Apple planning iMac refresh in the coming weeks

According to recent reports, Apple is preparing to refresh its line of iMac computers with some noteworthy upgrades, along with some minor design changes and cheaper price points.

According to recent reports, Apple is preparing to refresh its line of iMac computers with some noteworthy upgrades, along with some minor design changes and cheaper price points.News of revamped iMacs first surfaced a few weeks ago when the research firm Wedge Partners issued a note to investors indicating that Apple was planning on updating the iMac with a thinner and more organic design.  The current iMac is already quite minimalistic, so I imagine any design changes will be quite understated.  Aesthetically, though, the iMac may sport a new exterior that more closely resembles Apple's 24-inch Cinema Display.More interesting, though, are reports that the new iMacs will include an SD Card reader along with a brand new mouse with expanded support for touch controls.  Apple's current Mighty Mouse has been around since 2005, so it's definitely time for an upgrade - and hopefully this new mouse won't come with a trackball that "sticks" after only 2 months of use.  It remains unclear, though, as to what type of functionality Apple's new mouse will bring to the table.Apple is also reportedly going to offer its line of iMac models at cheaper price points.  Currently, the base model 20-inch iMac retails for $1,199 and it'll be interesting to see if Apple lowers the price to sub $1000 levels.  While Apple is always keen on charging a premium for its hardware, the impending October 22nd release of Windows 7 is definitely in the back of Apple's mind.  Windows 7 has gotten extremely positive reviews, with many reviewers calling it the most "Mac-like" version of Windows to date.  Its release will undoubtedly be accompanied by a plethora of promotion and aggressively priced hardware, and lower priced iMacs may very well be Apple's plan to counteract the Windows 7 marketing push.  Apple may have gotten lucky with the fiasco that was Vista, but you can't count on Microsoft making the same mistake twice.  Some more speculative rumors have also suggested that the new iMacs will come equipped with Blu-Ray players, but that seems extremely unlikely given Apple's intention to lower prices.  Lastly, the French language site Mac4Ever writes that Apple will equip its new iMacs with Quad-core processors, which if true, will most likely only be present on the 24-inch highend iMac.With Apple's new line of iMacs already rolling off the production lines in Taiwan, AppleInsider notes that an official announcement could happen any time between now and mid-October.

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