Apple unveils new iMac with next-gen quad-core processors, graphics and Thunderbolt I/O technology

iMac. The ultimate all-in-one. Turbocharged.Apple today updated its signature all-in-one iMac with next generation quad-core processors, powerful new graphics, groundbreaking high-speed Thunderbolt I/O technology and a new FaceTime HD camera. Starting at US$1,199, the new iMac is up to 70 percent faster and new graphics deliver up to three times the performance of the previous generation.

“Our customers love the iMac’s aluminum enclosure, gorgeous display and all-in-one design,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “With next generation quad-core processors, powerful new graphics, Thunderbolt technology and a FaceTime HD camera, we’ve made the world’s best desktop even better.”

The new iMac features quad-core Intel Core i5 processors with an option for customers to choose Core i7 processors up to 3.4 GHz. These next generation processors feature an integrated memory controller for an amazingly responsive experience and a powerful new media engine for high-performance video encoding and decoding. With new AMD Radeon HD graphics processors, the new iMac has the most powerful graphics ever in an all-in-one desktop.

Apple iMac mid-2011iMac is the first desktop computer on the market to include groundbreaking Thunderbolt I/O technology. The 21.5-inch iMac has a single Thunderbolt port while the 27-inch model features two ports for even greater expansion. Developed by Intel with collaboration from Apple, Thunderbolt enables expandability never before possible on an all-in-one computer. Featuring two bi-directional channels with transfer speeds up to an amazing 10Gbps each, Thunderbolt delivers PCI Express directly to external high performance peripherals such as RAID arrays, and can support FireWire and USB consumer devices, and Gigabit Ethernet networks via adapters. Thunderbolt also supports DisplayPort for high resolution displays and works with existing adapters for HDMI, DVI and VGA displays. Freely available for implementation on systems, cables and devices, Thunderbolt technology is expected to be widely adopted as a new standard for high performance I/O.

iMac includes a built-in FaceTime HD camera and Apple’s innovative FaceTime software for crisp, widescreen video calling the whole family can enjoy. The new camera supports high definition video calls between all FaceTime HD-enabled Macs and standard resolution calls with iPad 2, iPhone 4, the current generation iPod touch and other Intel-based Macs. The iMac continues to feature its signature aluminum and glass design, gorgeous IPS LED-backlit high resolution display, SD card slot and comes with Apple’s innovative Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.

Continuing Apple’s commitment to the environment, Apple’s desktop line is a leader in green design. The iMac meets stringent Energy Star 5.2 requirements and achieves EPEAT Gold rating. iMac features LED-backlit displays that are mercury-free and made with arsenic-free glass. iMac uses PVC-free components and cables, contains no brominated flame retardants, uses highly recyclable materials and features material-efficient system and packaging designs.

Every Mac comes with Mac OS X Snow Leopard, the world’s most advanced operating system, and iLife, Apple’s innovative suite of applications for creating and sharing great photos, movies and music. Snow Leopard builds on more than a decade of innovation and includes the Mac App Store for finding great new apps for your Mac. iLife ’11 features iPhoto with stunning full screen views for browsing, editing and sharing photos; iMovie with powerful easy-to-use tools to transform home videos into fun theatrical trailers; and GarageBand with new ways to improve your playing and create great sounding songs.

The new iMac is available through the Apple Store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. The 21.5-inch iMac is available in two configurations: one with a 2.5 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6750M and 500GB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,199; and one with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M and 1TB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,499. The new 27-inch iMac is available in two models: one with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6770M and 1TB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,699; and one with a 3.1 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6970M and 1TB hard drive for a suggested retail price of $1,999.

Configure-to-order options include faster Intel Core i7 processors up to 3.4 GHz, additional hard drive capacity up to 2TB, a 256GB solid state drive, additional DDR3 memory and AppleCare® Protection Plan. Additional technical specifications and configure-to-order options and accessories are available online at

Source: Apple Inc.


    1. Don’t overspec. 512MB is good enough for most people. Higher VRAM is available for those who want it. My 13″ MacBook Pro drives my 27″ Cinema display just fine using Intel integrated graphics with 256MB.

      1. He’s probably talking about for gaming. Yah for just running a distplay it is good enough, but when it comes to graphics and gameing, generally you are going to want more ram to help out.

        1. … has 512 graphics and it does Warcraft just fine at close to max “options”. My wife’s iMac isn’t so lucky, but it’s an entry-level model. I’m thinking of “giving” her an updated model. For HER use, of course. 😉

          1. My kid plays World of Warcraft and 2nd Life and he’s running a 2 year old high end (at the time, but it’s not Quad) iMac with 512 RAM. No problems. Don’t forget your service provider can also be the cause of slow performance. I refuse to bump up my Time Warner to the next high speed level they offer, but we get exceptionally good speed, almost at the higher level for some reason.

  1. The press release says the screens are IPS, but the spec page on the Apple site says they are TFT. There is a huge difference. I hope Apple isn’t setting itself up for the same disappointment from buyers it got with the first 20-inch aluminum iMac with a crappy TN screen.

      1. Actually, TFT are a kind of LCD screen, that include IPS, TN, etc. My point was simply that the spec page should say IPS if they are IPS, since TFT leaves open the possibility that they could be an inferior tech.

    1. Go to and simply click on “Mac” and there it is. Now was that hard? Seems to be some new “names” here all of a sudden complaining; paid trolls by chance?

      1. It looks like you missed the point. Apple has just introduced a revised model of the Mac, with some arguably significant changes; yet, it does not warrant a mention on the home page. In other words, the White iPhone seems more important to Apple than their heretofore bread and butter, the Mac. A few years back, this kind of a change in an iMac would result in a major announcement, perhaps even an event, in addition to the prominent featuring on the home page. Today, iPhone is king, apparently.

        That was his point.

            1. MacPros are very profitable for Apple. High margin, rarely discounted, high percentage of BTOs with even higher margins.

              Maybe you want a ton of external HDs with cables everywhere, but I prefer my 5 ( 4 bays second optical drive bay ) internal 2GB HDs. More connections, ability to upgrade with almost no tools, easy to clean.

              BTW-if your display dies you have a paperweight-a damned expensive one. Repairing the built in display costs more than the computer is worth for

    2. There was an article recently that pointed to the fact that the proportion of Macs sold that were desktops was becoming lower each year.
      It is important to note though that more desktop Macs are being sold that ever before. That’s because total Mac unit sales has quadrupled over the past 10 years.
      Apple may not promote it as heavily as before but it still provides $2-3 billion in revenue every quarter.

      1. … more desktop Macs are sold each year, compared to the previous year. The laptops are simply out-pacing the desktops. Don’t understand why. Sure, shorter expected life. Sure, if you just want one it will be the laptop. Sure, the iPad counts as a “portable”. Maybe it’s my age, liking the large screen?

  2. Buy now or wait for the Sept Back to School promo when I can get Lion pre-installed? I’m thinking Apple may offer $100 or more off an iPad 2 as an option instead of a free iPod Touch.

  3. Hey i wondering if anyone had any experiance with the display as a designer/ digital painter? I would buy one of those iMac’s right away if they had the matte display. I’m really afraid the glossy displays that are being used everywhere today will reflext too much of the environment. Any comments on that would be greatly appreciated.

    1. I moved from a G5 tower to an iMac 3 years ago and although I prefer a matte screen to a glossy one, I’ve been able to adjust quite well. I work as a graphic designer and digital imaging specialist (photo retoucher). Keep in mind, environment plays a role. I work in a dimly lit room positioned away from any windows.

    2. Reflections are not a problem unless you have the brightest object right in front of the screen…….i.e. A window directly facing the screen with bright sunshine outside. In this case you will have trouble even with a non-glossy screen. I have used the glossy without any problem and I have bright windows to the side.

    3. I have a 2 year old 27″ i7 iMac and I love it. I replaced an aging Mac Pro. The reflections can get on my nerves but as the other posters stated, creating a reflection reducing work space mitigates the problem for me. I do miss the expandability of the Mac Pro and I would suggest considering your HD requirements carefully. Unfortunately because I bought a refurb from Apple I was stuck with the 1TB drive.

    4. yeah true. I work on a macbook pro with an external monitor at the moment. i guess i could try using the laptops display for a while (glossy as well) to see the difference (now why haven’t i think of that before 🙁 ???). thanks for the feedback guys.

  4. @Ralph M
    “The press release says the screens are IPS, but the spec page on the Apple site says they are TFT.”

    Ralph, ALL LCD panels are TFT. IPS and TN are different types of TFT. Apple’s description of the new iMac screens as TFT does not preclude them from being IPS.

    I’m glad to see that Apple is using IPS panels in the full range of iMacs. I believe that in the past the smaller iMacs had TN panels and the larger ones IPS. For accuracy and wide viewing angle, IPS is the way to go. It’d be interesting to know what the color gamut is – sRGB, aRGB, or somewhere in between. Given that the backlight is white LEDs, I’m guessing sRGB. These screens should be suitable for consumer and mid-level professional photo editing.

  5. Black Friday discounts with Lion installed? Can I wait that long? And can I resist the various build-to-order upgrades? My 2007 Intel iMac 24″ has been a tremendous machine and is still going quite strong as it closes on 4 years old. The iMac is the best all-purpose desktop shipped to date.

    1. Just wait until Sept and take advantage of the Back to School promo if you’re a student, have a student in the family or know one. You’ll also get an iPod Touch free if past promos are any indication. Although, I bet this year the promo will offer discounts on iPads or iPhones as well.

      1. It’s not just September. Usually the promo runs from some time in June to maybe mid-September (I don’t know why I”m thinking it ended on the 15th last year? I could be off by a few days). So you have plenty of time.

        Not only the free iPod Touch, but if you order on line from the Apple Store you can also get a free $99 printer of your choice as well, or $99 off any more expensive printer. I usually grab the latest $99 HP All in One, and donate my old one. Most people have a student, are a student or know a student. ; ) It’s a fantastic deal

    2. I have the same machine and it runs strong but I am working with more and more photos and a speed uptick would not hurt ….

      But I am torn as putting a 27″ screen so close to me maybe too much …. and I don’t want to go down to the 21.5 inch guy ….

      Will wait for a promo – even $100 off would be nice ….. But a new iTouch wouldn’t hurt either, I have plenty of grand-kids to pass my current iTouch down to …..

  6. Looking forward to the iMac reviews that will crop up over the next week or so. As much as I agree that user experience trumps specs, I do love to pore over performance bar charts!

  7. You know that Apple is doing something right, when they release a new Mac and you want it. I’ve felt that way for the last 3 Macs, the 11″ MBA, the 13″ MBP and now the latest iMac.

    1. I can’t remember a time when they released something and I didn’t want it. And before anyone paints a Jobs’ RDF spin for my adulation, I have lusted for Mac II SE and FE, MacTV, PowerCD, Image Writer II (everyone surely had one of those :o) their snowy white designed Apple OneScanner and list goes on. I may have uttered a ‘meh’ once or twice (I’m drawing blanks for examples), but still wanted each one of them screaming at me from the MacMall magazines.

  8. What I really wanna know is does the new 27″ iMac support the HDMI to mini-displayport adapters like the Kanex XD or the Belkin AV360. There is no mention of it supporting video input like the previous generation iMacs so I’m hoping they haven’t axed that feature to usher in the Thunderbolt changes. I am only gonna buy a new iMac if it supports this feature so I can use the nice 27″ screen for dual purposes……..Bedroom desktop/HD display for other HDMI sources

  9. $2400 to be spent tonight!
    Upgrade the ram on the graphics to 2gb and the 3.4 CPU.
    Ram is much cheaper and easier to install later.
    27″ iMac coming soon to a desk near me.

    Just wished lion was released though.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.