New iMacs With Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt In Late April?

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UPDATE: Brian Tong sent me a note pointing out my unfair characterization of him as “just a TV show host.” Brian has worked at CNet for three years where he is an editor. He’s a journalism major and even used to work in Apple retail. He’s got lots of contacts at the company. My apologies to Brian for unfairly questioning his credentials.

New iMacs with Sandy Bridge CPUs and the zippy new Thunderbolt port are due at the end of April or the first week of May, according to CNet TV presenter Brian Tong, citing “anonymous sources.”

There won’t be a redesign. The new machines will look the same as the old, which is no bad thing.

The source of this info is a bit iffy. Tong isn’t a traditional is a tech reporter — he’s a TV show host — but he does work in tech news and Tong is an editor at CNet and host of CNet TV’s The Apple Byte Show. He says he’s “highly confident” about his source.

The Sandy Bridge update is definitely on the cards. What’s new is the ship date — four to six weeks. This in line with our interactive Buyer’s Guide, which says an iMac update is overdue.

Please, please, please let this be true. I’m in the market for a new desktop to replace my old Mac Pro, and Sandy Bridge, big screens and Thunderbolt make for a juicy, juicy update.

The last iMac update was about eight months ago with Intel’s Core i3, i5 and i7 chips and ATI Radeon graphics. But the MacBook Pros were just updated with quad-core Sandy Bridge processors, and they’re screamers.

Thunderbolt is a new port for high-speed peripherals and displays. Dubbed “one connector to rule them all,” it’s a single 10Gbps cable that consolidates almost all existing ports, from FireWire to USB to miniDisplay to eSATA.