iwait or ibuy
January 6, 2009 8:10 PM   Subscribe

New imacs weren't announced today at MacWorld. Will the wait be quite a long time for the next round?

Originally, I was going to purchase a new 24" imac a few weeks ago until someone told me to wait for MacWorld in January because suspicions were strong that new imacs would be announced. Well it seems as though that the rumors were false. Should I go ahead and purchase the imac I originally had in mind or do I wait?
I imagine the next round of new products from Apple won't be in a long while and there is still no guarantee that new imacs would be a part of this. Am I correct in thinking I should just buy now or will I be sorry later on down the line in a month or two?
posted by cazoo to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: The macrumors buyer's guide still says to wait on the iMac, for what that's worth. A lot of the predictions about the announcements were wrong, which could mean that product announcements will instead come individually over the coming months.

Personally, I've stopped trying to game computer buying. There is always a faster/better/cheaper one if you wait, so I try to buy when I really need a new computer, rather than just want one. It's hard to have buyer's remorse when the new computer replaces a totally dead computer, but it's hard to avoid the remorse when the new computer purchase could have easily been delayed six months or a year.
posted by Forktine at 8:24 PM on January 6, 2009

Best answer: http://buyersguide.macrumors.com/#iMac says that the average time between iMac updates has been 211 days.

To date, it's been 253 days since the last update (42 days longer than the average), so going by that, there should probably be a new iMac (or at least an incremental speed increase) in the very near future.

Maybe Apple felt they had enough to announce at MacWorld without announcing an updated iMac a month or two off (and didn't want to hurt the sales of their current iMac by doing so)
posted by blueberry at 8:25 PM on January 6, 2009

Best answer: for me it would be a question of how long i can put off buying the new computer without being upset and how upset i would be if i bought something that is old news in 3 months.
apple often does random product announcements but it isn't as likely as an announcement in October or so. here is a website that keeps track of all the new products: mac buyer guide

in my opinion it probably won't be a revolutionary new version, the specs on the imac are about what the macbooks and macbook pros are and it is the same look so from that i would assume the next update will probably be minor but you never know it could be something completely different. the main question is do you just want a new computer or do you have to have the newest thing.
posted by humanawho at 8:29 PM on January 6, 2009

Response by poster: All good things to think about. Thank you guys.
posted by cazoo at 8:31 PM on January 6, 2009

It's become pretty clear that there are new Mac minis, since a company clumsily mentioned new hardware in a press release. All signs point to new iMacs Real Soon Now, though in both cases they're likely to be speed bumps rather than new designs.

Now, one rationale for Apple's untethering from MacWorld Expo was that it didn't want to become tethered to the MacWorld/WWDC cycle for its releases, so there might not be a hardware rollout this week as a sign of that independence. Instead, wait for a non-MacWorld event, perhaps in late January when iLife and iWork start shipping.

If you need one right now, then buy one right now. The new model will be old soon.
posted by holgate at 8:40 PM on January 6, 2009

When I bought my Mac Mini, on January 1, 2008, all the rumor sites insisted that a new mini was just around the corner. It's been over a year now, and no updates or price drops have occurred.

You might as well wait a week until CES and another Tuesday has rolled by, but after that, I wouldn't hold out too much hope for something to be released anytime soon.
posted by paperzach at 10:25 PM on January 6, 2009

When I bought my Mac Mini, on January 1, 2008, all the rumor sites insisted that a new mini was just around the corner.

The errant press release leads off with "New Mac Mini Hardware to Be Supported by Revolutionary SeeFile Web Sharing DAM Software", which I think qualifies as a bit of a giveaway for the mini, if not the iMac.
posted by holgate at 12:44 AM on January 7, 2009

I agree, holgate, that a new Mac Mini will probably be released soon (it has been over 500 days since the last update)... on the other hand, if they have an update in the works, why not show it off at their big keynote speech at the big Mac conference? The fact is, nobody knows when they're going to introduce new hardware, it could be tomorrow, but they just might keep producing the Mac Mini exactly the way it is for months.

My point was that I bought my Mac Mini over a year ago and there hasn't been an update yet, so the waiting game won't necessarily pay off, as updates may be much further off than everybody is saying. I honestly wouldn't expect an iMac update for a long time - I would be surprised if they came out with something in the first half of 2009 - as the chips in the Macbook Pros (including the 17" just updated) remain so close to the ones in the iMacs, and Apple tends not to bother with incremental updates or price drops.
posted by paperzach at 2:01 AM on January 7, 2009

if they have an update in the works, why not show it off at their big keynote speech at the big Mac conference?

They generally show off design innovations, like the battery on the 17in MBP. The mini is likely get bumped with a BTO option that gives it a big fat hard drive. The iMac will probably get a refresh with a bump in processor speed and new GPUs. Same size, same look, not keynote-worthy. They do actually bother with incremental updates -- it's just that most people don't notice them any more because they're so focused on the two big keynotes. So I'll take the other side of the bet here.
posted by holgate at 2:15 AM on January 7, 2009

Surely one of the issues is Snow Leopard. Originally slated for release this summer, it is now rumored for release in Q1 this year. Will this tie into the release of new hardware? Perhaps and perhaps not but I have to believe that if Snow Leopard is coming out in Q1, it would be silly to bring out new hardware prior to Snow Leopard.
posted by TheRaven at 5:38 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

holgate's assumption that the third-party software company that made that press release would have access to information on new products is likely wrong, in my opinion. Apple would have no reason to disclose additional information to a third-party that is creating software that would not particularly benefit from new hardware, and if everyone in the professional developer program knows about this new hardware, then we would likely have heard about it elsewhere.

I could issue a press release saying that my shiny new iPhone app will work on the as yet unannounced 128GB iPhone, but that doesn't mean such a product is coming.
posted by mikeh at 6:54 AM on January 7, 2009

I'm guessing they might get a speed bump. Apple normally doesn't mention stuff like that in the keynote, they just quietly update the computers.
posted by chunking express at 7:34 AM on January 7, 2009

The real problem with the waiting game is that once the new equipment comes out you immediately buy it, thus becoming something of a beta-tester for Apple. Smart money has always been on waiting for the next revision. Considering Apple just pulled firewire from some macbooks, it may be the case that they will pull firewire from the new imacs too. That 500gig firewire drive wont do you any good then.

Personally, I always find the sweet spot to be just behind the current model and current OS revision for Macs. You lose bragging rights but you gain stability and sometimes cost savings. Let other people be your guinea pigs.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:06 AM on January 7, 2009

Speed bumped computers are going to be pretty safe bets in terms of reliability. You are just replacing components in a machine. I think on the whole Apple has a very good track record with new machines as well.
posted by chunking express at 8:16 AM on January 7, 2009

Perhaps Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) will usher in a whole new magical world of touch screen computing, and so there will need to be new hardware to support it.

This would explain why they keep saying "there won't be new features in Snow Leopard... it's all under the hood changes," because they don't want to show off the new features that will be there. Namely: awesome touch screens on all desktop macs -- with touch-capable portables coming in the fall. The new Mac Mini in this (wishful) thinking is the living room computer you've always wanted. And the new iMac is going to be in the current form factor but with a touch sensitive display (similar to the HP-junk-o-matic that was released in the fall). This would also explain the lack of updates to the Apple line of LCD monitors -- they're all going touch screen too! But nothing can be released until Snow Leopard. So Apple will hold its own keynote in March, releasing both Snow Leopard and the new hardware that's needed to take full advantage of it.
posted by zpousman at 9:32 AM on January 7, 2009

Why would you want a touch screen computer. It'd work nicely for a tablet, but an actual desktop computer? How would that not be awkward?
posted by chunking express at 9:58 AM on January 7, 2009

Apple may be waiting for Intel to ship their quad-core low-power cpu, to upgrade the dual core cpu in the current generation of iMacs. Or Apple may wait for the price of the quad-core to come down before they put in their products.
posted by conrad53 at 10:10 AM on January 7, 2009

New iMacs and Mac Minis announced today. The changes seem to be a little bit of a speed bump and a new NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics card.

iMac specs and prices
Mac Mini specs and prices

posted by blueberry at 2:10 PM on March 3, 2009

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