Apple just announced its latest iteration of the iMac desktop, featuring an edge-to-edge display and no optical drive. The first image appearing on stage was of a digitized render (above), which elicited gasps at the razor-thinness. Apple calls it “the most beautiful Mac we’ve ever made.”

The actual computer, while very thin, looks a wee bit thicker sitting on the stage. That’s due to the 5mm thinness at the edges and a fatter depth in the back, toward the center.

The whole computer is thinner than many people’s lone display. It has a 2mm air gap between the glass and the panel, which are now laminated together. This should reduce reflectivity and glare, and allows it to be much thinner. There’s 75 percent less reflection now, thanks to this and the new anti-glare coating.

The new iMacs come as 21.5-inch and 27-inch versions, at 1,920 x 1,080 and 2,560 x 1,440 respectively. More specs:

  • 720p FaceTime HD camera
  • dual mics
  • dual speakers
  • Eight pounds lighter than before (probably for 27-inch version)
  • Core i5 or i7 processors
  • NVIDIA Kepler graphics
  • Up to 768GB of flash
  • 32GB of RAM
  • Four USB 3.0 ports
  • Three Thunderbolt ports
  • Fusion Drive: 128GB of flash storage (mixed with 1 or 3GB HDD)

Mountain Lion completely fits on the flash, as well as all of the pre-installed software. Apps generally will go on the flash and documents are saved on the HDD. According to the company, Aperture imports are 3.5 times faster using flash vs. HDD. The FusionDrive should allow for speeds nearly as fast a total SSD system.

Base model: 21.5-inch goes for $1,299, with 2.7GHz i5 with 1TB HDD and 8GB of RAM. Ships November. The 27-inch model costs $1,799, with a 2.9GHz i5, 8GB of RAM and 1TB HDD. It ships in December.

Are you snagging the new iMac? Weigh in.

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