Apple’s new iMac looks beautiful, but there’s junk in the trunk

A few weeks have passed since Apple announced its new line of iMacs, which means we’ve had plenty of time to speculate about the product. One thing we thought long and hard about is the iMac’s backside. The new iMac is a lot like a lady straight from Sir Mix-A-Lot’s id. It’s so thin from the front it practically melts away, but once you get a profile shot … bam! Baby got back. (Ars Technica and The Mac Observer have the pictures that Apple doesn’t want to show you.) 

At 5mm thick on the edges, and 80 percent thinner than its predecessor, it’s the thinnest iMac yet, which seems to fall right into Apple’s obsession with size. The iPhone 5 is “the biggest thing to happen to iPhone since iPhone” and the new iPad mini is “every inch an iPad.” Before that, the iPad 2 was 33 percent thinner than the original. The first update since May 2011, Apple’s new iMac will be 40 percent less in volume. But all those savings exist up front. Where the stand connects to the body, however, appears nearly as thick as the last iMac, resulting in a bulbous backside. So, what is the junk in the new iMac’s trunk?

The updates to the iMac line aren’t just skin deep. The insides of the iMac now feature the Fusion Drive, a new addition to Apple’s hardware that couples 128GB of NAND flash with either a 1TB or 3TB hard drive. The Fusion Drive moves the files you use the most to Flash storage and the files you use the least often to the hard disk, resulting in faster startup times, faster app launches, and quicker file access. The new iMacs also are upgrading to Intel’s Ivy Bridge Core i5 and Core i7 processors.  

While the promise that each iMac is “individually color calibrated using an advanced spectroradiometer” sounds like a gimmick, the option to get NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680MX graphics, perhaps the best available for an all-in-one computer, is a definite plus for designers, cinephiles or graphics junkies in general. But what are iMac customers losing out on when they trade up to a thinner, lighter desktop? An optical drive to play Blu-Ray discs? Expanded storage? Being able to easily upgrade in the future? The answer is yes; all those things will be sacrificed for a slim body, and here’s why …

Some of the changes are skin deep – specifically the gapless, less-reflective laminated-glass face built using “friction-stir welding,” a technique “that required unprecedented feats of engineering,” according to Apple. Switching to “friction-stir welding,” Apple’s Phil Schiller said the company figured out a way to merge the molecules of the aluminum to make it one piece. That sounds pretty awesome, but it also makes it impossible to actually get into the computer if you ever want to upgrade the RAM. Previous models of the iMac allowed users to unscrew a small metal plate situated between the speakers and the bottom of the iMac to bump up the  memory. But that option is no more. Because of the new slim body, and laminating the glass face to its LCD panel, three out of the four models are not upgradeable.

Of course, the one model that is upgradable is the most expensive, high-end iMac: the 27-inch 3.2GHz 1TB model with an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 675MX graphics processor configurable to 680MX. However, starting at a base price of $1,999 before the graphics upgrade, that’s a lot to pay, especially considering you could get a PC with the same (or better specs) for less money. Sure, the Dell XPS One 27 isn’t 5mm thin, but considering a desktop computer isn’t an item we buy every one to two years, like our phone or tablet, do you really want to commit to a non-upgradeable iMac for the next couple of years? 

What are the features you wish Apple had included in the new iMac?

Gaming

Brace yourself. Sony’s PlayStation 5 is going to be expensive

How much will Sony's PlayStation 5 cost? Official pricing will stay under wraps for months, but early details provide enough information to make a guess. Our estimate suggests the price will be higher than fans expect to pay.
Computing

These ray-tracing games will help you push your GPU to the limit

These are the upcoming games that support ray tracing rendered on Nvidia's RTX and GTXs graphics cards. They aren't many in number at this point, but thanks to the power of ray tracing, they are some of the best-looking games ever made.
Mobile

Memoji in iOS 12 lets you create an avatar that looks and moves just like you

Apple's Memoji feature on iOS 12 allows you to send a customize Animoji that looks exactly like you. In comparison to other apps that allow you to make your own custom avatar, Memoji doesn't overcomplicate it.
Computing

These accessories will take your iMac to the next level

Find the best iMac accessories for your computer! Here are the top peripherals for your iMac, including suggestions for a great keyboard, mouse, speaker system, external hard drive, desk stand, and much more.
Gaming

Apple Arcade reportedly supported by investments of more than $500 million

Apple Arcade will reportedly be supported by investments worth more than $500 million. Apple is also said to be offering incentives to developers if they decide to release their games as mobile exclusives for Apple Arcade.
Home Theater

Beats Powerbeats Pro: Everything you need to know about the earphones

Apple will release a fully wireless pair of earphones in May from its Beats brand. The Powerbeats Pro earphones have impressive features to compete with the AirPods, along with a litany of other options. Here's everything we know.
Mobile

Apple's iOS 13 will reportedly offer a systemwide Dark Mode and windowed apps

iOS 12 was a relatively large update to Apple's iPhone, but iOS 13 could be even bigger. Rumors have begun circulating about what we should expect from iOS 13, which suggest a much more productive operating system for both iPhone and iPad.
Deals

Need a new tablet? Here are the best iPad deals for April 2019

In the wide world of tablets, Apple is still the king. If you're on team Apple and just can't live without iOS, we've curated an up-to-date list of all of the best iPad deals currently available for April 2018.
Deals

It’s time to check out the best Apple Watch deals for April 2019

The Apple Watch has surged to prominence in recent years. If you're in the market for an iOS wearable, we've sniffed out the best Apple Watch deals available right now for all three models of this great smartwatch.
Mobile

Apple has a weird issue with its second-generation Pencil

Apple has a bizarre issue with its second-generation Pencil. The company says that if it's in charging mode and is positioned close to a car's key fob, interference can prevent the device from unlocking the vehicle.
Deals

Decluttr is offering a refurbished iPhone 6 for as little as $120

Decluttr announced a deal on its "good" condition iPhone 6. Through Decluttr, you can get the device for as little as $120, which is an excellent deal on the phone. The iPhone 6 may be a few generations old, but it's still a great device.
Computing

MacOS update may include external display support for iPads

Apple's upcoming MacOS is rumored to include a new native external display support feature. Code-named "Sidecar" the new feature is expected to allow MacOS computers to send app windows to external displays like iPads.
Deals

Apple’s MacBook laptop is on sale for just $800 for a limited time

If you have your heart set on a MacOS-powered laptop, B&H has a sale on Apple's MacBook that takes the price down to $800. Only select models are on sale right now, but you can score up to a $600 savings if you act quickly.
Mobile

You've spent a grand, now don't skimp on a screen protector for your iPhone X

Wondering how to protect your new iPhone X against scratches and drops? Look no further than our list of the best iPhone X screen protectors, which includes screen protectors designed to reinforce your phone's front panel.