The iMac has always been a thing of beauty; a shining beacon of what's possible when both form and function are allowed to combine in harmony. We've come some way since the G3 design, too, with its translucent plastic case and its shape that was, while attractive, unavoidably dictated by the necessity of finding space for a cathode ray tube display.
The latest generation iMac is still designed with the display as its focus, but thanks to LCD panel technology the overall form is much more understated. On this 27in model the screen utterly dominates the front of the system. The front surface is covered in a single piece of glass, which sits flush with the aluminium strip at the bottom. And because of its size the iMac dominates any surface it's placed on. Subtle it is not. Stylish and attractive it undeniably is.
The front is habitually clear of any inputs or controls, with the power button reached around the back on the left, the expected DVD drive found on the right edge with an SD card reader below it, and the rest of the iMac's ports around the back to the right, as you face the system. These comprise four USB ports, a FireWire 800 port, 3.5mm audio input and output jacks, an Ethernet port and a mini DisplayPort connector. On this 27in model the video port will work as both an output and an input, but it's worth noting that on the 21.5in model it's only an output.
Incredibly, despite its massive size, the hinging on the 27in iMac is still engineered such that a single finger is all that's required to adjust the level of tilt. It's not something you'll likely notice often, if at all, but it's just one sign of the build quality Apple ascribes its products. Not that for £1,349 anything less would be acceptable. The metal section at the front is also narrower than ever now and as a result looks less out of proportion and, well, just plain better. Really all Apple needs to do now is make the iMac's stand height adjustable, or better still provide a VESA mount, and it might just have perfected the design.
While its 27in display does share a diagonal measurement with monitors such as the Dell 2707WFP, the iMac doesn't share the same pixel count. Rather, the 27in iMac has a massive 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution, which you might notice is a 16:9 aspect ratio, rather than the 16:10 ratio sported by most dedicated monitors (for now, at least). In effect all Apple has done is cut 160 vertical lines of pixels off a 30in panel.