A 3D iMac for 2012, perhaps?
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A 3D iMac for 2012, perhaps?

Apple plans to completely overhaul its product lineups, including the iMac, iPad, iPhone and MacBook Air in 2012, according to "DigiTimes" (http://www.digitimes.com). I'd say that's a safe bet, although I'm not sure what a radically overhauled iMac would be like.

It could be even slimmer. Perhaps Apple will eliminate the built-in optical drive as it has with the MacBook Air and Mac mini, offering the $79 SuperDrive for those who want such a drive. Or perhaps -- though much less likely -- Apple will give us a 3D iMac -- something akin to the US$1,899 Touchsmart 620 3D Edition from HP.

The Touchsmart 620 3D Edition sports a 23-inch, 3D-enabled display that swivels up to 180 degrees and reclines up to 60 degrees. The 1920-by-1080 (1080p HD) resolution screen is purportedly great for playing back Blu-ray movies or TV from the built-in tuner. Yep, unlike any Mac offering, the all-in-one has a Blu-ray player and TV tuner.

The desktop comes with one pair of active shutter glasses; you'll have to buy more (at $99 each) if you want others to view your 3D content. The Touchsmart 620 3D Edition also sports a built-in 3D webcam that allows for 3D photo and video creation and a TriDef Ignition Game Player that lets you play 3D games.

The computer also sports a touchscreen, an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, a 1.5TB hard drive, and an AMD Radeon HD 6670A graphics card.

Imagine a 3D, 27-inch iMac with Ivy Bridge processors, the latest and greatest AMD graphics card, a 3D FaceTime camera and some of the other goodies that the Touchsmart 620 3D Edition. That would be an incredible machine.

Of course, any iMac with 3D capabilities would need to sport a Blu-ray optical drive, and it doesn't seem like Apple will ever get onboard that bandwagon -- which is a mistake, in my opinion. Last month the Digital Entertainment Group, which monitors consumer spending for home entertainment in the United States, reported a surge in Blu-ray sales, which are expected to reach $1.23 billion for the first three quarters, up from about $1 billion for the same period a year earlier. That puts them on a par with video store rentals, which have been falling, and on-demand revenue, which has grown more slowly.

The late Steve Jobs was totally against Blu-ray. But, who knows? Perhaps the new guy in charge, Tim Cook, will think different.

Also, even if Apple were to release a 3D Mac (or 3D HDTV), it might wait until it perfected a system that didn't require bulky glasses. Apple is investigation such technology (see http://www.macnews.com/2010/05/13/apple-eyeing-3d-display-system).

-- Dennis Sellers

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