New Apple iMacs to be Unveiled at October 23 Event?
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) confirmed that it has a "little more to show" the public at its event next week. All signs indicate that the company will unveil the long-awaited iPad Mini, a seven-inch tablet designed to compete with Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) Nexus 7, Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble's (NYSE: BKS) Nook HD.
Rumors suggest that Apple may plan to unveil other new products as well, including upgrades to the Mac Mini and a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display. The latter announcement seems far-fetched, as it could draw attention away from the 15-inch model. However, a new report indicates that Apple might be planning to upgrade the iMac before the end of 2012.
While Apple does not significantly upgrade all of its products on an annual basis, the company has yet to provide any meaningful upgrade to the iMac this year. According to AppleInsider, that could change next week.
This is not the first time that Apple was expected to introduce a new iMac. In September, upstream supply chain sources claimed that the company had begun shipping mass quantities of the new iMac, which would be unveiled at Apple's iPhone 5 event. That conference came and went without a hint of iMac's future.
Unlike the iPhone 5, the iPad Mini is not necessarily a flagship product for Apple. It may ultimately prove to be a second-tier product like the iPod Touch, or an interim product designed to appease consumers while they wait for the fourth-generation iPad.
More than 16 months ago, Apple revised its iMac lineup with an upgraded processor, the addition of multiple Thunderbolt ports and other minor tweaks. Little else was changed, as the sleek and metallic design remained in tact. Apple is not expected to greatly move away from this format, but it could borrow components from the Next-Gen MacBook Pro and shift to solid state memory. The company may also choose to remove components that are no longer needed by everyday users, such as the DVD drive.
There is also the chance that Apple will bring its coveted Retina Display to the iMac family. In doing so, the company might be forced to raise the price of new iMacs. While this upgrade would certainly appeal to the core Apple demographic, a Retina Display may not be worth the added expense.
By the year's end, personal computer sales are expected to decline for the first time since 2001. If Apple wants to turn a profit, it might have to sell a cheaper iMac, not a more expensive one.
Apple has already made an effort to sell cheaper hardware. While the thinner and lighter Next-Gen MacBook Pro retails for a hefty starting price of $2,199, the MSRP of the 13-inch MacBook Air was reduced by $100 when it was upgraded earlier this year. Apple also allows consumers to double the MacBook Air's memory (from 4GB to 8GB) for $100 more. This allowed the company to remain competitive with Intel's (NASDAQ: INTC) Ultrabooks. It also enticed new sales from consumers that might have chosen to wait out the PC slump.
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