Apple first introduced the iMac Pro five years ago at WWDC 2017. It then went on sale in December 2017. But the iMac Pro wasn’t long for this world: In March 2021 Apple announced that it was discontinuing the iMac Pro.
However, the iMac Pro might not be gone for good, there are reports that Apple could soon revive the old brand with a brand new iMac Pro. Read on to find out when it could launch and what features it might offer.
You might be thinking these rumours were laid to rest when Apple discontinued the 27in iMac in March 2022 – introducing the Mac Studio and Studio Display in its place. Is there a need for a new iMac Pro now the Mac Studio has arrived? We think there will always be room for a pro desktop with a large screen built in. Read more about the future of the iMac in 27in iMac discontinued, but not necessarily dead.
Updated 5/20/22 with a report that the iMac Pro may not ship until October due to production delays.
Will there be an iMac Pro 2022
For some time there have been rumors that a new iMac model with a mini-LED screen with ProMotion technology is in the pipeline. There have been reports that Apple intends to revive the name iMac Pro for this new iMac.
A tweet from the now retired technology leaker Dylandkt back in October 2021 described the new iMac as an iMac (Pro). He wrote:
iMac (Pro) Promotion and Mini Led Base model 16gb Ram 512gb Storage M1 Pro and Max Dark bezels HDMI, SD Card, Usb C Similar design to iMac 24 and Pro Display XDR Starting price at or over 2000 dollars Ethernet on brick standard Face ID was tested (Not confirmed) 1H 2022
— Dylan (@dylandkt) October 30, 2021
Dylan wasn’t alone in his predictions about a new iMac Pro. Display analyst Ross Young also made many observations that a new iMac was coming based on sightings of 27-inch displays. Young later admitted that these sightings could have been in relation to the Studio Display, which subsequently launched. But while it’s feasible that the rumors pointing to this new iMac Pro were based on the Studio Display, the abundance of information related to a new iMac can’t be ignored.
Even Mark Gurman of Bloomberg has indicated that a new iMac Pro is still coming. In a January 2022 PowerOn Newsletter, Gurman wrote that: “The company [Apple] has a bevy of new pro Macs in the works based on the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that are already inside the MacBook Pro. That includes a smaller Mac Pro with up to 40 CPU cores and 128 graphics cores, a new Mac mini, and a large-screened iMac Pro.”
Gurman was unfazed by the release of the Mac Studio and the removal of the 27in iMac from the line up following the March Apple event. He wrote in April 2022: “For those asking, I still think an iMac Pro is coming. It just won’t be anytime soon.”
2022 iMac Pro: Release date
If these insights are correct, and there is indeed an iMac Pro in the works at Apple, when can we expect to see it?
In February 2022 Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman stated that “several new Macs” will be revealed at WWDC in June. However a lot has happened since February and now a later release is looking more likely. As per the April 2022 report above, Gurman doesn’t think that the iMac Pro will be here “anytime soon”.
In Marchan unverified Twitter account for analyst Ming-Chi Kuo stated that an iMac Pro won’t ship until 2023.
Display analyst Ross Young tends to be in the loop with regards to Apple monitors could be on to something with this tweet from May 2022 in which he notes that the 27in MiniLED monitor has been delayed due to lock downs in Shanghai. While it is feasible that this monitor isn’t destined for the new iMac, it could explain the delay:
2022 iMac Pro: Design & colors
In his 31 July 2021 PowerOn newsletter Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested that the new iMac Pro will have “a similar design to the current M1 iMac.” We think it likely that the iMac Pro will borrow some of its design inspiration from the 24in iMac. Apple offers the 24-inch iMac in several color choices, but there haven’t been reports on what color choices Apple will use for the iMac Pro. To create a differentiation between the consumer and pro levels, Apple may decide on different color choices like the iPhone Pro, or stick with the traditional silver like that on the 27-inch iMac or Space Gray like on the discontinued iMac Pro.
Another difference we could see on the larger iMac is dark bezels rather than a white border around the screen. Read Why we are disappointed in by the new iMac design. There may also be a notch as there is with the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro. This could allow Apple to extend the height of the screen as it has with these models.
2022 iMac Pro: Screen size & technology
Display analyst Ross Young and others have stated that the iMac Pro will have a 27-inch display, which we have to admit to being disappointed by. However, the observations about a 27-inch display may have referred to the Studio Display. There could still be a iMac with a larger display in the pipeline.
A larger display would certainly make the iMac Pro more attractive to potential buyers. Next to the 24in iMac, with its 4.5K display (4,480 x 2,520 pixels), the 27-inch iMac only looks slightly more impressive with its 5K display (5,120 x 2,880 pixels). But it’s not only the 24-inch iMac that the iMac Pro will be compared to – the 27-inch screen also doesn’t compare particularly favourably with many modern displays that are larger than 30-inch (including the 32-inch Apple Pro Display XDR).
Perhaps new screen technology will allow Apple to squeeze in more pixels into a 27-inch display, but we would like to see a 32-inch display on the new iMac Pro.
A larger display could be possible without increasing the size of the iMac significantly. The 27-inch iMac measures 25.6 inches wide, 20.3 inches tall, and 8 inches deep, and while Apple’s new design helps make the 24-inch iMac smaller than the 21.5-inch iMac it replaced, there isn’t that much of a difference in size (21.5 inches x 18.1 inches x 5.8 inches (with the stand) vs 20.8 inches x 17.7 inches x 6.9 inches).
The new iMac Pro wouldn’t actually need to be as big as the Pro Display XDR to offer a 6K display. A 30in display with smaller bezels could still accommodate the 6,016 x 3,384 pixels for Retina 6K resolution and a 6K iMac.
To get an idea of what we could expect with the display in the larger iMac, let’s look at what’s being used in the current iMac lineup, as well as the Pro Display XDR and Liquid Retina XDR in the MacBook Pro.
24-inch iMac: 4.5K Retina display (4,480-by-2,520 resolution) 500 nits brightness, wide color (P3), True Tone technology
27-inch iMac and iMac Pro: 5K Retina display (5,120‑by‑2,880 resolution), 500 nits brightness, wide color (P3), True Tone
Liquid Retina XDR MacBook Pro: 2K/3K Retina display, 1,600 nits peak brightness, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, wide color (P3), True Tone
Pro Display XDR: 6K Retina display (6,016-by-3,384 resolution), 1,000 nits (XDR) or 500 nits (SDR) brightness, wide color (P3), True Tone
Studio Display: 5K Retina display (5,120-by-2,880 resolution), 600 nits, wide color (P3), True Tone
The upcoming larger iMac will have smaller bezels than the 27-inch iMac and iMac Pro, which could help the display reach a higher pixel density without having to make the display much bigger. A rumor by Ross Young in October and a follow-up report in December claims that Apple will bring a Liquid Retina XDR display with “around 1,000 zones and over 4,000 mini-LEDs” to the iMac. That would be fewer than the 10,000 mini-LEDs in the iPad and the 8,000 mini-LEDs in the MacBook Pro, though it would likely be visually indistinguishable due to the size and viewing distance.
The 27-inch iMac used to ship with standard glass on the front of the display, but (for $300) Apple offered a nano-texture glass that provided a matte-like finish and did a good job of cutting down glare. Apple will probably continue to offer this with the new iMac Pro. As you can see above, it dramatically cuts down on the gloss and glare.
2022 iMac Pro: Processor
The Mac Studio is a great desktop Mac, but it offers only the choice of the M1 Max or M1 Ultra. There are desktop Mac users who would like to see a desktop Mac housing the M1 Pro. While this could be the future of the Mac mini model that currently offers an Intel chip, we’d like to see it in a iMac Pro.
The iMac’s slim profile is similar to the MacBook Pro, which indicates that the M1 Pro or the M1 Max will work well. In benchmarks, the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors have performed well against the discontinued 27in iMac and iMac Pro models. There is some doubt as to whether we will see the M1 Ultra (as seen in the Mac Studio) inside this Mac though due to the thermal management requirements.
Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported in January 2022 that the iMac Pro would have “similar chips to the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors inside of the MacBook Pro.”
2022 iMac Pro: Graphics
The M1 Pro offers a 14-core or 16-core GPU (14-cores on the entry-level) while the M1 Max GPU is even better – offering 32-cores.
Should Apple be able to use the M1 Ultra inside the iMac we could see a 64-core GPU.
2022 iMac Pro: RAM
In the October 2021 tweet (above) Dylan suggested that there would be 16GB RAM as standard in the new iMac Pro. If the M1 Pro and M1 Max are included then that suggests that the new iMac will be able to support 64GB RAM, which is less than the 128GB RAM currently supported.
It may however be possible to support 128GB RAM in the new machine if Apple can use the M1 Ultra.
The current 27-inch iMac has RAM slots that are user-accessible. With Apple silicon, RAM is built into the SoC, and if Apple also insists on maintaining the thinness of the iMac, there’s a good chance that the RAM will not be user upgradable. However, Apple introduced options up to 64GB with the M1 Pro on the MacBook Pro, so we doubt memory will be an issue for pro users.
2022 iMac Pro: Storage
Dylan’s October 2021 tweet also suggested that there will be 512GB storage as standard with the new iMac (Pro).
That would be an improvement on the 256GB offered in the entry-level 27in iMac prior to it being retired. But it would follow the pattern of the 2021 16in MacBook Pro which has 512GB and 1TB options for the standard machines (and 8TB as a build to order option, matching the 27in iMac).
2022 iMac Pro: Ports and expansion
The 24-inch iMac comes with two USB 3 ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a headphone jack. After Apple launched the MacBook Pro with HDMI and an SDXC card slot, rumors suggest the iMac will follow suit. The thin enclosure could be an issue, but Apple solved that issue on the 24-inch model by putting the headphone jack on the side. Apple could position the SD slot similarly to avoid making the iMac thicker. We doubt that Apple will keep USB-A ports around, however.
For the $1,499/£1,499 and $1,699/£1,699 24-inch iMac, Apple placed the ethernet port in the power adapter brick. The same power adapter is likely to be used for the larger iMac as well.
2022 iMac: Other features
The 24-inch iMac and new MacBook Pro have improved FaceTime cameras that use the M1’s ISP to provide better image quality. That same FaceTime camera implementation is expected for the larger iMac Pro as well. A November leak suggested that it is possible that the camera could support Face ID, since True Depth references were spotted in macOS Big Sur, though the MacBook Pro doesn’t support Face ID despite having a wide notch. If it doesn’t have Face ID, it will likely have Touch ID built into the keyboard like the 24-inch iMac.
2022 iMac Pro: Price
As for the price, it will likely fall in line with the pricing of the 27-inch iMac, which started at $1,799/£1,749 since Apple kept similar pricing to the 21.5-inch iMac when it launched the 24-inch model. It’s also possible that the price will be a bit higher, perhaps starting at over $2,000/£2,000, which would be more in line with Apple’s price increase for the higher-end MacBook Pro.
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