(WIRED) -- Product rumors have been fairly quiet on the Apple front recently, but the tech community has begun exchanging whispers about new Macs due in stores soon.
Apple geeks and the tech community have begun exchanging whispers about new Macs due in stores soon.
While the world waits for Apple to deliver its highly anticipated touchscreen tablet in early 2010, the nearer future most likely holds upgraded iMacs, Mac Minis, MacBooks and perhaps a new multitouch mouse.
Here, we round up all the Mac-related rumors that have surfaced in the past month and rate their probability. Eager to buy a new Mac? Wait a little longer: Any Tuesday now (Apple traditionally rolls out product upgrades on Tuesdays), you'll most likely see a slew of brand new Macs in the Apple Store.
Thinner, groovier iMacs
On average, Apple refreshes its iMacs every seven months, and the last batch of iMacs were released in March. History suggests that new iMacs should arrive any day now.
What's new about them? Financial publication Barron's cites research firm Wedge Partners, who claims the new iMacs will sport a "thinner, organic design, likely with smoothed or rounded edges."
That's reasonable to believe: The current aluminum form factor hasn't been changed for about two years. The previous white iMac lasted two years before receiving the aluminum makeover. So a new design for the next iMac would make sense. Also, a thinner, rounder design upgrade would be consistent with the look of the new aluminum MacBook Pros.
Corroborating the claim of thinner iMacs, a purported foreign Apple advertisement for a new iMac emerged on Google.nl, stating "iMac: Ultra Thin 20 & 24 inch models. From only €1099. Apple Store."
As for the new iMac's innards, there have been conflicting reports claiming the iMacs will feature a quad-core processor, an upgrade from their current dual-core brains, while other publications claim the iMac will continue using dual-cores.
We're undecided on who's right, but what's obvious is the new iMacs should be speedier in performance. French blog Mac4Ever claims the new iMacs will include SD card readers, just like those featured in the MacBook Pros. Apple does enjoy consistency across its product lines, so that sounds plausible.
The iMac is rumored to be shipping with an extra bonus: a new multitouch mouse, which will presumably sport a touch-sensitive housing to do away with the roller ball on the current Mighty Mouse. Sources told AppleInsider that the new mouse would apply the multipoint touch detection technology seen in the iPhone and the iPod Touch.
A new iMac is the perfect opportunity for Apple to roll out a new mouse. Wired.com believes a multitouch mouse should function similarly to the unibody MacBook trackpads, which detect multitouch gestures. On new MacBooks, tapping the trackpad with two fingers triggers a right-click function, for example; this rumored multitouch mouse might copy this behavior.
Also, for a mouse, we would expect a multitouch gesture to replace scrolling in different directions, and perhaps there will be special gestures that trigger Exposé commands as well.
New White MacBooks
Remember the MacBook? You know, that lone white notebook in the Mac family? Rumors say the MacBook will soon receive a design overhaul and be joined by additional models. Not much is known, other than that the new MacBooks will reportedly be thinner and lighter, and the internal architecture will be reworked.
Financial blog Barron's cites research firm Wedge Partners, who claims the MacBook redesign "is likely to be limited." That's vague, but we think many of us would consider thinner and lighter to be a "limited" redesign (i.e., not mindblowingly exciting).
Several reports say the new MacBook will be released simultaneously with the new iMac. The MacBook was also alluded to in the purported Apple advertisement that may have been accidentally leaked: "MacBook: Thinner, lighter and faster! Free delivery. Order today."
Of course we believe new MacBooks are imminent: Apple would not neglect its most affordable notebook, which has been a hot seller, especially among students.
Last and definitely least, there have been scarce rumors about a new Mac Mini also launching with the iMac and MacBook. Apple's treatment toward the Mac Mini has been inconsistent with its other products: The company waited 600 days before releasing the current Mac Mini, and the upgrade was only minor; it introduced no changes to form factor.
Mac Mini customer feedback suggests the device is being used for niche applications including cheap server setups, digital music servers for audiophiles and replacements for Windows PCs.
We'd guess Apple will deliver another mini upgrade for the Mac Mini, perhaps increasing its storage and adding a slight bump to performance. The purported Apple ad also includes the Mac Mini, suggesting it will drop in price: "Faster and more affordable than ever. From only €499. Order immediately."
A price drop is believable: It suggests the Mac Mini isn't a big seller, which we would expect, and if that's the case, we wouldn't expect a significant upgrade.
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