It’s December 1, 2012. The newest iteration of the 21.5-inch iMac has been out for a full day, and the staff at iFixit has already carefully disassembled one of the new all-in-one Macs to determine how repairable it is — or isn’t — and what makes the latest iMac tick.
The first thing the iFixit team was unhappy with was the use of adhesives to attach the display assembly to the body of the computer. Rather than strong magnets, used in the previous series of iMacs, the display is basically glued on and requires a heat gun and guitar picks to remove.
The display itself sports the same model number (LG LM215WF3) as the previous 21.5-inch iMac, but strangely enough it’s 5mm thinner than the older display. iFixit surmises that “Apple took all the same pieces of the LCD and crammed them into a smaller housing.”
If the display is the same, the interior of the iMac is a pleasant surprise. The team reports that “nothing about the inside of this iMac resembles last year’s model.” Owners of the new model can download a free wallpaper cropped properly to give your iMac that “Transparent Man” look.
Other finds include a new, beefier cable for the FaceTime HD camera, dual microphones (most likely to assist with background noise reduction), big speaker enclosures, and “user replaceable” RAM — although you’ll need to unglue your display and remove the logic board to snap in more RAM. The 27-inch model expected in a few weeks allegedly has a small hatch on the back to enable easier RAM upgrades.
The CPU features a “honkin’ heat sink” that channels heat right into the fan. iFixit gave the new iMac a 3 out of 10 score on repairability — the previous generation boasted a 7 out of 10. We’re looking forward to seeing the iFixit teardown of the new 27-inch model in a few weeks.
If your teardown preferences lean toward leaving the computer alone and focusing on the new, oddly shaped iMac box, Ars Technica has the full unboxing rundown.