The Apple Store is down

New Sandy Bridge iMacs expected shortly

[UPDATE: The store is back up with new iMacs on display starting at $1,199.]

As expected, Apple's (aapl) online store early Tuesday displayed its Post-it yellow "We'll be back soon" note, the universal sign that a new product is about to be released.

This time the new entry is widely expected to be an updated iMac, the workhorse Apple desktop that hasn't been refreshed since July 27, 2010.

According to AppleInsider, the new iMacs will "[swap] out the systems' first-gen Core i processors and miniDisplay ports for second-generation Core i chips and the company's new high-speed Thunderbolt port."

Below the fold: AppleInsider's chart showing the diminishing importance of Apple's desktop line vis a vis the MacBook over the past five years.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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