Revamped iMacs, 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro due alongside iPad mini next week

As October 23 approaches, the word on the street is that Apple alongside the iPad mini will unveil a redesigned iMac with a curved shell “like a water droplet”, updated Mac minis a new 13-inch MacBook Pro notebook featuring the Retina display. Hot on the heels of last month’s introduction of the iPhone 5, fifth-generation iPod touch and the new iPod nano, Apple apparently isn’t done updating its existing lineup, per one analyst who recently called for eight Apple product releases by end of 2012…

Mark Gurman reports for 9to5Mac, citing “a consistently reliable source at a high-profile U.S. retailer”, that the new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is a go for the October 23 event. John Paczkowski of AllThingsD, a Wall Street Journal-operated blog, corroborated information with his sources this morning.

The notebook is code-named D1 internally and Apple plans to sell it at a premium compared to the existing, non-Retina 13-inch MacBooks.

This new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina Display is said to pick up the thinner and lighter enclosure of the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display that was released in June.

The new 13-inch MacBook Pro will be sold in two configurations, with differing processors and storage, and will be available for purchase soon after introduction.

It should have all-flash storage like the 15-inch Retina-enabled MacBook Pro and a screen resolution of 1,560 -by-1,600 pixels versus the 2,560-by-1,600 pixel resolution of the 15-inch Retina notebook.

Other notables include an “unprecedented battery”design, no discrete GPU and the same ports as the 15-incher: MagSafe 2, a pair of Thunderbolt ports, a USB port, and a headphone jack on the left and a USB port, an HDMI port, and an SD card reader on the right.

As a side note, the EPEAT has caved on repairability and now gives the Retina MacBook Pro a Gold rating, per The Next Web. Apple’s notebook shipments in the third quarter rose 30 percent amid a global slump, according to Digitimes Research.

The display part of the 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro, pictured next to its 15-inch sibbling. Image via a forum thread on Chinese site WeiPhone

Retina display has become the focus of Apple’s advertising as commercials for the MacBook Pro, iPhones and iPads usually focus around it.

Our poll confirms that the Retina display strikes a chord with consumers, who are increasingly favoring devices with displays featuring a resolution so high that the human eye is unable to discern the individual pixels, a primary pre-requisite for the Retina moniker.

Another report sheds light on a Mac mini updated, also thought to be slated for the packed October 23 event, and shipping “immediately after announcement”:

Alongside the smaller iPad, Apple plans to announce a new version of its Mac mini. Sources say that these Mac minis will come in two standard configurations, with different storage and processor options, and a third model that runs OS X Server.

The Mac mini was last updated in June 2011 with Thunderbolt I/O, faster CPU and GPU and the removal of the internal CD/DVD optical drive from all versions.

As for the iMac, a blury image published by Chinese site WeiPhone (via MacRumors) shows an alleged logic board for the upcoming iMac. More interesting than that is the accompanied article which cites the poster’s brother-in-law (who allegedly works in the plant that manufactures the new iMacs) as mentioning a dramatically reworked design.

According to a poor machine-translated text (via 9to5Mac), the new iMac features a design of ”epoch-making significance” in that it’s so thin that one “almost cannot see the new iMac’s thickness” from the side. The report makes no mention of the Retina display for the redesigned iMac, a sought-after feature for Apple’s all-in-one.

The thinness is achieved presumably thanks to smaller, more power efficient chips and also because Apple used a “very pretty special glass glued directly”, indicating that the new iMac will probably feature a similar or the same display assembly technology like the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display.

The process isn’t without pitfalls, as the poster described in another article (machine-translated):

The new iMac is using a special ”glue” to glue the display to the frame and is facing very strict quality control. Products from Foxconn is having a lot of issues.

In this case, after the glue dried, there will be minor air gaps. Apple had no choice but to use Foxconn because most of the capable manufacturer is now all under Foxconn. Therefore defects of the iPhone 5 is not that hard to understand (because Foxconn makes them all).

The poster claims that new iMacs should launch late October or early November.

Industrial design is said to incorporate a curved shell “like a water droplet” with some “tetragonal” elements. The machine will still have a ‘chin’ below the display.

The new iMac would be timely. According to MacRumors’ Buyer’s Guide, the iMac was last updated 531 days ago versus its average update cycle of 273 days.

We’re not sure about this so we’ll have to wait to see how the rumors pan out.

The 13-inch MacBook Pro was last updated in June with USB 3.0 and refreshed hardware, though a Retina model would be a new machine in addition to the existing lineup.

At any rate, a 13-inch Mac notebook with the Retina display and an all-new ultra-thin iMac would nicely round up Apple’s aggressive fall launches.