Apple rumored to release new iMacs with Sandy Bridge Tuesday

Apple iMac 27-inch

Apple plans to release new models of its popular line of all-in-one iMac desktop computer this week, according to sources “familiar” with Apple’s “retail operations” who spoke with Apple Insider. The new iMac line is said to come loaded with Intel’s zippy new Sandy Bridget Core i processors.

Debut of the new iMacs is said to go down tomorrow, Tuesday, May 3. In addition to the Sandy Bridge update, which will greatly increase the processing power of the new desktop models, the latest iMacs are said to come with Intel’s uber-fast Thunderbolt port.

Both the Sandy Bridge chips and Thunderbolt were recently instituted into Apple’s computers with the recent release of the latest line of MacBook Pro laptops. Thunderbolt, debuted in February, provides data transfer speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second, which clocks in at about 20 times faster than USB 2.0, and roughly twice as fast as USB 3.0.

Reports from late last year indicated that the new iMacs will be available in new panel sizes. Currently, Apple offers only the 21.5-inch and 27-inch varieties. The all-in-one line is also said to receive a price reduction, from its current $1195 and $1695 price points. Neither of these rumors have been confirmed.

So, why should anyone believe this rumor? First, Apple hasn’t revamped its iMac line since July 2010, so the time for new specs is growing ripe. Second, Apple Insider’s source says a “visual night,” during which several Apple employees work through the wee hours in preparation for a product rollout, is scheduled for tonight, May 2. “So it is highly likely that whatever new product that is going to be refreshed or introduced will be done on [May 3],” the source said.

If accurate, this week’s release of new Apple desktops comes at a time when mobile computers, like the iPad and iPhone, are filling the Cupertino-based company’s coffers. But surely there’s still a place for a big, bright screen that won’t fit in a backpack. Right?