By Chris Wright
on 10.23.12
Photo by Apple

The iMac has dominated the all-in-one desktop market for years despite only receiving incremental updates in recent memory. The New Apple iMac ($1,300+) finally represents the next step in desktop design, proving once again that thin is definitely still in. Specifically, the new form factor is 80% skinnier than the last model and weighs 8 pounds less — which is good news for your poor desk legs. It’s striking, almost emaciated look, is amplified by clever and aggressive rounded back, that stores bigger internals in the center of the computer, while allowing the edges to reach an incredible thickness (thinness?) of 5mm.

As expected, the new machine is available in 27-inch and 21.5-inch versions, sporting 2560 x 1440 and 1920 x 1080 IPS displays respectively — both of which claim to cut down on much-maligned glare via a fully laminated glass screen. Internals are equally robust, starting with either a Core i5 or i7 processor, up to 32GB of RAM, a FaceTime HD camera, 2 Thunderbolt ports, 4 USB 3.0 ports, and an array of storage options that include up to a 768GB SSD for optimal performance or a 3TB hard drive for ample storage. If you can’t decide between those two options, Apple offers a new compromise with a 1TB or 3TB “Fusion Drive”, which melds a 128GB SSD with a typical hard drive, providing near-SSD levels of performance with the gratuitous storage levels of a bigger platter-based discs. Unfortunately, the optical drive is one thing that was Julienned out of this blade-shaped work horse, but they’ll be no funeral service about that here. The Retina display also hasn’t migrated to desktop land just yet (gotta save some tricks for later right?), but all of the same construction techniques and software scaling options are there, making it hard to distinguish pixels as is. Plus, after an update drought that would make the Gobi desert blush, we’re still happy with what we’ve got.

Itching to pull the trigger now? Well, you can score the 21.5-inch version starting in November for an entry level price of $1,300, or wait for its larger compadre, which starts at $1,800, to ship a month later in December — but we all know clicking those spec-bump options can escalate the sticker shock faster than a housewife on QVC.

Buy Now: $1,300+ (21.5-inch ships November, 27-inch ships December)