One of the happy surprises from Apple's event today was the new iMac. Now that the dust has settled people are putting their grubby blogger-paws all over that shiny, pristine monolith. Guess what, it's like, suuuuper thin!
It's hard to overstate just how phenomenal this machine looks in the flesh. It's also unbelievably thin — we'd be impressed if it were simply a new Cinema Display, but the fact that a computer is in there really takes it over the top. At £1,099, you'll be hard-pressed to find a sexier all-in-one (assuming you don't need an inbuilt optical drive, of course).
Apple's using a ridiculously aggressive rounded back to make the sides appear almost impossibly thin until you come around fully to the back, at which point the true depth of the machine is apparent. It's a trick, but it works incredibly well... the laminated front glass and anti-glare treatments make images look like they're lying right on top of the screen... Overall it looks stunning - the first real reason to replace an iMac in years.
What you may not have seen from watching the presentation is that it still is fairly thick at its thickest point, but that doesn't detract from the overall impression, which makes the machine appear surreal at first glance... Performance with Mountain Lion and Aperture seemed silky smooth on both versions, but that's not surprising giving their specifications. And using the new Fusion Drive, which combines the speed advantages of flash memory with the capacity of platter hard disk drives definitely seems to speed things up compared to my 2011 27-inch iMac with a 1TB standard hard drive.
What's changed is the way the screens are layered together, and even without Retina that's impressive. Optical lamination, just as we've seen used on the iPhone 5, brings the LCD IPS and cover glass together into a single pane, for what Apple says is 75-percent less reflection. To our eyes, though, it's the colours and detail that really stand out.