Apple announces faster, smarter iMacs
Apple is on a product launch spree ahead of its spring press event. The company announced on Tuesday its iMac line is getting a refresh after nearly 14 months.
Its new 21.5-inch iMac with a Retina 4K display, due out next week, will come with a 8th-generation quad-core processor, and for the first time 6-core processors. The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display features up to 6-core and 8-core processors, making it twice as fast as the previous model.
The computers also come with an improved graphics chip that’ll give video games and editing programs an 80% boost in performance.
But the design remains unchanged, so you still won’t find FaceID or TouchID on the iMacs.
“While the products themselves are more iterative than revolutionary — same basic design — Apple’s strategy in raising the spec ceiling should prove to be a prudent one,” said Linn Huang, a research vice president at market research firm IDC. “Since 2015, the entire all-in-one category has contracted each year. A continued shift toward mobility has been a primary inhibitor for this form factor, but options and economics play a large role as well.”
Consumers can increasingly work around splurging for an all-in-one computer by buying monitors and other components separately, he said. For the last three years, sales for the category has dropped about 5% a year; whereas the “ultra-small desktop” category, meaning a computer only a few inches in size that requires a separate display, has grown about 9% each year.
This is the second news announcement from Apple this week. On Monday, Apple quietly announced in a press release new versions of the iPad Air and iPad mini, the company’s first refresh for those products in years.
Apple typically creates fanfare around the arrival of new hardware, but its focus at its upcoming spring event this year will be on its rumored streaming service.
“Apple wants to get the iPad out of the way so it can hold its first event truly focused on streaming,” Lauren Guenveur, senior research analyst at IDC, told CNN Business at the time. “If Apple announced new Pads, it would turn into a hardware event, and that’s not what it wants.”
Meanwhile, David McQueen, research director at ABI Research, argues Apple’s latest product announcements could compliment what will likely be announced at the event.
“This could all be a wider plan by Apple to create a wealth of products with better specs across price points and device types to create an enhanced user experience and showcase for its soon-to-be-released streaming service — whatever that may be,” McQueen said.
Perhaps Apple feels the same way about the new iMacs. The 21.5-inch iMac will start at $1,299 and the 27-inch iMac with will start at $1,799.