The new iMac will make Apple's self-selected deadline of a November release--but only by a margin about as thin as the new computer's edges. The company announced early Tuesday that the new iMac will become available on November 30. You'll be able to order both the 21.5-inch and the 27-inch versions of the all-in-one computer as of Friday at Apple's website, but only the smaller incarnation will be available at Apple's retail stores and authorized resellers. The 27-inch version of the new iMac won't start shipping until December.
The new, slimmer iMacs were first unveiled back in October. Apple hyped the iMac's 45 percent thinner profile (just 5mm at its thinnest point, Apple says), and the eight pounds the computer sheds over its predecessor. The other significant new feature in the updated iMacs is the Fusion Drive option, which couples the speed and performance of an SSD with a traditional hard drive; we tested the Mac mini variant of the drive and were impressed with its performance.
Apple will offer the 21.5-inch iMac with a 2.7 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.2 GHz and the Nvidia GeForce GT 640M for $1299, and with a 2.9 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and the Nvidia GeForce GT 650M for $1499. The 27-inch iMac will be offered with a 2.9 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 660M for $1799, or a 3.2 GHz quad-core Intel Core i5 with Turbo Boost speeds up to 3.6 GHz and the Nvidia GeForce GTX 675MX for $1999.
At the iMacs' unveiling, Apple promised that the 21.5-inch version would start shipping in November, with the 27-inch models to be available the following month. With Tuesday's announcement, the company appears to be keeping the promise. We're still waiting on word from Apple on whether it will keep its (already-revised) promise on another hotly-anticipated release.