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Last week we heard a reliable report that Apple has at least one new product that’s ready to ship virtually any day now, and while it wasn’t entirely clear at that point what that could be — after all, Apple has several things in the pipeline right now — we’re seeing reports from multiple sources that suggest the next thing we’ll see appearing from Apple will be a refreshed iMac.
At this point, Apple’s iMac is overdue for an update, and it’s also way overdue for a significant redesign, so of course there’s been a lot of speculation as to what it is that we’ll be seeing next for Apple’s venerable desktop computer. In fact, about the only Mac that’s been more neglected than the iMac lately has been Apple’s Mac mini, which went four years between any updates before Apple released a new Mac mini in 2018.
Back in early March, a reliable leaker, CoinX, predicted new iMac and Mac mini models on the horizon, while also sharing details on the new iPad Pro which turned out to be largely correct. While the Mac mini did get an update, it merely doubled the storage capacities at each price point while leaving everything else exactly the same. It’s unclear if this is what CoinX is referring to, but we’d be pretty surprised if we see another Mac mini refresh this year (Apple’s A12Z-equipped Mac minis that are part of its Developer Transition Kit notwithstanding, since these are “loaner” machines for developers that don’t really count as a product release).
So that leaves the iMac, and there’s been no shortage of news about that over the last month. In fact, the usually reliable leaker Sonny Dickson predicted a fully redesigned iMac would be launching at WWDC last month, however not only did that obviously not happen, but a subsequent report suggested that we’ll see one other Intel Mac before Apple makes the transition to Apple Silicon, and it seems highly unlikely Apple would introduce a significant new design without giving it at least some stage time.
Now a pair of new rumours have just surfaced suggesting that Apple could introduce a new iMac as early as this week, while also confirming our suspicions that it won’t feature a significant redesign, and in fact may look exactly the same as the iMacs that we’ve been seeing for the past eight years.
The first rumour appeared in a now-deleted Tweet from leaker @Soybeys shared by 9to5Mac that suggested this week as the time frame. However, a later Tweet seemed to walk that back, suggesting that there would be “No iMac, no HomePod, no AirTags, no headphones, no nothing” while adding that they will all be coming “later this year.”
On the other hand, well-known leaker Jon Prosser suggested that @Soybeys was “close”, while responding to the 9to5Mac report with the simple word “Nope” and saying that users should “keep an eye out for August,” followed by “No redesign.”
Prosser’s tweet also backs up another rumour from leaker @Jioriku, confirming what we’ve suspected for a while: that Apple will not redesign the 10th-gen Intel iMac because it’s naturally going to be saving it for its “own silicon.”
All of that having been said, however, just because the iMac may not get the wholesale redesign that was predicted, that doesn’t mean that some of the other things that Dickson mentioned back in June might not find their way into the new iMac.
For example, Dickson also added that the iMac would feature a T2 chip, a new AMD Navi GPU, and would eliminate the Fusion Drive option, which are all things that sound like they could easily be incorporated into a new iMac without requiring a full redesign, and some of which are, frankly, overdue by themselves.
For example, the iMac is now the only computer in Apple’s entire lineup that lacks the T2 security chip. Even the Mac mini gained the T2 chip back in 2018, which has left the iMac as a serious outlier.
Similarly, the Fusion Drive has become something of an anachronism, hailing from the days when SSD storage was considerably more expensive, and with Apple’s MacBooks able to handle 2TB of SSD storage at much lower prices than before, the hybrid SSD/HDD combo drive no longer makes a lot of sense, even as a configure-to-order option.
Other than the design, which we can now safely say isn’t coming, the main wildcard among Dickson’s predictions is the AMD Navi GPU. These debuted last year, so they’re more than ready to find their way into Apple’s Macs, and it’s actually unclear what place AMD GPUs will have in the Mac after Apple makes the transition to Apple Silicon. If Apple goes in a different direction, this Intel iMac could be the last time we see any third-party GPU in a Mac.
In fact, we strongly suspect that the GPU factor is the main reason Apple is only transitioning its 13-inch MacBooks to Apple Silicon this year. These systems don’t have discrete GPUs, which means that Apple doesn’t have to address this issue with its first-generation Apple Silicon chips. There have been rumours that we could still see an Apple Silicon based 21.5 iMac this year (which could grow to 24 inches), which seems like a possibility since that model also doesn’t use a discrete GPU, but that rumour is a bit more murky at this point.
It’s worth noting that neither @Jioriku or @Soybeys have any established track records for accurate leaks, and while Jon Prosser has generally had a fairly high degree of accuracy, some of his more recent reports have seemed a little bit far-fetched, although to be fair they have yet to be disproven.
While specific timelines are an open question, however, this latest batch of rumours have a strong ring of truth. There’s every indication that a new iMac with a 10th-gen Intel CPU is coming, and as much as we’re looking forward to Apple Silicon, an Intel iMac will be good news for those who still need to run Windows, especially if some of the other changes like the T2 chip and new GPU come to fruition as well.