Apple iMac Refresh Official, Now with Faster CPUs and Thunderbolt

The rumors were right, Apple was getting ready to refresh its iMac all-in-one (AIO) desktop line, and that refresh is now official. Announced today, Apple injected a healthy dose of current and next-generation technologies into its updated iMac series, including Intel's 2nd generation quad-core processors, beefed up graphics, Thunderbolt I/O connectivity, and a new FaceTime HD camera.

"Our customers love the iMac’s aluminum enclosure, gorgeous display and all-in-one design," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "With next generation quad-core processors, powerful new graphics, Thunderbolt technology and a FaceTime HD camera, we've made the world’s best desktop even better."

One rumor that didn't come true is the introduction of a new panel size. The refreshed iMacs still come in 21.5-inch and 27-inch flavors with base prices ranging from $1,199 to $1,999. Depending on the model, iMac shoppers can configure a system with up to a 3.4GHz Intel Core i7 processor, up to 16GB of DDR-1333, HDD and SSD options including up to 2TB HDD + 256GB SSD, AMD Radeon HD 6970M graphics with either 1GB or 2GB of GDDR5 memory, and of course tons of software and accessories.

The new iMacs are the first desktops to come equipped with Intel's Thunderbolt (previously Light Peak) technology, which offers data transfer rates up to 20x faster than USB 2.0 and up to 12x faster than FireWire 800. There's two of them on the back , along with an HD webcam on the front that allows iMac users to make FaceTime video calls in 720p to other Intel-based Mac computers, iPad 2, iPhone 4, or the latest generation of iPod touch devices.