Archive of iMac Rumors

The 8GB of memory in the new, cheaper 21.5-inch iMac introduced earlier today is permanently soldered to the motherboard and is not upgradable, according to a teardown of the new machine by Other World Computing.

The $1,099 machine includes a 1.4GHz Dual-Core i5 processor from the MacBook Air, but users are permanently locked to 8GB of RAM. There is no build-to-order option to increase it and it cannot be increased later.

iMac 21-inch
Now that we’ve had time to teardown the new iMac, unlike the $1,299 iMac, we found this iMac has the memory is soldered to the motherboard removing any possibility of adding additional memory. Users will be permanently locked in to the 8GB of memory, as there is no Apple factory upgrade option.
The other 21.5" iMacs, launched last fall, can be upgraded through the Apple Online Store from 8GB to 16GB. RAM can also be added after purchase, but it requires removal of the screen and is an extremely difficult upgrade.

The current 27" iMac, on the other hand, has a easily accessed door on the rear of the machine that allows for simple RAM upgrades.
Following today's launch of a new entry-level iMac model featuring an ultra-low voltage Intel processor actually used in the MacBook Air, the new iMac appears to have shown up in Geekbench's benchmarking database. The use of an ultra-low voltage chip in the iMac is a somewhat curious move for Apple, as the company has traditionally used much more powerful desktop processors in the line.

As expected, the new machine posts relatively low 64-bit scores of 2820 in single-core mode and 5435 in multi-core mode. These scores are marginally better than the 2690/5254 scores posted by the current-generation MacBook Air running the same chip and roughly 10% slower than the 3168 single-core score from the previous low-end iMac model, which remains available.

But where this new low-end iMac falls far short of the previous low-end model is in multi-core performance, where the older model clocks in at 10253. This major difference is due primarily to the chip used in the new low-end model being a dual-core chip, while the older low-end chip is quad-core.

The new low-end iMac comes in $200 cheaper than the previous entry-level model, but for that savings users will sacrifice some CPU and graphics performance and will have a 500 GB hard drive rather than the 1 TB drive included in the more expensive low-end model.

Update 12:25 PM: Primate Labs' John Poole has shared a blog post putting the new low-end iMac's performance in perspective compared to other iMac models and highlighting a Tweet from Ars Technica's Andrew Cunningham noting that Apple's decision to use a chip from its MacBook Air line may have been made for graphics reasons.

Update 2: The initial benchmarks for the new low-end iMac were taken in 64-bit mode, while the data was compared to 32-bit results from other machines. This article has been updated to compare 64-bit scores across all machines.
On the same day it launched a new entry-level iMac model, Apple also used the downtime to adjust the prices on other hardware in some European markets. The price cuts we've noticed affect European models of the Mac mini, the European Apple TV and iMac models in the UK.

Pricing on the Mac mini dropped between €30 and €60, depending on the country and model. Most European stores are now offering the entry-level Mac Mini for €619 with the quad-core and OS X server models selling for €819 and €1019, respectively, although some euro countries such as Germany are showing slightly lower pricing of €599/€799/€999. In the UK, the entry-level Mac Mini remains the same at £499, with price drops between €30 and €50 being applied to the quad-core and server models.

Apple also cut the prices on the Apple TV in Europe, reducing the cost by €10/£20. The once €109/£99 media streaming device is now available for €99/£79 throughout most of Apple's European stores. While Europe saw a reduction, the Apple TV price remains the same in the US at $99.

Along with the new entry-level 21.5-inch iMac, Apple UK also lowered the cost of existing iMac models. The existing 21.5-inch models were lowered by £100, while the 27-inch models saw similar reductions of £150. The reduction appears to limited only to the UK with most of Europe and the US still selling the iMac at its original pricing.
While rumors last week indicated that Apple would be launching minor updates to its iMac line, Apple today unveiled a new lower-cost 21.5-inch iMac starting at $1,099. Previously, the entry level iMac started at $1299.

The new entry-level 21.5-inch iMac comes with a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor, a 500GB hard drive, 8GB of memory, and an Intel HD 5000 Graphics chip for $1,099. Customers can also choose to include a 1TB hard drive, a 1TB Fusion Drive, or 256GB of flash storage on build to order options. All of Apple's other 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs are still available as well.

KGI Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted last year and earlier this year that Apple would be launching a lower-cost iMac in 2014 to bolster sales in critical foreign markets.

Apple is also rumored to be working on Retina Display-equipped iMacs, as recent evidence in the OS X Yosemite developer preview suggested such models were in the works. While there is no specific release date for a Retina iMac, Apple could launch the new desktop computer later this year.

Apple's new entry-level iMac is available today through Apple's various retail locations and online store, and shows an availability of "within 24 hours."

Update 5:41 AM: Apple has issued a press release announcing the lower-cost iMac.
Macworld's Jason Snell provides a nice hands-on writeup about Apple's new OS X Yosemite. Snell focuses on the user-experience from a long term Mac user, focusing on the visual and usability changes of Mac windows. He notes the increased use of transparency and the varying implementation of title bars in many applications:

Overall, Snell feels that many of the design changes were done with Retina displays in mind:
For a while now, I’ve thought that 2014 would be the year that Retina spreads across the Mac product line. After spending time with Yosemite on both Retina and non-Retina systems, I’m more confident than ever in that guess. Yosemite’s new design feels like it was built for Retina displays: Thin Helvetica Neue replaces the long-serving but chunky Lucida Grande as the system typeface.
Apple first introduced Retina displays into the Mac line in with the Retina MacBook Pro in June, 2012. Since that time, Apple has been slow to extend Retina screens to the rest of their lineup.

The MacBook Air seems likely to be the next Mac to deliver a Retina Display. Signs point to a 12" Retina model later this year, and there has already been early evidence in Yosemite of Retina iMacs in testing.
Apple is planning to update its iMac line with faster processors and lower prices next week, according to a new report from MacGeneration (Google Translate). Citing the same sources that correctly predicted the MacBook Air refresh this past April, the website also notes that Apple may also include Thunderbolt 2 ports on the new iMacs and will launch them later in the week instead of the usual Tuesday release day as done for other Apple products.

Like the MacBook Air refresh, Apple may be planning to increase the processor speed of at least some configurations by 100 MHz by using a number of recently launched processors, including the 3.3 GHz i5-4590, the 3.4 GHz i5-4690, and 3.6 GHz i7-4790 for the 27-inch model as well as the 3.0 GHz i5-4590S and 3.2 GHz i5-4790S for the 21.5-inch model. It is also possible that Apple will cut the price of the standard iMac configurations to go along with these minor spec bumps.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicted last year and earlier this year that Apple would be launching a lower-cost iMac in the near future to address growth in foreign markets.

Meanwhile, recent evidence in the OS X Yosemite developer preview has also indicated that Apple is gearing up to launch Retina Display-equipped iMacs in the near future. It is possible that Apple may then initially move to split the iMac lineup, selling the Retina models at higher price points alongside cheaper non-Retina models. A lower price point for the non-Retina models may also help address growth in critical foreign markets such as China.
imac_2013_sideEvidence of upcoming iMac updates is continuing to accumulate, and the latest hint points toward support for models equipped with Retina displays. As noted by MacBidouille [Google Translate], the OS X Yosemite developer preview includes a new file defining display scaling resolution options for a machine identified as an iMac.

The unreleased machine was first spotted last week in the OS X 10.9.4 beta, but today's discovery includes the observation that Retina-resolution display support is included.

The file includes a series of scaling resolution options for this machine, maxing out at 6400 x 3600 pixels, or 3200 x 1800 as a Retina display. The display itself would carry a somewhat lower native resolution, perhaps 5120 x 2880 to simply pixel double the current 27-inch iMac, but as with the Retina MacBook Pro higher resolutions are specified and generated by the machine before being scaled back down.
The first of these resolutions indicates hexa "00001900 00000e10" is therefore a resolution scaling of ... 6400 x 3600 (probably 3200x1800 HiDPI).
Continues and is 5760x3240 (2880x1620 HiDPI) 4096x2304 (2048x1152 HiDPI), etc..
(There are other resolutions, just make the conversion from hex)

With this alone, it is not possible to guess the native resolution of the machine. This is a resolution that does not appear in the file, since it is native and does not have to be "scaled".
Knowing that there is a gap between the values ​​of 5760 and 4096, one can imagine something between these two (probably 5120x2880, 2560x1440 or in HiDPI), but this is speculation.
As an example of how these higher-than-native resolution options are used, while the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro has a native resolution of 2880 x 1800 (giving screen real estate of 1440 x 900 as Retina), the system is capable of generating a 3840 x 2400 desktop that is then scaled down to give the real estate of a 1920 x 1200 display.

In the case of this iMac, a similar scenario would see the initial 6400 x 3600 screen scaled to display as 3200 x 1800 on the Retina iMac.

Apple has been rumored to be working on Retina iMacs ever since the debut of the Retina MacBook Pro in 2012, but the company has likely been challenged by the large number of pixels needed for the desktop machine, particularly the 27-inch model. Recent rumors have pointed toward a lower-priced version of the iMac to help address emerging markets, but Retina models are likely also in the works.

As was seen with the MacBook Pro, Apple may initially move to split the iMac lineup with Retina models initially coming in at higher price points alongside existing or slightly cheaper non-Retina model pricing. Over time, the line would be consolidated as prices for the components needed to support Retina displays come down.

(Thanks, Greg!)
iphone-5sApple may introduce a new 8GB iPhone 5s model for emerging markets and the much-rumored lower-cost iMac at next week's Worldwide Developers Conference, according to a new research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo.
As iPhone 5S is a highly popular model, we predict Apple may launch an 8GB version to boost market share in emerging markets.
Kuo notes that Apple may not announce the new 8GB iPhone 5s model on-stage at WWDC, but will possibly debut the phone around the same time.

In addition, Kuo predicts that a lower-cost iMac is likely to debut as well, following up his earlier report and rumors that were fueled after shipping estimates for the machine began to slip in Apple's Online Store. Earlier today, references to new iMac models appeared in OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 beta before it was pulled from the Mac App Store and Developer Center.

Finally, Kuo notes that if Apple does in fact launch a smart home software platform that it will likely involve iCloud, iBeacons and Airplay. Both iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 are expected to debut at the conference as well.

WWDC 2014 will kick off on June 2 with a keynote address from CEO Tim Cook at 10 AM Pacific Time.
Mentions of new iMac models are buried inside the OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 beta that was seeded earlier today.

There are three new resource files for power management that mention three new iMacs with model numbers beginning with 15, according to some digging done by Pike's Universum (via TonyMacx86). The current iMac line is made up of models 14,1 and 14,2.

The most interesting part is the addition of three new resources (plist) files for power management:

Mac-81E3E92DD6088272.plist / iMac15,1 (IGPU only)
Mac-42FD25EABCABB274.plist / iMac15,n (IGPU/GFX0/Apple display with id 0xAE03)
Mac-FA842E06C61E91C5.plist / iMac15,n (IGPU/GFX0/Apple display with id 0xAE03)
Rumors have suggested that new iMac models could make an appearance at WWDC next week after shipping estimates for the machine began to slip on the Apple Online Store.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated earlier this year that a lower-priced iMac was expected in mid-2014.

Update 3:30 PM PT: Apple appears to have pulled the 10.9.4 beta from the Mac App Store and Developer Center four hours after it was released. No reason was given for the removal.
Ahead of WWDC 2014, shipping estimates for Apple's iMac models have slipped to 3 to 5 business days, fueling speculation of a possible announcement of new iMac hardware next week. As noted by AppleInsider, dwindling inventory is also evident at authorized Apple resellers, with some retailers selling the latest iMac models with steep discounts.
As we have seen with Apple may be clearing out inventory Amazon is completely sold out of the base-line 21.5-inch and 27-inch models, relying on third-party resellers who only have a handful of units left in stock. MacMall is also down to its last units on the 2.9-gigahertz 21.5-inch model, and the 3.4-gigahertz 27-inch model.
While movement in product shipping estimates is historically a hit-or-miss indicator of imminent updates, the slip to 3-5 days over the weekend is not the only factor contributing to speculation of iMac updates. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has been predicting for some time that Apple will launch a "low-priced" version of the iMac, and his extensive product roadmap published last month showed the new iMac debuting at the end of the second quarter, which would be next month. Kuo argues that this new iMac with cost-efficient hardware to keep the base price low would offer Apple a way to increase its market share in Asia and other critical foreign markets.

Mac updates have generally been somewhat in flux as Intel has experienced delays with its next-generation Broadwell chips. While the company has been releasing interim "Haswell refresh" chips in recent months, these chips offer minimal improvements over their predecessors. Just last month, Apple released a minor MacBook Air update using one of these new chips, but more importantly reduced pricing by $100. The company could make a similar move with the iMac in the coming weeks.

Exact timing for iMac updates remains uncertain, as it is still a bit early for a launch based on historical update cycles. The iMac has also not played a role in recent WWDC product launches, perhaps due to its consumer focus compared to the professional/developer emphasis for the conference. Consequently, an iMac price drop with minor spec bumps could come in the weeks after WWDC, similar to the quiet MacBook Air update last month.

Apple last refreshed the iMac in September 2013, following a major redesign in 2012. The current iMac model features Intel Haswell processors, faster PCI Express-based flash storage and 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity. Prices start at $1299 for the entry-level 21.5-inch iMac and climb to $1799 for the base 27-inch model.
French site MacBidouille revives rumors that Apple is actively developing ARM processor based Macs. According to a source that they describe as reliable, Apple has prototypes of several ARM-based machines, including an iMac, Mac mini, and 13" Notebook with 4-8 64-bit ARM Quad-core processors.

These machines are reportedly far along in development, and come with a new keyboard that incorporates a large-format Magic Trackpad. Apple might even be ready for an announcement but is reportedly hesitant to make the move.

MacBidouille isn't a frequent source of rumors, so its hard to gauge its source's credibility, but rumors of ARM-based Macs have been circulating for years. It seems likely that Apple has prototyped such devices, but many have doubted the feasibility of moving forward with such a plan.

The first inklings of such a plan might have come when Apple threatened to abandon Intel's chips if they didn't work to slash power consumption. While AMD might have been one way to go for Apple, the first rumors of an Apple migration from Intel to ARM processors appeared earlier that year. Later, a report claimed that Apple already had an ARM (A5) powered MacBook Air in their labs back in 2011.

An analysis in 2012 suggested that Apple shifting from Intel to ARM wasn't implausible but it faced several hurdles. The most significant one was Apple's own ARM chips being able to keep a pace with Intel's future roadmap.

Apple, however, has been making great strides in performance in their ARM processors. The A7 is described as desktop class even in an independent analysis. In fact, the A7 chip is currently being underutilized in Apple's iPhone and iPad devices, leaving some of its power untapped.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has stated that Intel's next-generation Broadwell processors will launch during this holiday season, reports Reuters (via MacG).
"I can guarantee for holiday, and not at the last second of holiday," Krzanich said in an interview. "Back to school - that's a tight one. Back to school you have to really have it on-shelf in July, August. That's going to be tough."
Originally expected to launch in Q3 2014, Krzanich noted that new manufacturing technologies are responsible for the delays surrounding Broadwell, but maintained that Intel is now on schedule to ship its new chips to manufacturers later this year. The statement comes after a leaked Intel roadmap surfaced this past February, which appeared to show an uncertain timetable for Apple's 2014 Mac updates.

A leaked Intel roadmap for 28-watt chips appropriate for 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro

With Intel's Broadwell chips launching near the end of this year however, it is possible that Apple could either choose to wait until next year to integrate Broadwell chips into the Retina MacBook Pro or launch updated models with slightly faster Haswell chips. Apple updated its standard models of the MacBook Air last month with a faster 1.4 GHz dual-core Intel i5 processor while cutting the price by $100.

It is also possible that Intel's new Broadwell chips could be used in the rumored 12-inch MacBook Air, which may coexist alongside or replace the current MacBook Air line. However, it is uncertain which specific chips Apple would use for the new notebook, as prior reports have pointed to the machine coming out towards the end of the third quarter.

As far as a next-generation iMac goes, Apple could also choose to hold off on an update until the appropriate Broadwell chips are out. However, a report last month claimed that Intel's faster Haswell desktop CPUs could arrive in May, with Apple perhaps launching updates sooner rather than later.

Apple is also rumored to have a low-cost iMac in the works, which could utilize more cost-efficient chips. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, the low-cost desktop computer could boost sales in critical foreign markets and increase shipments by up to 30 percent.