Fair warning: This is speculation on my part
Fact 1: The Intel desktop chipset Z68 will be released in a week or two to the general public.
Fact 2: Apple cares about user experience
Fact 3: Intel has given Apple preferred access to its components before
The iMac, Apple’s Desktop offering, is long overdue. I had my bets for a refresh in February, that never happened. In March it would be logical to release an update with Sandy Bridge and Thunderbolt. That in itself would he a huge gain.
The Intel Z68 chipset will allow Apple to let the user have a small SSD drive for caching, so that all frequently run program data will be there. That’s not that different from what Samsung (and I’m sure others) already do on regular hard drives: keep a small bit of SSD for caching so that data that is frequently accessed is faster available than it would be reading from a drive. Except for this: the SSD drives used with the Z68 would typically be 64GB or around there.
Toms Hardware has a nice benchmark of using this chipset with SSD drives and whether larger drives make a substantial difference: http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/z68-express-lucidlogix-virtu-ssd-caching,2888-4.html
Adding this would make the iMac the fastest Mac there is, at least when it comes to user experience, another blow to the Mac Pro for sure. It should also have a refresh, poor thing.
So while this is just speculation on my part, I think it makes sence, timing wise and logically. And, I really need a new Mac, so with the speculation about a special happening on May 3rd, with Apple Store employees being required to be present there, an iMac happening after “let’s get back to the Mac” makes very much sense to me.
PS, Apple, please allow me to add 64GB of RAM this time
Update: Yes, I was right on this one!