I’ve taken every single generation of iMac apart, and I can tell you, this thing is a very different beast inside.
Using glue to hold the LCD in place is lame, and I worry about how iMacs that have been taken apart several times will fare. That said, with just one fan (instead of the previous machine’s 3) and so many SSD options, the new machines have far fewer moving parts, which are always more prone to failure. That said, Apple’s choice to use laptop hard drives makes me sad.
(Interestingly, the 27-inch iMac seems to house a 3.5-inch drive.)
Unlike previous reports, iFixIt’s teardown shows that the RAM in the 21.5-inch model is not soldered to the logic board. Getting to it, however, requires taking the whole damn thing apart. I don’t know why Apple didn’t include the service door on this machine like it does on the 27-inch iMacs, but I hope it’s something they add in a later revision. I can deal with non-replaceable RAM in notebooks, but in a desktop machine, it’s a serious WTF decision, as desktops often have a longer lifespan than notebooks.
Looking through this report, I’m impressed at what Apple has done with the new iMacs. Apple’s been shipping the same basic design since the iMac G5, but the company keeps re-working the internals to make everything thinner and more power efficient.
However, these machines look like they are more difficult to repair than previous models, and while I’m no longer taking apart sick Macs for a living, I feel for those who do.