AppleInsider is reporting that Apple is planning to release refreshed iMacs with Intel’s Sandy Bridge processors this coming Tuesday, May 3. Also expected to be on the spec sheet are upgraded internals and, more importantly, support for Apple and Intel’s jointly developed transfer technology dubbed Thunderbolt.
First introduced in late April on revamped MacBook Pros, Thunderbolt can transfer data at 10Gbps in both directions – that’s about an entire Bluray movie in just under 30 seconds. Moreover, Intel has previously claimed that the technology has the potential to scale to 100 Gbps in the next 10 years.
In the days leading up to major product launches, Apple routinely makes certain requests of its various operating segments to assure the rollout goes as smoothly as possible. This week saw several of those measures put into place, according to those same people, who’ve continually provided accurate information when it comes the Mac maker’s future plans.
In addition, people familiar with the Cupertino-based company’s retail operations confirmed to AppleInsider that a “visual night” is similarly slated for the early morning hours of May 3rd. “So it is highly likely that whatever new product that is going to be refreshed or introduced will be done on [that day],” one of those people said.
These visual nights see several Apple retail employees in each location work throughout the evening and early a.m. hours, making significant modifications to the product layouts on the showroom floors, often removing previous generation products in favor of newly introduced models.
As Mac sales continue to outpace PC sales for quarter on end (that’s over 20 quarters for those keeping track at home), the addition of Thunderbolt, coupled with the upcoming release of OS X Lion, should help keep folks interested in the Mac even as we seem to be transitioning to an increasingly mobile society.
Below is a video of Thunderbolt doing it’s thang – transferring a 4GB file in just a few seconds.