back to article Thank BRIT eggheads for new iMac's sexy seamless knife-edge

A little-known British company is the brains behind technology in the new super-slim iMacs that Apple CEO Tim Cook raved about on stage. That admired tech is the tapered aluminium edge at the 5mm-wide end of Apple's latest thin desktops, which were revealed at an event in October. Edge of the latest iMac, credit Apple The …


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  1. Badwolf

    Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

    Beautiful - a shame a lot of the beauty can only be seen from the side

    Trading in my existing 27inch iMac? - probably not, but some deffo lusting here

    1. dotslash

      Re: Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

      but it's just a rectangle with rounded corners?!?!

      Am i the only one in the world who thinks Apple's products are uninspiring and don't look good? They remind me of a grey dystopian future...

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: Gimme, Gimme, Gimme

        I like the look of them, but would prefer more colour.

      2. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: dotslash

        I see what you did there.

        I need a wink icon.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That thing looks very thin

    But they never show a side on view. From one user picture I've seen, it has a very noticeable bulge when you swing the camera round a fraction of a degree from the beauty shots they took for advertising.

    1. DMH

      Re: That thing looks very thin

      What a con! Surely they can fit an entire PC in 5mm? ;)

      Photo of the bulge:

      1. Christopher Rogers

        Re: That thing looks very thin

        F*** me, a deal breaker right there!

        Actually, the Apple logo is what put me off...

        1. ArmanX

          Re: That thing looks very thin

          It's the pricetag that does it for me... I'll never buy an Apple computer, because they cost three to ten times what an equivalent PC would cost. Pretty, yes, but I favor function over form. I can always stick my computer behind a (well-ventilated) door somewhere.

          1. Sean Timarco Baggaley

            Re: That thing looks very thin

            "I favor function over form"

            Why should we have to choose between the two? I rather like having both at the same time. Apple are pretty good at providing products that meet both criteria.

            Function over form is how we got those nasty 1960s-1970s Brutalist buildings. Thanks, but no thanks. If I'm going to be staring at a machine for eight hours a day, I'd like it to be easy on the eye as well.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: That thing looks very thin

              > If I'm going to be staring at a machine for eight hours a day, I'd like it to be easy on the eye as well.

              Do you sit at the side looking at you monitor? Because looking at it from the front it is just a screen.

              I would say no better or worse than my monitor but I think, from the front my plain old monitor looks better.

              PS. Yes I do know the iMac is not just a monitor but I don't sit there all day looking at my desktop machine either. It is tucked away under the desk.

          2. h4rm0ny

            Re: That thing looks very thin

            "because they cost three to ten times what an equivalent PC would cost. "

            Exaggeration makes your argument silly. If you had said 20% extra, you would probably have been fine. An Apple Tax is hard to dispute. An Apple tax of 200 to 900% makes you sound crazy.

            (Not an Apple but their current hardware seems reasonably good. I just prefer something I can take apart if I need to).

            1. ArmanX


              I upgraded my PC recently, and bought motherboard, processor, RAM, and power supply. I spent just under $400. Adding in the case, hard drive, optical drive, etc., that I'd kept from previous upgrades, I spend somewhere around $750 total, counting monitors. Pricing the same or equivalent hardware on Apple's website (and underestimating if there wasn't a direct equivalent; instead of dual monitors, I chose only one), I ended up with the cost of $4373 for an Apple desktop computer. Neglecting the cost of OS X and other software, that is 583% higher than what I spent on my own machine.

              Granted, I built it myself; if I bought it from Alienware, according to their price calculator, it would have cost closer to $1208. That means that Apple is only 296% higher (which is pretty close to 300%).

              Just look at the price of their components: $100 for a DVD drive, or $1000 for a 512GB SSD, or $300 for an 8GB RAM upgrade? Those prices are much, much higher than the market average. I may sound crazy, but I'm not far wrong...

              1. slhilly

                Re: @h4m0ny


                Do we really have to go through this again?

                I strongly doubt you have an equivalent set of specs -- put up or shut up. Plus, I suspect you have said of various Mac features "I do not value this, therefore I will not price it".

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: @h4m0ny

                I'm going to call BS on this comparison. Just going by the monitor alone, whatever you bought is obviously MUCH lower quality than the 27" 2560x1440 IPS displays that Apple sells. You can get cut-rate imported Korean displays of questionable quality using the same panel for $400... a name brand display using this panel will cost you at least $700, i.e., almost as much as your entire system. So going by this alone you are obviously not doing an honest comparison.

                As for RAM and drives (SSD, DVD, hard drives, etc.), any reasonably well informed Apple customer will buy these from PC parts retailers and do the upgrades themselves. Now that Macs all have USB3, you don't even have to crack the cases to upgrade the drives, just put them in external enclosures and plug them in.

                If you are actually interested in doing a valid comparison, post the specs of your machine and I'll tell you what a similar Mac would cost.

                1. ArmanX

                  Re: @h4m0ny

                  Of course I didn't buy the same parts; that's part of the point. Instead of a huge, fancy, $1000 monitor, I have two smaller, cheaper, 1080p ASUS monitors ($140 each). Instead of a super-awesome $100 slot-loading DVD drive, I have a $18 Lite-On drive. Instead of a who-knows-how-expensive plastic-and-steel case, I have a basic off-brand case I got for free. Instead of a quad-core Xeon processors, I have a $150 8-core AMD FX-8120 (admittedly, the Xeon outperforms the FX; there wasn't a decent comparison between the two, so I chose Apple's cheapest). Instead of the $150 1TB Apple-branded drive, I have a $100 Western Digital Black 1TB drive. Instead of the $300 RAM Apple uses, I have 16 GB of "Team Xtreem Dark Series" that I got for $40 (8GB came free with my motherboard - which cost $95). I have no idea what PSU they use, but mine is a $70 OCZ ModXStream Pro (600W). I also have a GeForce 8400 GS that I got ages ago, and could probably pick up at a garage sale for $5.

                  If I bought everything new, it would probably be about $1000; Alienware hits around $1200, which sounds about right. I expect a 20% difference between my choice of hardware and that of decent quality retail. Counting Windows and other software (that I don't have), the prices are about even. Which is why I added the comparison of Alienware; you can choose the parts yourself, and make the closest computer you can. go ahead - both Alienware and Apple have product customizers.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: @h4m0ny

                    I am a long-time fan of AMD but I have some bad news for you: your "8-core" AMD processor is nowhere near as fast as an 8-core Intel setup. If you look at the benchmarks, it is usually a little slower than an equivalently-clocked quad-core i5. Instead of comparing your new computer to a Mac Pro, you should be comparing it to a mid-level Mac Mini ($800). That alone nixes $1600 to $3000 from your claimed price difference.

                    And with a Mac Mini, there's no reason why you can't use your ASUS monitors ($140 x 2), a cheap external DVD drive ($25), and 16GB of 3rd party RAM ($45). Of course a power supply is included with the Mini, as well as a 1TB hard drive and an Intel HD 4000 GPU which is significantly faster than your GeForce.

                    So, final price for the Mini is $1150, not that far off from your claimed $1000 "buy it new" price.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That thing looks very thin

      Camera? Shots? It's all renders.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    That license fee...

    seems surprisingly cheap, given what's been achieved with it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That license fee...

      Don''t they weld plastic bags as well? ;)

  4. Joe 58

    Thinness not required

    I have a 6 month old iMac. It's already pretty slimline. It sits on my desk in my study, it will never be moved.

    The iMac is in the middle of my desk (as in, a foot from the wall) because it's already so thin that it can't go back any further without me requiring spectacles.

    I love my Macbook Air - where thin is genuinely important. But I don't see any desktop advantage to this.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pretty cool

    I'm not going to lie, it does look very nice. But I don't buy desktop PCs that are really thin, that's what a laptop/taplet is for.

    1. dotslash

      Re: Pretty cool

      lol, indeed, it is impressively thin, but what would you do with the space saved :)

      1. Fibbles

        Re: Pretty cool

        The thing is, it's not really any thinner than most all-in-one PC's. It has extremely thin edges but besides looking cool in advertising shots I'm failing to understand what benefits these bring.

  6. Mixedbag

    sealed forever

    I would guess that apple like it because once the iMac is assembled its rendered non maintainable. Cannot see any removable doors or panels, so no adding extra memory and no swapping the hard drive if it fails

    1. Ru

      Re: sealed forever

      Dremel, ducktape.

      Bish, bash, bosh, job's a good 'un.

      1. Kevin Johnston

        Re: sealed forever

        Oooh, so close to a thumbs up but where was 'proper job' or more phonetically 'arhh prahper jahb'

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sealed forever

      I suspect the glass will come off like the previous model.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sealed forever

      Nah, it's not sealed. Like the last-gen iMac I'm typing this on, the screen is the access point - the glass is held on at various places by magnets.

      Suction-cup + a lot of swearing and pulling and the screen pops right out and full access is given. Ingenious actually.

      It does mean that access isn't for the likes of you and I though. And THAT's what Apple wants.

    4. TooDeep

      Not so

      The new 27" iMac memory compartment is user-accessible and the other innards are behind the front panel that's easily removed with a suction cup or even strong finger nails, etc.. 'Just replaced an older iMac failed drive with a SSD in fact.

  7. Anonymous Coward

    iNtellectual property?

    I thought that all belonged to Apple anyway!

  8. Christoph Silver badge

    "it ploughs its profits back into devising new welding techniques"

    Now that is what patents are for. Pity we can't have rather more of that and rather less of trolls gumming up the entire economy.

    1. graeme leggett

      history shows rationale for outlook

      Look at its history, started out as Institution of Welding Engineers Limited merged with British Advisory Welding Council pre-war

      it then merged with the British Welding Research Association (fomerly the Welding Research Council) in 1968

      1. NogginTheNog

        Re: history shows rationale for outlook

        Good to see they've all stuck together then!

        1. Lord Voldemortgage

          Re: history shows rationale for outlook

          Weld done.

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: history shows rationale for outlook

        So another way to put it - lots of Taxpayer funded government research over the last 60years has been rolled up and turned into something you have to pay for?

        Actually I worked with people from TWI and they are very helpful and profesional - unlike the similar setup at QinietiQ

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: history shows rationale for outlook

        They are indeed one of a number of odd "Research Associations" set up to do cross industry non-competitve research for their members *by* their members.

        RAPRA Technology (formerly the Rubber & Plastic Research Association) is a similar body

        It's a notion that IIRC is quite popular in Japan as well.

  9. Dog@86G

    Little Known?

    Yeah only if you walk round with your eyes shut, or glued solely to IT related issues perhaps.

    Been using their software (welding related funnily enough) for years and its V Good too!

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    "Invented in 1991 by Wayne Thomas at TWI,"

    I've often wondered if this was the fallout of some particularly inept DIY.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's bonded, exactly?

    I can't tell what's bonded with this method. Is the little decorative "chin" bonded to the back?

    In that case, this bonding technique doesn't really seem to be necessary to achieve the desired [edge] thinness. Apple could have easily done without the chin, as they do with the Thunderbolt display.

    Also, it begs the question, how is the chin bonded to previous iMac models?

  12. Mikey

    Is it me, or is this just a 27" iPad on a landscape stand, only without the touchscreen?

    From my own experience, the only real time you ever see the back of a monitor is in the shop. So why bother with all the gimmicks of ultra thin and whatnot when the bit you'll be looking at is at the front anyway? Thin bezels, sure. This just looks like they ran out of ideas on how to make it better, so they made the edges thinner. Genius!

    Apple... Not Much Different

    1. Michael Thibault

      Getting closer...

      >is this just a 27" iPad on a landscape stand, only without the touchscreen?

      You're heading in the right direction. So, too, I guess, is Apple--if they intend eventually to produce a large-size (~20"/50cm diagonally), touch-screen equipped 'desktop' that you can swing into a horizontal, or nearly-horizontal, position. Or which can be un-hooked from that same stand and moved about like an iPad. Thinning the edges may be a precursor to being able to set the thing in your lap and manage it, even with small hands. The current bulge at the center back is perhaps unavoidable--for the moment. But it certainly isn't an ugly butt, by any stretch. Removing the last cable (peripherals being increasingly peripheral) would not be terribly difficult if provision is made in the interior of the case for sufficient battery power to last as little as a few hours before needing a top-up.

      Eventually the ever-thinner, ever-lighter computer (largely 'desktop computer') will become a desktop--a working surface where you can safely place your coffee cup while perusing the news or your favourite net haunts as the sun rises on your empire.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Getting closer...

        Then eventually they will make joysticks for them and you can put them in pubs as a "table" and play Pacman ;)

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