New iMacs With Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt In Late April?



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.

  • Tyler Hojberg

    I almost forgot about the iMac’s existence. With all these mobile products being thrown around, I just can’t find a place in my live for a machine that sits in one spot. I’m happy with my iPad 2 and MacBook Pro…until we meet again iMac…until we meet again.

  • Ryan Havron

    I’ve been waiting patiently for this update for a while now. Glad to see there’s some timeline for it.

  • Tom McGrath

    I can’t actually think what Mr Ive would do to the iMac to make it look better anyway, it looks brilliant as it is. The only thing I could see him possibly doing is making it thinner, but that’s not really changing the design too much.

  • Martin


  • Brian Tong


    Before you dig me in the lead of your article, you should also find out about my history since I worked at Apple retail and have many relationships inside the company that stretch far beyond my short time at Apple retail. I’m a journalism major. That may not mean much to you, but I’m not just a “TV host”. I don’t just throw this stuff out there.

    Don’t you think I’d be making these up more often? I’ve been working at CNET for the past three years and I’ve had plenty of opportunities to throw whatever BS the rumor mill produces out there. If you follow any of my content, I strive to debunk the myths and show both the good and bad sides of Apple.

    This has been information that I felt compelled to acknowledge because the source was so strong. And sure, it may not fall exactly in that time frame. But if your source was this strong, as a journalist, you would run with it too.

    I read this blog occasionally and enjoy it. I’ve credited stories to you guys as well in our show. But if you have a problem with my information, then don’t even post it on your blog.

    You could even “Think Different” and choose not to publish this story because every other Apple blog is. Unless you need the views.

    Take care now,
    Brian Tong

  • Jason Pang

    Great! Now all I need is money to get the new iMac home.

    Time to switch from PC to Mac.

  • Mitch Hartmann

    What with these mobile products, I would really like to see a ~24″ monitor from Apple that has the style and Macbook power/signal integration for a reasonable price. Then even less of a reason to think about iMac…

  • Lars Pallesen

    Just a thought: Might we see Apple offering a BTO option with either an optical drive or an SSD with the OS and iLife preinstalled on the new line of iMacs?
    To clarify, that would be an SSD in addition to the traditional HDD for file storage.

  • yasza

    can’t wait for the new imac update and get this stuff, I need migration to mac soon..

  • Ricday

    The BTO option is possible, but I think there is not a lot of chance an SSD boot drive will be an option. About 25% of Japan’s NAND-SSD production was stopped as a result of the tsunami (per a BBC report I read), so SSD supplies are likely to be tight for months to come with upward pressure on pricing.

    Higher capacity HDDs seem more probable, with perhaps 1TB as the baseline. I’d personally go for the SSD option if it existed. I’m ready to ditch my last Win-box, a quad core running 7-64, because I can no longer tolerate the “a little slower after every patch/fix/update” as the registry gradually rots, plus the instability of the system.

    In the year past I moved from (lousy) Blackberry to excellent iPhone 4, stupid-heavy Acer laptop to lightweight and solid MacBook Pro, and tethered-to-the-foul-desktop-DRM Sony Reader to the wondrous and incredibly versatile iPad. Those changes added to my existing collection of three iPods (32 GB car and pocket music/podcasts, nano on the alarm clock). This year I was initially tempted to go to the Mac Pro as my (development) desktop, but decided I’d wait for the Imac refresh and go for an i7.

    The waiting is painful!

  • wendellgee28

    I have been awaiting this refresh since late last year, when I decided to purchase an iMac for the first time. The addition of Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt seem to be a no-brainer given the recent MacBook Pro launch. I’m curious about graphics card capabilities and heat… all of the iMacs I’ve been in contact with tend to get very hot on the top/back (not necessarily problematic), and in terms of design, I’m wondering if internally there would need to be some redesign in order to continue beefing up the GPU horsepower (perhaps the newer cards generate less heat/energy than some of the previous high-end cards.

    Any thoughts on this?

  • Kenny

    I just spoke to an Apple guy at one of their stores and he said the rumour isn’t true as Apple will probably wait till summer when Lion is rolled out. He then proceeded to try and sell me a current iMac!

  • Aaron

    I just purchased an iMac I7 from apple online. Called them back to verify if it was Sandy Bridge. They connected me to Tech Support and the tech told me to return and wait until 1st week of April. He told me the I7 Sandy Bridge would be shipping at that time and would also include Thunderbolt.

    I have returned the iMac and will wait the 5 weeks.

  • Jwdsail

    I really hope that the next 27″ iMac allows use of two additional 27″ displays… I hope there’s a real good graphics card in there somewhere.. An iMac w/ TB and an Air w/ TB would replace my PowerMac G5 and 1st Gen c2d (non-unibody w/ expresscard slot) MacBook Pro nicely..

  • Lars Pallesen

    So you use your iPad to do full HD video editing in Final Cut Pro, or … ?

  • Lars Pallesen

    Thanks for your reply. Just to understand this corrrectly: IF the new iMacs come with an SSD option, can I then not decide to make the SSD my boot drive?