Apple planning dual-core and quad-core iMacs?

It's getting more likely that an iMac refresh is within sight, and Apple may have plans to use both dual-core and quad-core chips in the new systems.

Apple may be using both quad-core and dual-core chips in a new iMac expected soon. CNET

Rather than choosing between dual-core or quad-core processors for an expected revision to the iMac, Apple may have decided to use both.

Shaw Wu of Kaufman Brothers, who just last week opined that an iMac refresh was around the corner, thinks Apple has resolved its dilemma over using quad-core or dual-core processors for the new systems by creating two tiers in the iMac line: a high-end version with a quad-core chip, and a low-end version with a dual-core chip. Apple currently offers two different screen sizes (20-inch and 24-inch) for the all-in-one iMac, and offers two different configurations for each size.

If Wu's sources are correct, Apple could further differentiate the 24-inch line with quad-core chips, or offer a choice of dual-core or quad-core processors for each screen size. The new systems are expected relatively soon, coming off news that Apple has informed resellers that shipments of the existing 24-inch iMacs will grow scarce in coming weeks.

Other news that Intel plans to have new quad-core server processors ready by the end of March could mean a refresh for the Mac Pro around that time. Apple needs to hit on some kind of catalyst for its desktop category, which suffered a 25 percent decline in shipments and a 31 percent decline in revenue during its first fiscal quarter.

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