Apple could release multiple new iMacs in 2023 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. However, the 27-inch iMac line has been discontinued so it may be some time before a refresh occurs.
● 27-inch iMac Pro redesign
● ProMotion and mini LED
● M3 processor in late 2023
● 24-inch iMac with updated processor
● 2023 or later release date
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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 could use the M3 processor in a new iMac Pro in 2023 or later.
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.
Very few rumors indicate that a larger iMac is coming, but it is still possible. Some predict a 2023 release window with M3 series processors.
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 Pro and Max chipsets, Apple will only release it in space gray or silver with black bezels. A consumer-grade M-series 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.
One report suggests that the large display may not feature as many dimmable zones as the iPad Pro or MacBook Pro displays. It isn't clear if this is for cost reduction or technological difficulties implementing the technology in a larger display.
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 Pro or Max tier chipsets.
Customers would be able to choose between processors when configuring their machines. For example, the existing M2 Pro has a 10-core CPU with a 16-core GPU, while the M2 Max has a 12-core CPU with a 30-core GPU for the base versions.
Unlike the Intel models, Apple doesn't offer discrete graphics options. Instead, the integrated graphics in the high-end M-series processors 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 M2 Pro and M2 Max support up to 32GB and 96GB of RAM respectively and 8TB SSD storage, and that may increase with future generations. 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 M3 processor is announced. The M3, like the M1 and M2, will focus on efficiency with low-power tasks and will not outperform the M2 Pro and M2 Max despite launching later.
A rumor from Mark Gurman in April 2022 suggests that Apple will wait until late 2023 to introduce updated iMacs with the M3 processor line. This would include a consumer-focused model and a possible new iMac Pro, but this date could slip into 2024.
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, and future updates can always increase this capacity.
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. Display supply chain analyst Ross Young released a report in January 2022 suggesting that Apple wouldn't be able to release the new iMac Pro in the spring. The predicted machine never arrived in 2022.
The possible consumer-grade 27-inch iMac is a little more complicated. The 27-inch iMac and iMac Pro are both discontinued, which makes predicting a launch window even more difficult.
The 24-inch iMac starts at $1,299 and the Intel-based 27-inch iMac started 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.