On September 24, 2013, the 2012 iMac model was updated with 4th-generation Intel Haswell processors and Nvidia 7xx series GPU, promising up to 1.4× improvements in performance. It also has 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which is capable of reaching speeds up to 1300Mbit/s and PCIe-based flash storage, offering up to 1.5× the performance of previous-generation (Ivy Bridge) iMacs. This applies to both the Fusion Drive and pure-SSD options. These became the last iMacs to offer Target Display Mode, as the Retina line introduced the following year are incompatible with the feature due to resolution differences.
In August 2007, Apple introduced a complete redesign of the iMac, featuring an aluminum, glass and plastic enclosure. There is only one visible screw on the entire computer, located at the base of the iMac for accessing the memory slots. It has a black, plastic backplate that is not user-removable. The 17-inch model was completely removed from the lineup.
Default RAM has also been increased across the iMac range. With the advent of the larger screens, Apple doubled the number of memory slots from two to four. Consequently, the maximum memory capacity was also doubled (to 16GB), and for Intel Core i-series (27-inch), quadrupled, to 32GB.
The Late 2011 Unibody iMac is also the last model to include an internal SuperDrive.
Alongside the MacBook Pro, the iMac Core Duo represents Apple's first computer to feature Intel processors instead of PowerPC processors. It retained the style, design, and features of the iMac G5.
In March 2009, Apple released a minor refresh of the iMac line. Changes included a fourth USB port, replacement of two FireWire 400 ports with one FireWire 800 port, replacement of mini-DVI with Mini DisplayPort, and a slightly redesigned base which is thinner. The exterior design was almost identical to the older Intel-based iMacs. The models were one 20-inch configuration and three 24-inch configurations (instead of two at each screen size as before).
In late 2006, Apple introduced a new version of the iMac including a Core 2 Duo chip and a lower price. Apple added a new 24-inch model with IPS-display and a resolution of 1920 × 1200 (WUXGA), making it the first iMac to be able to display 1080p content in its full resolution, and a VESA Flat Display Mounting Interface. Except for the 17-inch 1.83 GHz processor model, this version also included an 802.11n draft card.
In October 2012, a new iMac model was introduced that featured a considerably smaller body depth than the previous models, measuring 5mm at its thinnest point, and now without an internal SuperDrive. This was partly achieved by using a process called Full lamination. The display and glass are laminated together, eliminating a 2 mm gap between them. The 21.5 in and 27 in screens remained at their previous resolutions, 1920×1080 and 2560×1440 respectively.
The 27-inch models of the line became the first to offer Target Display Mode, allowing the iMac to be used as an external display for another Mac computer when connected via Mini DisplayPort, a feature that was extended to the 21.5-inch models onwards with the introduction of Thunderbolt.
A Retina Display "5K" model with a resolution of 5120 × 2880 was introduced alongside the previous year's models during a keynote on October 16, 2014. This 27-inch model was given faster Haswell processors and its two Thunderbolt ports were updated to Thunderbolt 2. Secondary storage was also upgraded to a 1TB Fusion drive as standard and video options changed over to AMD Radeon R9 M290X and M295X. In May 2015, a separate, affordable, budget counterpart of the 5K 27-inch iMac was announced with lower specifications. That same day the late 2013 iMac lineup was completely discontinued. Later that year, a 21.5-inch "4K" model with a resolution of 4096 × 2304 was released on October 13, 2015 with older Broadwell processors, as the 27-inch counterparts were upgraded that day directly to Skylake ones. The new rechargeable and wireless peripherals were also introduced that day. In 2017 both 21.5 and 27-inch iMacs were refreshed with newer Kaby Lake Processors, new Thunderbolt 3 (USB-C) ports, and Bluetooth 4.2.
As with the 2009 model, memory has been upgraded; the standard specification is now 8 GB, with the 21.5 in model supporting up to 16GB and the 27 in model supporting up to 32GB. It was reported that the 21.5 in iMac would have non-replaceable soldered memory similar to the MacBook Air and Retina display MacBook Pro though tear-downs show that it uses removable memory but accessing the modules requires ungluing the screen and removing the motherboard. The 27 in version features an access port to upgrade memory without disassembling the display. Apple also upgraded the computers' processors, using Intel's Ivy Bridge microarchitecture-based Core i5 and Core i7 microprocessors.
Video cards are now Nvidia as standard. USB 3.0 ports are now included for the first time. The 2012 iMac also features the option of a Fusion Drive which combines an SSD and a conventional HDD to create more efficient and faster storage. Apple also removed the built-in optical drive starting with this iMac generation.
iMac is a family of all-in-one Macintosh desktop computers designed and built by Apple Inc. It has been the primary part of Apple's consumer desktop offerings since its debut in August 1998, and has evolved through seven distinct forms.
Apple iMac was introduced in 1998 and its innovative design was directly the result of Jobs's return to Apple. Apple boasted "the back of our computer looks better than the front of anyone else's." Described as "cartoonlike", the first iMac, clad in Bondi Blue plastic, was unlike any personal computer that came before. In 1999, Apple introduced the Graphite gray Apple iMac and since has varied the shape, color and size considerably while maintaining the all-in-one design. Design ideas were intended to create a connection with the user such as the handle and a breathing light effect when the computer went to sleep. The Apple iMac sold for $1,299 at that time. The iMac also featured forward-thinking changes, such as eschewing the floppy disk drive and moving exclusively to USB for connecting peripherals. This latter change resulted, through the iMac's success, in the interface being popularised among third-party peripheral makers—as evidenced by the fact that many early USB peripherals were made of translucent plastic (to match the iMac design).
On June 6, 2017, Apple’s 21.5-inch iMac, which has a "Retina 4K" display at a resolution of 4096 × 2304 pixels, and the latest Intel 7th generation i5 processor, was announced. The iMac has Turbo Boost up to 3.6GHz supported, and 1 TB hard drive. Apple’s iMac with 4K display has Intel Core i5 quad-core processor with 3GHz or 3.4GHz clock speed. The RAM on board is 8GB, and it will support Turbo boost of up to 3.8GHz. This iMac has options of 1TB hard drive or 1TB Fusion Drive. This 21.5-inch iMac also has the option of Radeon Pro 555 with 2GB of video RAM for graphics or a Radeon Pro 560 with 4GB of video RAM. Apple’s 27-inch iMac with the 5K display comes with the quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, which is clocked at 3.4GHz, 3.5GHz or 3.8GHz. This iMac supports Turbo boost of up to 4.2Ghz, and comes with 8GB RAM option.
While not a criticism of iMac per se, the integrated design has some inherent tradeoffs that have garnered criticism. In The Mythical Midrange Mac Minitower, Dan Frakes of Macworld suggests that with iMac occupying the midrange of Apple's product line, Apple has little to offer consumers who want some ability to expand or upgrade their computers, but do not need (or cannot afford) the Mac Pro. For example, iMac's integration of monitor and computer, while convenient, commits the owner to replacing both at the same time. For a time before the Mac mini's introduction, there were rumors of a "headless iMac" but the G4 Mac mini as introduced had lower performance compared to the iMac, which at the time featured a G5 processor. Some third party suppliers such as Other World Computing provide upgrade kits that include specialized tools for working on iMacs.
On October 16, 2014, a new version of the 27-inch (69 cm) iMac was announced, whose main feature is a "Retina 5K" display at a resolution of 5120 × 2880 pixels. The new model also includes a new processor, graphics chip, and I/O, along with several new storage options. This computer was designed with professional photographers and video editors in mind, with the 5K resolution allowing 4K video to be played at its native resolution in Final Cut Pro, with room for toolbars on the side.
On October 23, 2012, a new iMac was announced (for a November/December release) with a substantially thinner edge, new Apple Fusion Drive, faster processors (Intel Core i5 and i7 Ivy Bridge) and graphics along with updates to the ports, but with the same overall depth (stand depth: 8 inches (20.3 cm)). To reduce the edge, the SuperDrive was removed on these iMacs.
Similarly, though the graphics chipset in some Intel models is on a removable MXM, neither Apple nor third parties have offered retail iMac GPU upgrades, with the exception of those for the original iMac G3's "mezzanine" PCI slot. Models after iMac G5 (excluding the August 7, 2007 iMac update) made it difficult for the end-user to replace the hard disk or optical drive, and Apple's warranty explicitly forbids upgrading the socketed CPU. While conceding the possibility of a minitower cannibalizing sales from the Mac Pro, Frakes argues there is enough frustration with iMac's limitations to make such a proposition worthwhile. This disparity has become more pronounced after the G4 era since the bottom-end Power Mac G5 (with one brief exception) and Mac Pro models have all been priced in the US$1999–2499 range, while base model Power Macs G4s and earlier were US$1299–1799. The current generation iMac has Intel 5th generation i5 and i7 processors, ranging from quad core 2.7 GHz i5 to a quad core 3.4 GHz i7 processor, however it is possible to upgrade the 2010 edition of the iMac quite easily.
By 2005, it had become more and more apparent that IBM's development for the desktop implementation of PowerPC was grinding to a halt. Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference that it would be switching the Macintosh to the x86 architecture and Intel's line of Core processors. The first Intel-equipped Macs were unveiled on January 10, 2006: the Intel iMac and the introductory MacBook Pro. Within nine months, Apple had smoothly transitioned the entire Macintosh line to Intel. One of the highly touted side benefits of this switch was the ability to run Windows on Mac hardware.