastic from 2006. In 2001 Apple's professional laptop was changed to a Titanium case (in 2001) in the form of the PowerBook G4. In June 2003, Apple's tower for professionals (which had also been made from plastic) was changed from the G4 to the G5 processor. In conjunction the tower housing was changed to heavy-grade aluminium, the beginning of Apple's love affair with the light, tough metal. This was for strength, but also for cooling; the G5 was a notoriously hot-running chip, as Microsoft Xbox owners will know.
The G5's heat was one of the reasons Apple changed to the Intel chip family. To create a truly professional Mac laptop, for which a considerable desire had been expressed, the powerful G5 chip was just too hard to cool effectively.
Nobody wanted to tote a slick laptop with an air conditioning unit attached. Intel's chips were similarly powered, actually - but they ran cooler, making them much easier to design laptop cases for.
In a way, the fact that Apple worked with two chip families for a while (IBM's G4 and G5) made the distinction between the consumer and pro Macs obvious. But when Apple released the G5 iMac (August 2004), the consumer desktop had become a serious contender, capable of real processing.
Now, the latest Mac Pro towers have been redesigned. They really are the heavyweights, in every way, of Apple's line-up, and in situations where they're needed, operators appreciate the power, the hot-swappable drive bays and the expansion opportunities. But that group of users is smaller than it used to be.
A commenter on this site made a good case a few months back for an 'iMac Pro' - and I've been thinking about that a lot. Because I want one too. Yes please - a four-processor, big (24-inch) all-in-one iMac that is even more powerful than the year-old MacBook Pro (pre-unibody) I currently use, able to handle Logic, Final Cut and Adobe Premiere Pro with ease, without the need for desk reinforcement and a monitor bought to plug into it.
After all, the iMac is due a serious refresh, and WWDC is about to happen in San Francisco. The Inc normally releases pro hardware and software at WWDC but hey - Apple already put out faster, redesigned new Mac Pros this March.
So will we get new iMacs? The site sevenmac published rumours of four-core iMacs late last year, quoting the Economic Daily News which said Foxconn would be producing a new-design single-case iMac with a newer cooling system.
You'd need a new cooling system for quad core chips, you see. The magazine DigiTimes had already discovered that Apple (and Acer, Dell and HP) had agreed to use Intel's new desktop Quad Core chips in their next systems "in early 2009."
This new family of Core 2 Quad Processors requires 65W of power. The current iMacs only need 55W. An increase in power means an increase in heat output ... An increase in power would also help with Apple's new 'Snow Leopard' operating system, complete with its Grand Central feature designed to increase support on multi-core systems. Snow Leopard is almost sure to be released at WWDC (and maybe new iPhones).
So it kinda stacks up. NetworkWorld in the UK has discussed this idea too, in March this year when the new Pros were released.
But I must point out, this is all speculation. We'll find out in Phil Schiller's keynote at WWDC on June 8th.
That's just three weeks away.
This article originally appeared in the New Zealand Herald
Life & Style blogs
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary
McDonald’s launches clothing line using Big Mac prints
Facebook to test 747-sized drones that will beam broadband to the entire world
The distress of some Zayn Malik fans is real, and they need support, say experts
Chair-bound workers 'should move around every hour to reduce physical and mental health risks'
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 1 Germanwings crash: Police make 'significant discovery' at home of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz
- 2 Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
- 3 Zayn Malik already working on solo material, just days after quitting One Direction
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is looking to find a...
£21000 - £23600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...
£22000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: This is a large multi-site operation...
£50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...