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New Intel processors 'desktop only', new iMac soon?

Could Apple ship a new iMac next week?

The Mac world is hoping to see new MacBook Pros when Intel releases the first wave of its next-generation Ivy Bridge processors next week, but we may be disappointed. However, our disappointment may be short lived if Apple instead launches new iMacs, using what Intel CEO Paul Otellini describes as Ivy Bridge chips with quad-core processors that are headed for desktop computers.

Speaking in a quarterly earnings call with investors on Tuesday, Otellini revealed that the bulk of the soon to ship Ivy Bridge chips are quad-core processors headed for desktop computers.

Otellini said: "The first versions of Ivy Bridge that we're shipping are quad cores, and then bulk of those are going into desktops," according to Seeking Alpha's transcript of the call.

Apple could be set to introduce new iMacs using Intel's new Ivy Bridge processor. Reports suggest that Apple will offer anti-reflective displays on a redesigned iMac when it launches.

The first batch of Ivy Bridge processors will be followed by a second launch of dual-core chips that will be headed to "mainstream notebooks", according to Otellini.

Apple fans hoping for new Ivy Bridge powered MacBook Pros may note Otellini's use of the word "mainstream" as a possible clue that Apple may still ship its laptop with the first batch of chips.

The redesigned MacBook Pro could look more like Apple's MacBook Air, and optical drives and traditional hard disk drives could be scrapped altogether, in favour of solid-state drives (SSDs). This would enable the MacBook Pro to be thinner than the current line-up. There is also speculation that Apple may put high-res 'Retina Display' equivalents inside its future laptops.

As for the Mac Pro, that Mac was last upgraded in July 2010, when Apple announced models with up to 12 processing cores based on Intel's Xeon server chips. Mac Pro users now want the models upgraded to Intel's recently announced Xeon E5-2600 chips to keep up with the increased horsepower required for tasks like video editing. This week would have been a good time for such an announcement as the NAB show is currently running in Las Vegas.

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