Mac fans can breathe a sigh of relief: After it was previously rumored that Apple might delay the release of its redesigned 2012 iMac until January 2013, Apple on Tuesday morning officially announced its plans to release its ultra-thin desktop design this Friday.
"Apple today announced the all-new iMac will be available on Friday, Nov. 30," Apple said in its press release. "Featuring a stunning design, brilliant display with reduced reflection, faster processors and an innovative new storage option called Fusion Drive, the new iMac is the most advanced desktop Apple has ever made.
"The 21.5-inch iMac will be available through the Apple Online Store, Apple's retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. The 27-inch iMac will be available for order through the Apple Online Store and will begin shipping in December."
Earlier this month, French news site MacBidouille, citing a "commercial source," said the two redesigned iMac models set to be released in November and December would likely be pushed back until 2013, missing the all-important holiday shopping season.
"We just learned from a commercial source that Apple has delayed the release of the iMac announced three weeks ago," MacBidouille wrote. "While the model output 21.5 'was scheduled for Nov. 27 and that' for December, it is possible now that the range [of] the holiday season."
Tim Cook had even predicted the possibility of delaying the release of the 2012 iMac during Apple's conference call with investors on Oct. 25.
"In terms of general shortages, the iMac will be constrained for the full quarter in a significant way," Cook told investors. "Part of that is that we're beginning shipping the 21.5-inch iMac and November and the 27-inch in December, so there will be a short amount of time during the quarter to manufacture and ramp those, and I expect the demand to be robust. So we will have a significant shortage there."
The cause for the possible delay was said to be the complicated and intensive process used to create each ultra-thin iMac screen. By laminating the display directly to the glass, Apple was able to remove all air gaps from the computer, making the entire display system 45 percent thinner. This process, which is only achieved by welding a system of aluminum under a highly-pressurized system, is reportedly a similar process used to assemble aircraft wings, including the Airbus A380.
“This is so thin we wanted to do something even more with it," explained Phil Schiller, Apple's senior VP of marketing, at Apple's Oct. 23 media event. "The way this is welded is called friction stir welding.”
Apple was also able to make the iMac even more "amazingly thin" by removing the computer's optical drive and reengineering the internal components. At its very thinnest point (the edge), the new iMac is just 5 mm thin, which is 80 percent thinner than the previous generation. The desktop also weighs eight pounds lighter than the previous generation.
The 21.5-inch iMac features a 1920 x 1080 display resolution, and with a new process called "plasma deposition," the screen is 75 percent less reflective than in the previous iMac generation.
As far as storage goes, the iMac can be configured with up to 3TB of storage with a Core i5 or i7 processor, but before they make their purchase, Apple will ask customers to choose between three new storage options:
"Customers can choose what they want: A hard drive for storage, or an SSD for speed," said Apple's SVP of marketing Phil Schiller, when he announced the 2012 iMac at the iPad Mini event in October. "But we have a new option. It's called the Apple Fusion Drive."
Apple’s new Fusion Drive contains 128 GB of flash storage with 1TB or 3TB HDD, which is fused into a single volume. With access to storage, the new Fusion Drive performs almost as well as Flash, but it keeps documents significantly more secure on the HDD.
“Apple has some logic which figures out which apps you use the most and will shift those to the SDD,” Schiller explained.
The 21-inch iMac features a 2.7GHz quad-core i5 processor with 8GB of RAM, a GeForce GT 640M and 1TB of HDD. This model, which also comes with two speakers on the bottom sides of the "chin," a 720p HD FaceTime camera and dual microphones, will begin shipping this Friday.
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