We reported back in June that El Capitan beta 2 seed included assets and code references to a rumored 4K 21.5 inch Retina iMac, which would accompany the 5K 27 inch Retina iMac in the family. El Capitan beta 6 was released last night and also includes some juicy references to the as-yet-unannounced 21.5 inch Retina Mac desktop.
As noted by MacRumors, Apple has recently introduced a new model of the low-end 21.5-inch iMac to educational institutions that brings slightly downgraded specs and shaves $200 off the price of the entry-level iMac available to consumers.
Replacing the old $999 iMac for education option, the new $1,099 21.5-inch iMac (ME699LL/A) offers 4GB of RAM, Intel HD Graphics 4000, and a 500GB hard drive. That’s compared to the 8GB of RAM and 1TB hard drive Apple includes in the regular entry-level model. Apple is also including a 3.3GHz dual-core Intel Core i3 CPU in the machine instead of the usual 2.7GHz quad-core Intel Core i5.
The new education model offers most of the usual built-to-order options, including the ability to upgrade to a 1TB Fusion Drive and up to 16GB of RAM.
Apple just recently dropped shipping times from 1 to 3 days down to “within 24 hours” for the new iMacs in its North American online stores, but the new iMac for education is shipping in 5 to 7 business days.
Shipping times for the new 21.5-inch iMacs, at least in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada, had sat at “7-10 business days” since the beginning of December. Following changes to shipping times for the device around the globe last night, Apple has today updated its U.S. site to reflect the new “2-3 week” shipping estimates being quoted. CEO Tim Cook warned in October that the company would experience significant iMac shortages for the full quarter. This pushes delivery for new orders of iMacs (27-inch included) well into February.
We expect Cook to provide updates on shortages later this week during the company’s earnings call.
Unfortunately, iFixit described the process as an “exercise in disappointment,” noting the iMac’s new thinner design introduces new hurdles for repairability. Most notably, the device’s glass and LCD are now glued directly to the iMac’s frame, while accessing the RAM, CPU, and hard drive will now mean having to remove the entire logic board:
The late 2012 iMac 21.5″ — code-named EMC 2544 — is an exercise in disappointment for us. We were quite worried when we saw that super-thin bezel during Apple’s keynote, and unfortunately we were correct: the glass and LCD are now glued to the iMac’s frame with incredibly strong adhesive. Gone are the lovely magnets that held the glass in place in iMacs of yesteryear.
A few things noted in iFixit’s highlights: a new rubber housing that “dampens the vibrations from the spinning hard drive,” a new single fan layout, dual microphones, and a 5mm thinner LG made display. Those are some of the highlights of Apple’s new design, but iFixit is scoring the new iMac as a 3 out of 10 (down from 7 last year) due to the many issues with repairability. Here are just a few:
Update: Our own Mark Gurman seems to have put the kibosh on this one.
French language website MacBidouille claims to have some bad news from its retail sources. While they were expecting to see iMacs arrive Nov. 27 (we also heard a similar time frame—with availability beginning around Black Friday) for the 21.5-inchers and later in December for the 27-inchers, both may now miss the all-important holiday shopping season.
The source blames a welding process for the delays, which would push the iMacs into 2013. The new iMacs also have a redesigned display that features a new thinner lamination process.
We first noted the delays in new iMac production in October and questioned whether the devices would be announced at the iPad mini event. Interestingly, we also heard that Apple might introduce an updated Thunderbolt Display in the not-so distant future that may be tied to the launch of the 27-inch iMac. Stay tuned for more information on that soon.
While you might be familiar with iFixit from its in-depth teardown guides meant to provide the ultimate resource for DIYers, it also offers the necessary tools to get the job done. We told you a while back about its “iPhone oppression kit” allowing you to swap out Apple’s pentalobular screws with standard Phillips screws. Stemming from a discovery of two unused mounting points in its recent 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac teardowns, iFixit is now providing a kit that provides all the tools necessary to install a second hard drive in your mid 2011 iMac.