Dwindling supplies of Apple's 27-inch iMac have kickstarted expectations of an imminent refresh, with the company predicted not only to inject some 3rd-gen Core i7 processors but Retina Display too. Availability at big-name US stores - including Best Buy and J&R - has dried up, leading to chatter that a new model with significantly boosted specifications is waiting in the wings.
Counting availability has generally been a solid way of predicting Apple's Mac refreshes over the past few years, with supplies of the coveted products generally drying up just ahead of new generations being released. We saw the same in the weeks prior to the freshly-Ivy Bridge updated MacBook Pro line a few weeks back, for instance.
As for what, exactly, the new iMac might deliver, there are a few likely possibilities. The most obvious is a refresh in processor, with Intel's Ivy Bridge Core i5 and i7 chips likely to take pride of place under the hood. A switch from the current-generation AMD graphics to NVIDIA's GeForce GPU may also feature, given Apple has done the same in its notebook range.
Whatever the source, those graphics chips are tipped to be driving a seriously pixel-updated display, with Apple said to be putting Retina Display high-res panels in place rather than the current 2560 x 1440 screen. However, conflicting rumors also suggest that we'll need to wait until 2013 to see that happen.
Apple has opted for a more low-key reveal of its new iMac models in the past, pushing out a press release rather than holding a whiz-bang event such as last month's WWDC 2012 keynote.