Analyst: Apple Ready to Release Haswell iMacs in June or July
Partly due to production delays which kept them out of many consumers’ hands until early this year, and partly due to Apple’s recent trend of letting Macs go long periods without updates, it seems like the ultra-slim 2012 iMac just joined the Mac family yesterday. But according to a new research note from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, Apple may release the 2013 update to the line as early as this month.
No significant form factor changes are expected after last year’s relatively major redesign, but the iMacs are expected to receive an update to the latest generation of Intel processors and GPUs, codenamed “Haswell.”
We attribute the shipments decline to the fact that new product shipments have peaked and due to the arrival of the consumer slow season. But we believe iMac shipments troughed in 2Q13. Apple is expected to upgrade iMac processor to Intel’s (US) latest Haswell processor in June or July. Meanwhile, the consumer peak season has arrived. Thus we expect shipments to reach 1.1mn units in 3Q13, up 69% QoQ. Full-year shipments are forecast to be 4.7mn units, up 31% YoY.
Current generation iMacs utilize Intel’s Ivy Bridge platform; an upgrade to Haswell would bring performance improvements of between 5 and 20 percent, depending on the application. In addition to processing performance, Haswell boasts significantly faster graphics in some configurations. Although Apple currently utilizes discrete NVIDIA GPUs across its entire iMac line, the improved integrated graphics found in Haswell may allow the company to offer an entry-level model without the discrete GPU, possibly resulting in a lower base cost for the product.
The other improvement expected for the 2013 Haswell iMac update is an upgrade to 802.11ac wireless. The new Wi-Fi spec, introduced in shipping products last year, offers significantly better wireless speed, range, and signal robustness. Like the switch to 802.11n several years ago, users will need to have both an 802.11ac-capable device and router. Apple is therefore also expected to release updated AirPort and Time Capsule products that support the new feature.
The iMac line was first released in late 1998. There have been seven major design revisions to the product, including last year’s changes that saw the removal of the optical drive and a significant reduction in thickness and weight. Apple last updated the iMac in November 2012 but, as mentioned earlier, production problems kept the computers out of the hands of most consumers until early 2013.