Apple introduced the redesigned iMac with a new colorful design and M1 chip at its Spring Loaded event back in April 2021. As we approach the two-year anniversary of the new-look iMac, we’re expecting Apple to update it sometime in 2023 with a new chip.
Apple is well into the launch of the second generation of Apple silicon, with the M2 arriving in June 2022 and the M2 Pro and M2 Max coming in January. That makes the 24-inch iMac one of the few remaining M1 Macs. Can we expect Apple to introduce an M2 variant of the iMac soon? Read on to find out.
New 24-inch iMac: Release date
Apple introduced the M2 chip in the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro back in the summer of 2022, so it makes sense that Apple will soon update the iMac with an M2 chip. However, the latest rumors suggest that won’t be the case. Instead, Apple may skip the M2 chip and move straight to the M3 later in 2023.
In a January 2023 newsletter, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg claimed that the new M3-powered Macs will arrive either at the end of this year or in early 2024.
However, Gurman then brought this date forward, referring to the iMac being “at an advanced stage of development” in a March newsletter. Not that he expected an imminent launch. He suggested that the iMac was “not expected to go into mass production for at least three months” and indicated that it “won’t ship until the second half of the year at the earliest.” that’s still sooner than early 2024.
Gurman even suggests that Apple might unveil the M3 chips–expected to be inside the new iMacs–at WWDC in June (a year after the M2 arrived), although it looks like there will be a longer wait for the launch of that machine.
One date that leaps out to us here at Macworld is August 15. The reason we’d like to see Apple launch an M3 iMac on that date is it will be exactly 25 years after Apple introduced the original G3 iMac. It’s a Tuesday.
New 24-inch iMac: Price
Apple introduced new pricing for iMac in 2021, with the entry-level model costing $1,299. Unless there’s a significant redesign like the MacBook Air–which isn’t anticipated–we expect the next model to cost the same.
However, when Apple added the M2 Pro and M2 Max processors to MacBook Pro and Mac mini in January 2023, it also bumped pricing for the existing iMacs in countries outside the U.S. For example, in the U.K., each iMac model now costs £150 more. Since Apple has adjusted prices in line with exchange rate fluctuations we don’t expect the pricing to increase again.
New 24-inch iMac: Design
When Apple introduced the new look iMac in 2021, it ramped up the all-in-one design with a collection of duo-color options and a larger 24-inch screen that was even thinner than before at 11.5mm (0.45 inches).
While there are features we’d like to see, such as a height-adjustable stand and smaller chin, we don’t expect much to change about the design, with the possible exception of new color options.
In his March 5 newsletter Gurman suggested that little will change for the outward design of the iMac. He stated that it will be the same screen size and the same colors as it is currently.
However, Gurman did suggest that there will be design related changes on the inside with some “internal components relocated and redesigned…” he also revealed that “the manufacturing process for attaching the iMac’s stand is different,” according to his information.
New 24-inch iMac: Display
The 24-inch iMac has a 4.5K Retina display with 500 nits of brightness, anti‑reflective coating, and True Tone. Even though the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros introduced a better screen with miniLED and ProMotion technology, we doubt the iMac display will change much with the second-generation. We’d love to see ProMotion to the iMac, but as more of a high-end feature, we’ll likely have to wait for the larger iMac or iMac Pro, if it ever materialises.
New 24-inch iMac: Processor and specs
Gurman has repeatedly claimed that Apple will bypass the M2 and move straight to the M3 chip for the next generation of the 24-inch iMac. That chip should be a stronger update than the M2, with rumors claiming that the new chips will be built using a new 3nm manufacturing process that will improve performance and power efficiency. By skipping a generation, the next iMac will represent a significant bump over the current model.
The M1 iMac starts at 8GB of RAM with an option to upgrade to 16GB. Apple’s M2 Macs offer an upgrade to 16GB or 24GB, so the iMac will likely support those higher memory options as well.
The iMac includes a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, but Apple has since introduced the 12MP Ultra Wide camera with 122-degree field of view in the Studio Display. That’s likely to make its way into the new iMac along with Center Stage, the feature that keeps you centered as you move. Apple has taken criticism for the quality of the Studio Display camera, so we assume it will correct those issues with the M3 chip’s image signal processor.
New 24-inch iMac: Ports
The entry level iMac comes with two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack built into the side, while the higher-end models have two additional USB 3 ports. There’s also a Gigabit ethernet jack built into the power adapter on the higher end models, which costs an extra $30 on the entry levle model. With such a thin frame, it’s unlikely that we’ll get HDMI or an SDXC card slot like on the MacBook Pros and Mac Studio.
The latest Macs all offer Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, which we expect to arrive in the iMac. On the audio side, the iMac already has a six-speaker sound system that supports spatial audio, so we don’t expect an upgrade there, though it could gain dynamic head tracking when using AirPods (3rd generation), AirPods Pro, and AirPods Max.