Apple updates iMac

Apple on Tuesday released an update to its iMac desktop computer. In the past, I may have said “Apple’s consumer desktop,” and while it technically is, these are powerful computers.

According to Apple, the entry-level 21.5-inch iMac features a 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 processor and new Iris Pro integrated graphics. The high-end 21.5-inch model and both 27-inch models feature quad-core Intel Core i5 processors up to 3.4GHz and NVIDIA GeForce 700 series graphics with twice the video memory and up to 40 percent faster performance than the previous generation.

If you want a bit more power, you can upgrade to the quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.5GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M series graphics with up to 4GB of video memory.

iMac also now supports next generation 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Apple said the iMac comes standard with 8GB of memory and a 1TB hard drive—that is configurable up to 32GB of memory and up to a 3TB hard drive. iMac also comes with two Thunderbolt and four USB 3.0 ports for connecting to external storage and other high performance peripherals.

  • Joseph Blake

    It’s still ridiculous that Apple puts mobile GPUs in these. An iMac is not portable, they can sacrifice a little bit of thinness and lightness for a little bit better cooling and better GPUs

    • 11thIndian

      The top end GPU isn’t a mobile GPU, from my understanding.

      • Joseph Blake

        The highest end GPU available is “Configurable to NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M with 4GB of GDDR5 memory” according to Apple’s site. The M in the GPU model denotes a mobile GPU.

    • Mikey

      iLugger would disagree that the iMac is not portable ;-)

    • def4

      The power supply and cooling needed for a desktop class GPU cannot fit inside an all-in-one enclosure. The GPUs in the iMac are the same that are used in top of the line gaming laptops, so they deliver plenty of power.

      • Joseph Blake

        Sure, but they are not the best. If you want the best gaming or other graphics power, HP or Dell have better options. Yes, Mac Pro is coming but those GPUs will actually be not as good at gaming (they’re workstation GPUs). Also, if you could get a full GTX 780 GPU, you could eek out a little more longevity of the machine since you’d have more “buffer” against things running slowly or dropping support vs. the mobile version.

        They could fit in an all-in-one enclosure, but Apple has prioritized the thinness of a stationary desktop non-portable over the computing power of the machine. Given the lack of options in the Mac Pro, it’s even more annoying.

        • jtr3

          Please point to all the other manufacturers who’ve managed to include full desktop graphics cards in their all-in-one PCs. Happy hunting.

          • Joseph Blake

            That’s irrelevant. These, at the current time, are their only desktops (the Mac Mini has the same GPU limitations or worse). It is a conscious design decision on their part, it’s not an insurmountable problem to resolve

          • def4

            A counterexample would be entirely relevant. A HP, Dell or Acer all-in-one with a GTX 780 would be a great support piece for your argument that it is a design decision. Their utter absence is an argument for it being a design constraint.

        • def4

          Of course you can get more power in a tower. So what?

          • Joseph Blake

            Apple, more than anyone, has shown that there is no such thing as a design constraint. The point of getting more power in a tower is that as of right now Apple does not have a tower option for the non-workstation market.

          • Sebastian Paul

            Double the power consumption, double the heat, double the noise.

          • Joseph Blake

            All three absolutely reasonable concerns. Power consumption is the easiest to fix. A slightly larger PSU inside the machine is not unreasonable. Heat and noise, of course not so much. Why not make it a configurable option to upgrade to a full GTX 780 or GTX Titan, and disclose the additional noise that may come along with it

          • Sebastian Paul

            It’s not about the larger PSU (which also has a cost and Apple would need to develop TWO PSUs instead of one, which would also raise costs) – it’s about the iMac being one of the desktop computers with relatively low power consumption. And also only little noise.

            Apple can’t sacrifice both of these features and the reputation of the iMac, because very soon, videos of these “enthusiast iMacs” would hit the web and people would mistake them for the regular iMacs, thinking all of them are THAT loud.

          • mdelvecchio

            “Why not make it a configurable option…and disclose the additional noise”

            yeah because thats how apple rolls — “WARNING: the options you’ve selected may result in a louder machine that runs hot. ARE YOU SURE? Y/N”

          • jtr3

            Any designer will tell you there is always a design constraint.

          • Moeskido

            “My arbitrary complaints must be addressed!”

            Angry Drunk’s right. Nerds ruin everything.

          • Joseph Blake

            I didn’t say they “must” be addressed? Just pointed out I didn’t see why a desktop should be arbitrarily designed down to the point it requires mobile chipsets. I have an iMac now that has a mobile chipset GPU in it. I also have a home-built Windows PC with a full GTX 680 GPU. This is an internet comment section, not the boardroom of Apple Inc. Exhibiting non-approval of a particular decision Cook & Co. makes isn’t a mortal sin. I’m not swearing off Apple and their products forever.

          • Moeskido

            I don’t care whether you use Apple products or an Amiga powered by a hamster wheel. I’m poking fun at you because your concerns about the iMac’s shortcomings are very likely of little importance to the majority of computer users for whom the iMac is actually intended.

            That you care enough about graphics specs to have obtained a home-built PC puts you in a small, if vocal minority. Your use-case is not universal.

          • Joseph Blake

            No use case is universal. And so what? The point of the Internet is to discuss things. I’m not expecting my comment on Jim’s blog to somehow change Apple’s direction. If no one discussed anything what would be the point of anything on the internet?

          • Moeskido

            Agreed with your last point. And we are discussing it; I’m still giggling at your original use of the word “ridiculous.”

          • Kriztyan

            Worst business in the world – Trying to please EVERYONE.

          • Sigivald

            Apple, more than anyone, has shown that there is no such thing as a design constraint

            Doesn’t every Apple product demonstrate that there are design constraints?

            The difference being in what your design goals are, as suggested by Mr. Paul, below.

            Design constraints are unavoidable, like physics.

    • Sigivald

      Except they’re not overheating now, and the “better GPU” is not a big selling point.

      (Especially since benchmarks [G3DMark] suggest the 780M is about comparable to a Radeon 7870, which is a perfectly good midrange card today.

      Good enough for anyone buy an enthusiast gamer, and arguably tolerable for that very minor market who mostly ignore Macs anyway, because the Mac gaming market is laughable – better than it used to be, but still laughable.)

  • DaWooster

    Mavericks is right around the corner right? I wonder why they launched these so soon.

    • Joseph Blake

      I imagine these will come with a free upgrade to Mavericks. If the hardware is ready, why wait?

      • 11thIndian

        Or Mavericks will just be free. If Apple is willing to give free OS updates with iOS devices that cost half as much, doesn’t perpetually free OSX updates work better as a loyalty driver and feature of the Mac that as a direct revenue source?

        Just a thought.

        • Herding_sheep

          I’ve had a feeling Apple might. But keep in mind iOS users tend to upgrade devices much more frequently than Macs. Still, I think Apple could afford to offer OSX updates for free now. Maybe they’ll just drop the price to 9.99, but Apple certainly likes to get their user base on the latest version and making it free would be the most effective way. It would also put a heavy burden on Microsoft.

        • Joseph Blake

          Possible, but I doubt it. If they were going that route they probably would have done it for Lion or Mountain Lion. I think one major thing holding that back is the accounting problem that first struck the iOS updates for the iPod Touch. Macs are not accounted for in the same way as phones and iPods, and it would be a violation of accounting rules to add new features to items that have already been sold

          • 11thIndian

            I keep hearing this- and I’d love to know what the deal is. Cause iOS updates are free for iPads and iPodTouches as well, and those are straight-buys like Macs.

            I don’t see how there can be a difference. If Apple wants to make it free, I think they can.

          • Joseph Blake

            Apple specifically changed the way they account for iPods and iPads so that they could do this.They recognize the revenue of an iPad, iPod, or iPhone over a several year/quarter period of time. On Macs, they recognize all of the revenue all at once. It’s not an insignificant change, and has a material impact on earnings. It’s not a change to take lightly and I suspect the disparity in charging iPod/iPad owners and not iPhone owners is the only reason they made the change for those devices.

        • Kriztyan

          It’s cheap enough at this point. If you can’t afford a $20-$30 OS upgrade, you got more problems than upgrading your Mac.

    • Sigivald

      Apple’s never really tied a hardware release in the Mac world to an OS release (or if they have, it was back in the pre-OSX days).

      They’ve long had a freebie program for “OS upgrade within N days of purchase” on Macs.

  • lkalliance

    Time was that whenever a new Mac was introduced my palms would start itching towards whenever my next planned upgrade was. Funny now how I don’t really care. Still on my 2008 iMac. Recognizing that my computer needs aren’t as dramatic as they used to be. Now it’s the new iPhones that get me excited! Funny how things change and stay the same at the same time.

    • reddot1975

      Well, it’s also that back in the day, moving from one “generation” of computer to another brought fantastically more power and software grew to take advantage of that. Now, it’s all much more evolutionary. Computers have become fast enough that they meet most people’s needs and unless hardware dies, should meet those needs for years to come.

  • Vera Comment

    “If you want a bit more power, you can upgrade to the quad-core Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.5GHz and NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M series graphics with up to 4GB of video memory….”

    i7 is a BTO option. No models ship stock with an i7.

  • algarrobo

    Without fear of being ridiculed,( ) is that Apple’s flagship product, change and defined the work and design and editing, the machine that helped us overcome a render and not die in the attempt.

  • Duma Studetto

    Overall a pretty attractive update for those in the market for an awesome desktop machine. My only disappointment is the high price of the top base configuration still doesn’t get you the i7m and you still get the stock 1TB hard drive. At these prices I’d like to see Apple throwing in a Fusion Drive as standard in the higher-end base configurations, especially given their push towards flash storage in general.

  • Christopher

    I just bought my new iMac 2 months ago, time to upgrade again already! FML!