This is more of a PSA than anything else: just like Apple said they'd be, the new iMacs are on sale today, with the 21.5-inch model available right away and the 27-inch version shipping in December. The smaller guy starts at $1,299, though there's also a more tricked-out $1,499 version; the 27-incher starts at $1,799 and goes up to $1,999. Whichever the model, a few key design principles apply. For staters, both measure just 5mm thick at the edges, and neither has a built-in optical drive. Both promise a 15 to 20 percent performance boost fueled partly by Ivy Bridge, and partly by Apple's new FusionDrive, which combines an HDD with a 128GB solid-state drive, with everything stored on the SSD by default until you run out of space. Finally, both promise 75 percent less screen glare, thanks to a manufacturing process that eliminates the gap between the LCD and the glass. (Apple and other OEMs already use a similar technique on smartphones; we've just never seen it done on a screen quite this large.)
So what separates the two, then, aside from screen size? Specs, mostly. And also, resolution. The 21-inch version has a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel count, while the 27-incher steps up to 2,560 x 1,440. (In other words, the same resolution as last year's offerings.) While both pack quad-core Core i5 processors, the 21.5-inch model starts with a 2.7GHz clock speed, compared with 2.9GHz for the bigger guy. As you might have guessed, the graphics are slightly better on the larger version: NVIDIA's GTX 660M is standard there, versus GT 640M on the 21-incher. Both offer 1TB of storage, but the smaller machine uses a 5,400RPM drive while the bigger one has a 7,200RPM disk. The 27-incher can also be configured with a 3TB drive or 768GB SSD. As for RAM, both come with eight gigs standard, but the 21.5-inch model goes up to 16GB, while the 27-inch version goes up to 32GB and has user-accessible memory slots.
As it happens, we have two new iMacs here in house (one in each size, natch) and you can expect a full review very soon. For now, though, we've got some unboxing shots and first impressions just past the break.