2012 iMac rumour roundup: Retina display? September launch?

Karen Haslam
4 August, 2012
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The iMac was last updated in May 2011. That’s some time ago. Understandably Mac users are getting impatient to get their hands on a new model with new processors and maybe even a Retina Display. Here we round up the latest rumours about the 2012 iMac to give you an idea of what to expect.

When will the New iMac launch?

A September arrival date for the new iMac is in keeping with previous reports that the new iMac will arrive before the iPhone 5, which is expected to launch in September alongside iOS 6.

Lending more weight to the September shipping date are claims from KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who predicts that the new iMac will appear (alongside a 13in Retina MacBook Pro at some stage in September. Kuo said the reason why we haven’t yet seen an Ivy Bridge iMac is that it has been delayed following screen lamination issues.

Retina Display iMac?

As for that screen, there are rumours that the iMac will gain a Retina Display like the MacBook Pro with Retina Display.

But developers have suggested that the next iMac might not have the Retina display that many are expecting. This is because, as screen sizes get larger, the graphics card requirements also increase. The 27in iMac currently has a resolution of 2,560 x 1,440 – the Retina display resolution on that model would need to be 5,120 x 2,880 and that would require a powerful graphics processor.

There’s another rumour that the new iMacs will have anti-reflective displays, which will please many a designer frustrated by the iMac’s glossy screen.

Ivy Bridge Processors for new iMac

What can we expect from the new iMac in terms of power? Intel unveiled its new Ivy Bridge processor back in April and the iMac is an ideal candidate for these chips.

Because of the iMac’s all-in-one design, we could see new iMacs with Ivy Bridge’s Desktop Low Power processors. It’s possible that the Core i7 Extreme Edition processor could be featured as a build-to-order option for the top-of-the-line 27-inch iMac.

Intel has eight Core i7 processor models: two for the desktop, two designated as Desktop Low-Power, and four mobile models. The Ivy Bridge processors are the first processors that are created using Intel’s 22 nanometer (nm) process technology, which are smaller, and consume less power, according to Intel.

Will Intel integrated graphics be enough for new iMac? 

Another major change to the Intel processor line up is the built-in graphics-processing unit (GPU). Previous Core processors had built-in GPUs, so the fact that Ivy Bridge has a GPU isn’t new. But the built-in GPU isn’t usually considered a GPU that’s ideal for games or graphically demanding work. Macworld Lab’s experience is that the Sandy Bridge GPU (the Intel Graphics 3000) is enough to meet the minimum requirements of some games and graphics apps, but not enough for more demanding software.

So will the new iMacs use discrete GPUs or will they take advantage of Intel’s latest integrated graphics? The current iMac uses discrete GPUs, but older iMac models have used integrated Intel graphics. Will Apple go for the Ivy Bridge’s Intel Graphics 4000 in some iMac models? And if it does, will those graphics processors be able to provide at least the minimum performance needed for some games and graphics apps.

One thing seems certain; an integrated graphics card wouldn’t have the oomph to support a Retina Display in the iMac. However, Intel has revealed that its Ivy Bridge processor is built for Retina display computers.  Intel’s Vice President and General Manager of the PC Client Group, Kirk Skaugen, revealed that the new processors are built for Retina display at the Intel Developer Forum that took place on 11 April.

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  1. Adam says:

    I would like to think that Apple will make a big leap forward by not only incorporating Ivy Bridge and retina display but also an SSD and no ODD to replace the remaining mechanical items in the iMac.

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