Today, Apple announced updated iMac desktops with second-generation Intel Core processors and Thunderbolt interconnect technology. The new iMacs are available in the familiar 21.5-inch and larger 27-inch form factors, starting at $1,199 for the 21.5-inch model with an Intel Core i5, AMD Radeon HD 6750M graphics, and a 500GB hard drive.
Thunderbolt is Apple's implementation of Intel's Lightpath interconnect technology, first seen on Apple's MacBook Pro laptops. As before, Thunderbolt on the iMac is compatible with USB, FireWire, and Gigabit Ethernet via adapters. Thunderbolt supports mini DisplayPort monitors without an adapter, and can support (via adapters) VGA, DVI, HDMI, and full-sized DisplayPort with an adapter. Thunderbolt has a theoretical 10Gbps throughput, so it can accommodate all of these interconnects simultaneously using only one port. The iMac 21.5-inch models come with one Thunderbolt port, while the 27-inch features two Thunderbolt ports.
On the software side, all new iMacs come with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, along with Apple's iLife '11 software (iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, GarageBand, etc.). New for the iMac line is the inclusion of FaceTime HD, which allows video chat with FaceTime equipped iPhone 4, iPod Touch, and iPad 2 devices.
All iMacs are EPEAT Gold certified and meet Energy Star 5.2 requirements. The iMac's LED backlit display is mercury free and Apple uses PVC free cables and components. The new iMacs use Apple's familiar aluminum and glass chassis, and come with a SD card slot, wireless keyboard, and a choice of Apple's Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad.
The new iMacs are available now through Apple Stores, store.apple.com, and authorized Apple Retailers. The base 21.5-inch iMac starts at $1,199 and $1,499, the base 27-inch iMac starts at $1,699 and $1,999. Configure to order options include high end Intel Core i7 processors, 2TB hard drives, 256GB SSD, additional system memory, and AppleCare.
If you're not looking for the latest and greatest, new iMacs also mean that there will be a ton of cheap iMacs hitting eBay.