Apple could release multiple new iMacs in 2022 with a focus on new Apple Silicon processors and improved integrated technologies. One of these releases may be an iMac Pro revival with Pro Display XDR-like features.
● 27-inch iMac Pro redesign
● ProMotion and mini LED
● M1 Pro and M1 Max
● 24-inch iMac with M2 processor
● 2022 release dates
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Rumors surrounding a 27-inch iMac redesign were sparked when the 24-inch iMac launched in 2021. Initially, reports pointed to a similar redesign with multiple color options and an M1 processor. However, the latest reports indicate Apple will use the M1 Pro and M1 Max in a new iMac Pro.
Conflicting rumors and reports are nothing new for unannounced Apple products, but both sets of reports may be accurate for a product like the iMac. Apple has taken a similar approach in its iMac lineup before. Previously, Apple sold a 21.5-inch iMac, 27-inch iMac, and iMac Pro at different product tiers.
New iMac Features
We will examine the possibility of both new iMac options below. Apple could announce a revived iMac Pro with neutral color options and pro-grade processors, the larger version of the colorful 24-inch iMac with consumer-grade processors, or both.
Like the 24-inch iMac, the new larger model will shrink the display bezels, have a smaller chin, and be much thinner with a uniform thickness throughout. The previous 27-inch iMac weighed nearly 20 pounds, and thanks to the redesign, we expect it to weigh much less.
The color selection will largely depend on which processor type is used. If this is a pro-grade iMac with M1 Pro and M1 Max chipsets, Apple will only release it in space gray or silver with black bezels. A consumer-grade M2 processor would mean multiple color options and an off-white bezel around the display.
Apple discontinued the space gray Magic accessories alongside the iMac Pro in 2021. However, a new set of color-match accessories could arrive with a new iMac Pro. The new Magic Keyboard has Touch ID but is only available in alternate colors when ordering a specific color iMac. Apple sells only the basic white version separately.
The redesigned 27-inch iMac will likely be slightly thicker than the 24-inch model to account for airflow and cooling. The M1 Pro and M1 Max may be highly efficient processors, but they still generate a lot of heat during intensive operations.
The display stand will likely have an identical design to the 24-inch iMac, which isn't ideal. Many have been clamoring for a new iMac stand with some adjustability, but it is doubtful Apple will implement such a design in this model.
Early rumors of the new iMac suggested that Apple would increase the display size by shrinking the bezels around the screen. This would give users a 30-inch or 32-inch display similar to the Pro Display XDR.
However, analysts and leakers appear to have settled on the 27-inch display size for the new model in more recent reports. This indicates that Apple will reduce the case size around the display instead.
As with color design, the display technology in use will largely depend on what processor Apple uses for this machine. An iMac Pro-type model would have ProMotion, mini-LED, and a higher pixel density. A consumer-focused model would have a similar display to the existing iMac 5K with little to no changes overall.
ProMotion is a technology that enables 120Hz variable refresh rates. This means scrolling content, animations, and some video games will look smoother, and since there's no battery to be concerned with, more content will run at high refresh rates without issue.
Apple could implement the mini-LED backlight in either pro or non-pro models, but some rumors suggest it won't be used in the larger iMac at all. If implemented, the display will have many more dimming zones and will be able to represent black space much more accurately.
Despite not having a larger display, Apple could increase the overall pixel count for more density and native 2x Retina scaling. This may mean using a 5.5K display, similar to the 24-inch iMac, which uses a 4.5K display.
There are multiple processor options available for the new iMac. Rumors seem to indicate Apple will focus on pro-grade hardware with this release, so it would get the M1 Pro or M1 Max.
Customers would be able to choose between processors when configuring their machines. For example, the M1 Pro has a 10-core CPU with a 16-core GPU, while the M1 Max has a 10-core CPU with a 24-core or 32-core GPU.
Unlike the Intel models, Apple doesn't offer discrete graphics options. Instead, the integrated graphics in the M1 Pro or M1 Max are expected to be more than enough for most applications. In addition, the neural engine and media engines built into the processors also add increased performance with specific tasks.
The M1 Pro and M1 Max support up to 64GB of RAM and 8TB SSD storage. These processors also enable more Thunderbolt ports and general I/O, but the upper limit isn't known.
If Apple chooses to make a consumer-focused iMac, it will likely wait until the M2 processor is announced. The M2, like the M1, will focus on efficiency with low-power tasks and will not outperform the M1 Pro and M1 Max despite launching later.
Webcam and Ports
Apple will likely move to a 1080p webcam just as it did with the 24-inch model. It hasn't brought Center Stage to any Mac yet, but the feature may be introduced with the new 27-inch iMac.
Center Stage is a feature first introduced in the 2021 iPad Pros. The ultra-wide selfie camera follows the user's face and widens the view when another person steps into the frame. So far, this is a feature exclusive to iPads.
It isn't clear precisely what ports could be introduced with the new iMac. In any case, be it an iMac Pro or consumer machine, it will likely have more varied ports than the 24-inch model.
Three or four Thunderbolt 4 ports are possible since the M1 Pro and M1 Max support more than two. It isn't known if these processors can support four Thunderbolt ports in parallel, but three are present on the new MacBook Pros.
Apple could also add an SD card slot to the side of the display or an HDMI port to the back for adding an additional monitor. However, it may be simpler to keep multiple Thunderbolt 4 and USB-A ports instead.
The power adapter on the 24-inch iMac has an optional ethernet connection. Some speculate that Apple could add more ports to this power adapter, but the location of the ports does not offer a lot of options.
New iMac Release Date and Price
There are two possible iMacs, so Apple has several options for potential release dates. The iMac Pro refresh is the simplest to predict since Apple could easily announce such a product in the spring.
The possible consumer-grade 27-inch iMac is a little more complicated. Apple is very unlikely to release a new iMac with the M1 processor, so it would wait until the M2 is available. This would mean a fall 2022 or spring 2023 launch window.
The 24-inch iMac starts at $1,299 and the Intel-based 27-inch iMac starts at $1,799. Apple would position the new iMac Pro with an estimated $1,999 or higher starting price. Some have speculated at a near $3,000 base model given the display and processor specs.