Here's everything we know about Apple's next iMac
It could be the biggest change to iMac… ever!
With Apple’s November ‘One More Thing’ event and the dawn of Apple silicon, the company cemented its plans to overhaul its entire Mac lineup over the course of the next two years. Whilst the majority of those changes come under the hood by way of Apple silicon, each new release is a chance to rethink each of Apple’s Mac lineups. No Mac has changed less on the outside in the last few years than the iMac, but 2021 could bring about an end to all of that.
Rumors and speculation indicate Apple plans a massive overhaul to its desktop all-in-one, a staple of offices and creative setups the world over for so many years. So what will Apple change? What’s in, and what’s out? When will it be released, and how much will it cost? Here’s everything we (think we) know about the 2021 iMac.
A formality. Apple has no reason to change the name of iMac, and there are no rumors it plans to do so.
Finally, the time of the massive chin and enlarged bezels of iMac might be up. From Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman:
The new models will slim down the thick black borders around the screen and do away with the sizable metal chin area in favor of a design similar to Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor. These iMacs will have a flat back, moving away from the curved rear of the current iMac. Apple is planning to launch two versions — codenamed J456 and J457 — to replace the existing 21.5-inch and 27-inch models later this year, the people said, asking not to be identified because the products are not yet announced.
Flat backs, no chin, thinner, black bezels. Sounds fantastic. Apple’s iMac will reportedly look a lot like its Pro Display XDR monitor, which makes a lot of sense. But wait, there’s more! Most recently brought to life by Jon Prosser, concepts based on leaks have brought the iMac’s rumored design to life, with one huge twist. COLORS! Apparently, Apple plans to release the iMac in a range of five colors much like its iPad Air from 2020. Take a look!
We don’t know much about the details of display quality when it comes to the next iMac. However, a redesign would present the opportunity for Apple to change up its display size. There are rumblings, not least from Apple supply chain guru and leaker Ming-Chi Kuo, that Apple plans to unveil an iMac with a larger 24-inch display, and possibly even a 30-inch version too. One key display feature we might get is mini-LED, a new display technology that overcomes some of the drawbacks of OLED, as explained by Rene Ritchie:
Basically, it uses like 10,000 tiny, 200 micron LEDs, grouped into local dimming zones, so it can get closer to those deep, inky blacks, giving it contrast ratios similar to OLED, but without the burn-in, off-axis color shifts, and white point changes that just stack up on OLED.
It also might allow for adaptive refresh rates, what Apple calls ProMotion on the iPad Pro. That’s what lets the display ramp up to 120Hz for silky smooth scrolling and brain-bending gaming, but also ramp way down to 48Hz, even 24Hz for things like accurately presenting 24 frames-per-second content in Final Cut Pro and TV+.
As mentioned, the driving force behind all of Apple’s Mac innovation right now is Apple silicon. And you’d best believe Apple has huge plans for iMac. From a report last year:
pple’s M1 chip was unveiled in a new entry-level MacBook Pro laptop, a refreshed Mac mini desktop and across the MacBook Air range. The company’s next series of chips, planned for release as early as the spring and later in the fall, are destined to be placed across upgraded versions of the MacBook Pro, both entry-level and high-end iMac desktops, and later a new Mac Pro workstation, the people said… For higher-end desktop computers, planned for later in 2021 and a new half-sized Mac Pro planned to launch by 2022, Apple is testing a chip design with as many as 32 high-performance cores.
That’s right, a new iMac could have an Apple silicon chip with as many as 32 cores! As mentioned, this seems to be a new series of chips, so possibly an M2 or M1X (as rumored) version, rather than a spicier variant of the M1.
Apple ditched Intel for its MacBook Air last year, but held onto Intel options for both the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini, it remains to be seen whether Apple will retain an Intel option for the new iMac.
According to reports, Face ID was planned for Apple’s new iMac this year, however, this has been scrapped by Apple. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports this is “unlikely” to be included in the first iteration of the new iMac.
We can’t nail down a specific rumored release date for the iMac. 2021 seems a certainty. Bloomberg indicates new Apple silicon chips may be released “as early as the spring” and later in the fall, so an iMac could in theory fall into either of those windows. A report from China Times claims the iMac will be released in the first half of 2021. When coupled with Gurman’s spring and fall windows, it seems more reasonable to assume the new iMac will debut in the first half of 2021. Recent reports indicate shortages of various Apple iMac models, leading to some speculation Apple is preparing to launch a new model.
The 21.5-inch iMac starts at $1,099, and the current 27-inch model starts at $1,799. Now, given the previous information regarding a big size increase, and a design overhaul, it is not unreasonable to assume Apple may increase the price of the iMac. However, Apple’s new M1 Macs released late last year were actually cheaper than their Intel counterparts. We do not have any specific information regarding the price at this point, however.