Apple has announced a new iMac for 2020! With customary hyperbole, the firm detailed a “major update” to the “ultimate desktop” 27in model – although in truth it’s essentially a spec bump for the iMac, with no external design and (as expected) no sign yet of Apple Silicon processors.
In this article we’ve got all the details you need to know about the new iMac: its release date, tech specs, and the prices of the various configurations.
If you were hoping that there would be more to this disappointing update than there is, read our guide to what to expect from the redesigned Silicon iMac that is expected to launch in 2021.
You may also be interested in our review of the new 2020 27in iMac, plus how the new iMacs compare to the 2019 models.
Release date: When will the new iMac be available?
The new iMac was announced on 4 August 2020, via a press release rather than an event. This is often Apple’s tacit signal that a launch falls into the B rather than A class of megahype.
(Of potential slight interest to fans of leaks: Jon Prosser regained much of the cred that he lost with the iPhone OS thing by tweeting that the iMac was about to drop moments before it did. Well done, Jon.)
The new 27in iMac is available to preorder right away. It will ship to customers, and appear in shops, “starting this week”, Apple says. Looking at the stores right now, the UK is offering to deliver all three base configurations this Thursday (6 August), while the US and Australian stores both say they’ll deliver within one business day, which we assume means 5 August. These estimates are likely to slip as demand grows.
If you are wondering whether to buy the new iMac we have this article that might help: Should I buy the new iMac?
The new iMac now starts at £1,799 / $1,799 / AU$2,799 – which is a price increase for those of us in the UK for whom the 27in iMac used to start at £1,749.
As usual the iMac is available in a range of starting configurations and with various build-to-order options. Here are the base configs for the updated 27in iMac:
- 3.1GHz 10th-gen, 6-core: £1,799 / $1,799 / AU$2,799
- 3.3GHz 10th-gen, 6-core: £1,999 / $1,999 / AU$3,099
- 3.8GHz 10th-gen, 8-core: £2,299 / $2,299 / AU$3,549
On top of this, you can spend £500 / $500 / AU$750 to upgrade to Nano-texture glass on the display, and anywhere from £200 / $200 / AU$300 (16GB) to £2,600 / $2,600 / AU$3,900 (128GB) to add additional RAM.
You can opt for a 3.6GHz 10-core i9 at an additional cost starting at £400 / $500 / AU$600 (this is only available with the second and third configs, not the cheapest one). There are also further options to upgrade the Ethernet speed, or bundle accessories or software.
The 21.5in iMac has also seen its price increase in the UK despite only having a minor update (a move from hard drives to SSDs). Those models are now priced as follows:
- 2.3GHz 7th-gen, dual-core: £1,099 / $1,099 / AU$1,699 (was £1,049)
- 3.6GHz 8th-gen, quad-core: £1,299 / $1,299 / AU$1,999 (was £1,249)
- 3.0GHz 8th-gen, 6-core: £1,499 / $1,499 / AU$2,299 (was £1,449)
If you are wondering whether to buy this iMac you might want to read this: Should I buy an Intel iMac.
The headline story, as much as we saw it coming, is the word Intel appearing at the top of the specs list. All three base configurations come with a 10th-gen Intel i5 or i7. Apple Silicon must wait.
Let’s expand a little on those configurations:
- 10th-gen 3.1GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, Radeon Pro 5300 (4GB)
- 10th-gen 3.3GHz 6-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Radeon Pro 5300 (4GB)
- 10th-gen 3.8GHz 8-Core Intel Core i7, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD, Radeon Pro 5500 XT (8GB)
All three configurations feature two Thunderbolt 3 ports and a 5K (5120×2880) True Tone display.
The 21.5in iMacs now ship with SSDs as standard – something we have been calling for for some time. We wrote about why Apple should ditch the iMac with hard drive here. However, that is all that has changed in these iMacs, which still ship with a 7th-generation dual-core chip at the entry-level, and 8th-generation chips for the mid-range iMacs.
Comparing the 2019 and 2020 spec lists
How do the specs compare with the previous model?
Apple boasts that the new models are faster. The starting RAM allocation is the same (8GB) but the maximum capacity on offer (128GB) is twice what it was last year.
The entry-level 27in iMac used to have comparable specs to the top-of-the-range 21.5in model, but now it is leagues above that: the 21.5in model tops out at 3.0GHz 8th-gen, 6-core, compared to the 3.1GHz 10th-gen, 6-core processor in the new 27in model.
There is now an option to max the 27in iMac out with a 10-core option, thanks to the 10th generation processor options.
You should also see improved performance thanks to the inclusion of SSDs as standard. In the 2019 range SSDs were an upgrade, with Fusion Drives the default.
Looking outside computing performance, the 2020 iMac gets a number of less obvious peripheral upgrades. The FaceTime camera is now 1080p, up from the 720p ‘FaceTime HD’ we were stuck with last time – an update that is bound to be popular. Unfortunately the 21.5in models did not see the same FaceTime camera update.
Apple also boasts that the speakers are higher-fidelity and the microphones are studio-quality.
The new iMac looks exactly the same as the old one: our wait for a redesigned iMac goes on. That model may have a 23in screen.
This design does still look very attractive, but it may be time to shake things up.
What about the smaller iMac?
This was left almost to a footnote in Apple’s press release, but the 21.5in iMac, and the iMac Pro, for that matter, have both been updated too.
The iMac 21.5in now comes with SSDs as standard across the range (with the option to pick a Fusion Drive instead) while the entry-level iMac Pro gets a bump to a 10-core Intel Xeon processor.