Today, Apple has introduced the second lineup of new Apple computers with the introduction of the Apple iMac Personal Desktop computers for 2011:.
Buying a 2011 Apple iMac
The new iMac models from Apple ship with Intel quad core processors across the board with today’s announcement and this means that as of today, the 2011 Apple iMac announced today, and that includes the new Apple iMac 21.5 inch 3.06GHz, Apple iMac 21.5 inch 3.2GHz, Apple iMac 27 inch 3.2Ghz, and Apple iMac 27 inch 2.8GHz quad core released in the summer of 2010 are discontinued as current iMac models, and if you don’t need to buy the latest iMac, now is the perfect time to buy an Apple iMac from 2010 that yesterday was a current iMac model, but are now on sale at a discount today and you can save at least ten percent off 2010 Apple iMac computers if you hurry with savings up to $300 off.
Faster Processors in the 2011 iMacs
But when it comes to the new Apple iMacs for 2011, regardess of which screen size iMac you choose to buy the newest Apple iMac models all ship with faster processors and unlike the now discontinued 2010 iMacs, all are Intel Quad Core processors, which according to Apple can process up to 2x faster than the older Apple iMac models thanks to the Intel Core quad core i5 and i7 processors, (no more Intel i3 for the iMacs) the Apple iMac is available to buy in four different configurations – two iMacs with 21 inch displays and two iMacs with 27 inch displays:
The Apple iMac prices you see above are the suggested retail price, but you can do much better on Apple iMac deals when you buy an iMac from an online retailer like Amazon or MacMall, where the new Apple iMac models can be bought for much than paying full price for an Apple iMac from the Apple Store.
Bigger iMac Hard Drive Options
All Apple iMac models ship from Apple with at least a 500GB hard drive in the cheapest iMac, the 21.5 inch 2.5 GHz and all other iMac models in the 2011 Apple iMac lineup feature 1TB hard drives standard, with options to upgrade to a SSD solid state hard drive at checkout
Video Card Memory and Speed
All the 2011 Apple iMacs now come with faster video cards by AMD and depending on what model of iMac ship with either AMD RADEON HD graphics cards running at least 512MB G5DDR Video memory for faster graphics performance in every new Apple iMac, and the 3.1 GHz ship standard with 1GB of video memory, while all others come out of the box with 512mb AMD video RAM.
Video and Camera Support
The newest Apple iMacs this year also come standard with high definition video cameras built into each and every iMac and feature FaceTime, where you can now chat in full HD with each other (assuming you both have HD face time cameras) . Also, if the built in display isn’t big enough for you with the new iMacs, there’s also video out support for external monitors up to 30 inches in size for even added screen real estate.
New iMac Connection and expansion options
For the new 2011 Apple iMacs, there’s new ways to connect and interface with other components externally to your iMac, and the iMac is the newest int the Apple lineup to feature thunderbolt technology which offers one thunderbolt port on the smaller iMacs, two on the 27 inch Apple iMacs, a Mini Display Port output, One 7 watt firewire 800 port, four USB 2.0 ports, a sdxc memory card slot (more on that later) and slot loading 8x superdrive, audio in and out and 10/100/1000 Base ethernet in a a RJ45 connector rounding out the connection options.
Wireless KeyBoard and Mouse
One of the nicest things about the new Apple iMacs is the fact that with the release of the 2011 Apple iMacs in the spring of 2011 (May is still spring, wish as we may otherwise) is that there’s absolutely no wires to connect the keyboard and mouse and Apple magic trackpad as all the devices connect wirelessly to all models of iMac computer announced today without the need for unsightly wires and cords resulting in a cleaner desktop space. Built in support for wi-fi wireless 80211.n and bluetooth 2.1 are included in the Apple iMacs of course, this seems almost silly to mention in 2011 as the iMac is the most modern Apple desktop computer you can buy today.
2011 Apple iMac Size and Weight
The smaller Apple iMacs, the 21.5 inch Apple iMacs come in these dimensions:
Height: 17.75 inches (45.1 cm)
Width: 20.8 inches (52.8 cm)
Depth: 7.42 inches (18.85 cm)
Weight: 20.5 pounds (9.3 kg)3
And the bigger Apple iMacs are of course, bigger and heavier with the 27 inch iMac topping 30lbs, although I suppose you could carry the iMac with you, 30lbs gets heavy quite fast and you may need a portable Mac notebook instead.
Height: 20.4 inches (51.7 cm)
Width: 25.6 inches (65.0 cm)
Depth: 8.15 inches (20.7 cm)
Weight: 30.5 pounds (13.8 kg)3
Apple iMac AppleCare Warranty and Service
Out of the box, all Apple iMacs ship out of the box with 90 days of telephone support and one year limited warranty from Apple in the rare case you do have Apple iMac problems. I have found that the included warranty is enough as for most of us, we will buy an Apple iMac put it on a desk -and because it’s a Mac – just start using it. Unlike a notebook Apple computer, unless you drown the keyboard with coke (which wouldn’t be covered anyway I don’t see the need or value for buying an extended warranty and just use the standard warranty. I’ve written about the pros and cons of the Apple warranty before if you’d like to do more reading, but rest assured the warranty on the 2011 iMac will do just fine for all but a few iMac users.
What’s in the 2011 Apple iMac Box
Every 2011 Apple iMac ships with the same accessories and the only difference being the iMac itself but besides the Apple iMac, you also get:
Apple Wireless Keyboard
Apple Magic Mouse
Printed and electronic documentation
Apple iMac Configuration Options
Software included with 2011 Apple iMac
For a lot of you, this is the very reason, aside from great looks and features the iMac offers is why you buy the iMac and that’s the great software that each iMac comes with. Otherwise, we’d all end up buying cheaper PC’s. But Apple’s desktop computer aimed at the home, school and home office user (and in some cases, business) ships standard with Mac OS X Snow Leopard that offers iTunes, Time Machine, Quick Look, Spaces, Spotlight, Dashboard, Mail, iChat, Safari, Address Book, QuickTime, iCal, DVD Player, Photo Booth, Front Row, Xcode Developer Tools to name a few common and popular Apple applications. But the iLife applications suite is also included too: iPhoto, iMovie, Garage Band and iMovie are also standard across the 2011 Apple iMac lineup.
Configurable Apple iMac Options
One of the few reasons to buy direct from the Apple Store (I prefer Amazon) is that you can upgrade direct right from the factory when you buy the 2011 Apple iMac, but one thing that’s interesting is that depending on what iMac you’re interested in, the result will be different when it comes to options other than the iMac itself.
Apple iMac 21.5 inch, 2.5GHz at $1199 (cheaper at Amazon) allows you upgrade the RAM to 8GB and buy a Magic Trackpad. On the Apple iMac Apple iMac 21.5 inch 2.7GHz at $1499, (see best price) you get the option of adding the RAM and Magic TrackPad, but also the memory upgrade options jump to 16GB of iMac RAM, the hard drive on the 2011 Apple iMac can be upgraded to 2TB, and a 256GB solid state hard drive and 2.8Ghz processor upgrade is possible as well.
The 27 inch Apple iMacs offer the most configuration options with the cheaper 27 inch Apple iMac coming with the ability to upgrade the memory to 16GB, add a Magic Trackpad, a 2TB hard drive or even a 256 GB solid state hard drive for faster performance. The fastest iMac 27 inch model also allows the same upgrade choices as the other models but also includes the option to bump the processor to 3.4 GHz as well as upgrade the video card to a AMD Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory.
iMac RAM is the best upgrade you can do for iMac
It should probably come as no surprise that I’m recommending the memory upgrades but it’s my opinion this is the one thing you should do right away, but not buy from the mother ship, as it’s just too expensive right now when you can buy the same memory upgrades for Apple iMacs for much much less than Apple’s prices when it comes to ram prices for the 2011 Apple iMacs:
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At the time I write this, you can max out the iMac with 4x 4GB DDR3 1333Mhz sdram sodimms for under $200 (assuming you need to buy 16GB of 2011 Apple iMac RAM)
One of the nicer things about the 2011 iMacs is the memory upgrade specifications didn’t change at all with this refresh of the Apple iMac lineup and you can still use DDR3 1333MHz 10600 notebook sodimms as the RAM for 2010 and 2011 iMacs are the same so if you do have a 2010 iMac this is one of the few models you can still use the same memory for the different model years. This is not the case with the Apple MacBook Pros that require you to use all new memory as the RAM in the 2010 and 2011 MacBook Pro is a completely different memory type.
It’s been close to a year since we last saw an Apple iMac refresh of any kind, and the faster processors, graphics cards, and even the thunderbolt technology isn’t really that much of a surprise to me as it was introduced on the MacBook Pro in Feb, it was only a matter of months before the ThuderBolt started to show up on other newer Apple computers too.
One thing I am happy about is that the ram for the iMacs is the same as the older summer 2010 iMacs which means that when you want to upgrade your iMac to this year’s model, you can take your memory upgrade with you.
I had hoped that the 16GB RAM limit might be increased, but I guess for most iMac consumers, 16GB of RAM is more than enough for every day computing which is what the iMac was designed for, and with 8GB iMac RAM being the sweet spot for iMac RAM prices right now, there’s few reasons right now to bump the upgrades to 16GB for iMac just yet. I wouldn’t be surprised if OWC and other memory stores start to advertise higher capacity memory upgrades for the iMac at a later date, and when they do, I’ll be sure to keep you posted on any changes with adding more ram to your iMac.