On 8 March 2022 Apple made an exciting announcement for creative pros – it announced two new products, the Mac Studio and Studio Display, designed especially for them.
But the company also removed the 27in iMac from the line up. As of 8 March 2022 the only way you can buy the larger iMac is via a third party who still has stock, or from Apple’s Refurbished Store. The 27in iMac is no more.
This is despite rumours that Apple was planning to launch a new larger iMac, with a number of leakers and experts claiming that Apple was going to launch a iMac (Pro) or a Pro iMac. Read:
Is Apple launching a new iMac Pro?
In this article we will look into whether Apple will introduce a new iMac Pro in place of the old 27in iMac, or if the 27in iMac is gone for good.
If you are on the market for a new iMac read our
iMac deals round up. You may also want to read:
Should I buy a 27in iMac now?
Will there be a new 27in iMac?
In the run up to
Apple’s Spring Event on 8 March 2022 there was some expectation that the company could be preparing to launch a new iMac: The 27in iMac was last updated in August 2020; it was one of the last remaining Macs still using an Intel processor; various rumours had pointed to an update happening soon; and two Mac desktops and one Mac laptop had been registered with the EEC (Eurasian Economic Commission).
The time looked ripe for an update, but instead Apple didn’t just not update the iMac – it removed it from sale!
Understandably most people have taken the fact that the 27in iMac is no longer on sale to be a clear indication that Apple has retired the larger iMac. And yet there was lots of evidence that Apple is planing to launch a new version of the larger iMac which can’t be ignored.
For example, in his
newsletter on 23 January 2022, Bloomberg Mark Gurman indicated that there is a possibility that the 27in iMac could make an appearance at Apple’s Spring Event. He said: “I’d imagine Apple wants to bring the M1 Pro chip to another Mac in the first half of this year”.
Leaker @dylandkt claimed in a tweet on 23 January 2022 that a new iMac Pro is on track to make an appearance in the spring, possibly at Apple’s spring event, although he indicates that there are “concerns with regards to production”. Let’s hope these concerns haven’t lead Apple to call it quits on the larger iMac.
DigiTimes on 22 December 2021, suppliers have already started shipments of the 27in iMac in “small volume”.
There is a possibility that the new Studio Display, which is a 27in display, is what was being detected here.
Alternatively rather than the Studio Display the product being referred to could be a new iMac Pro rather than an update to the 27in iMac.
report from analyst Ross Young in December 2021 suggested that a new “iMac Pro” could be launched some time in the spring of 2022. Young described a “27in iMac Pro with Mini-LEDs, 120Hz Variable Refresh and Oxide Backplanes: Expected in the spring as Apple brings its ProMotion technology to the iMac.”
However, as of January 2022 Young conceded that there could be a longer wait. Young suggested on 31 January 2022 that suppliers cannot provide the necessary mini LED panels in sufficient quantities for this iMac Pro before June:
However, since Apple released the Mac Studio and Studio Display on 8 March Ross Young has changed his tune somewhat. In a tweet on 10 March he wrote:
New iMac release date
It is possible that we will see Apple launch a replacement for the 27in iMac – perhaps an iMac Pro – in June at WWDC.
In a follow up 14 February 2022 tweet Young indicated that the new iMac Pro could arrive in June.
However, we may have an even longer wait. Analyst Ming-Chi Kyo has tweeted that the Mac Pro (and iMac Pro) could be delayed until 2023.
iMac or iMac Pro?
The name iMac Pro was last used for the professional version of the iMac that Apple launched in December 2017 and discontinued in March 2021.
A tweet from technology leaker Dylandkt in October 2021 described the new iMac as an iMac (Pro):
Then in January 2022 Dylandkt tweeted that “internal naming candidate is iMac Pro for a reason. It is targeted towards pros.”
Even Mark Gurman of Bloomberg believes that it will be known as the iMac Pro. In a 2 January 2022 PowerOn Newsletter, Mark Gruman 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.”
With the successor to the 21.5in iMac arriving in April 2021 with a larger 24in display boasting 4.5K Retina and seven different colours to choose from, it seems likely that the larger iMac will get a similar update with a new selection of colour finishes.
In fact in his 31 July PowerOn newsletter Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman suggested that the iMac Pro will have “a similar design to the current M1 iMac.”
We are hoping that Apple chooses a slightly different colour scheme for the larger iMac compared to the 24in model though. The 24in iMac colour scheme includes the following variegated colours: blue, green, red, silver, orange, yellow and purple that blend from dark on the back to a lighter pastel finish on the front.
Apple could choose a darker finish for the larger pro-focused iMac to distinguish from the consumer level. This would be similar to the way that Apple offered a Space Grey iMac Pro (now discontinued).
Another difference we could see on the larger iMac is a black rather than a white border around the screen. Read
Why we are disappointed in by the new iMac design.
Indeed, in the 30 October 2021 tweet (
above), Apple leaker Dylan does suggest that there will be “dark bezels”.
We could even see reduced bezels giving way to a larger screen (discussed in more detail below). But that is looking more and more unlikely.
Other design changes
Just like with the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro we may see a notch! This could allow Apple to extend the height of the screen as it has with these models.
Any changes to the colour and design are likely to follow the 24in iMac, so our hopes for a further reduction to the size of the ‘chin’ probably won’t be answered. The iMac screen isn’t just surrounded by bezels, it has a giant chin at the base. With all the components squeezed in behind the display it seems a bit unfair to criticise this 2.5in aluminium section as it’s a requirement of the all-in-one design, but with Apple boasting about the amount of room freed up due to all components being located on the M1 it does sound like they could have done more to reduce the size of the chin.
We had also hoped that Apple would adjust the iMac to make it more ergonomically friendly. It is possible that the hinged arm of the 24in iMac will answer the screen positioning challenge we have encountered with the older iMac design.
New iMac screen
There are a couple of major changes we are hoping will come to the new iMac display.
We’d be surprised not to see the same screen tech on the iMac as Apple has added to the 2021 MacBook Pro. The 14in and 16in MacBook Pro boast Liquid Retina XDR displays, with an extreme dynamic range for 1,000 nits brightness and 1,600 nits of peak brightness, as well as a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, thanks to which you should be able to see detail in shadows and enjoy deeper blacks and more vivid colours.
The new 14in and 16in MacBooks also feature ProMotion, as seen in the iPad Pro and the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max. As with those devices, ProMotion allows an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz, which means it can refresh images 120 times a second, but it can also vary the refresh rate to much less than that when it isn’t required, thereby saving battery life.
In a 30 October 2021 tweet (
above) @dylandkt referrs to the new iMac (Pro) as having a backlight mini-LED and the same ProMotion feature found on the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro (and the iPhone 13 Pro and Max, and iPad Pro).
Display analyst Ross Young has also said that the new iMac will use a mini-LED panel with ProMotion for refresh rates up to 120Hz. However, Young has conceeded that the 27in display he has information about may be destined for a larger version of the Studio Display, Apple’s new monitor.
Plus, there is a smidgeon of doubt as to whether the new iMac will get this new display tech: In December 2021 DigiTimes claimed that its sources indicated that the new 27in iMac “will not come with a miniLED display as previously speculated.”
However, a day after that DigiTimes report appeared, Young tweeted that he still believes it will be mini LED.
However, Young has since noted that the supplier of the mini LED panels will not be able to provide sufficient quantities in time for a launch before June 2022.
In a follow up 14 February 2022 tweet Young emphasised that Apple will equip the display with fewer of the individually dimmable zones than in iPad Pro and MacBook Pro – which would make sense for a screen size of 27in and a usually greater distance from the monitor.
Young has also stated that this would be a 27in display, which we have to admit to being disappointed by.
Young tweeted on 20 October 2021 that a 27in mini LED screen is going to be used in an iMac in Q1 2022. He again suggested that the screen will be 27in in December 2021.
We anticipated that Apple would, as it has with so many products, reduce the bezels to allow for a bigger screen (as it did for the 24in iMac). Display technology has evolved in such a way as to accommodate smaller bezels, and smaller bezels is likely to mean an even bigger screen.
However, all the rumours seem to be pointing to a 27in display, which is no larger than the display size is currently.
This is despite our calculations that indicated that the screen size could increase from the current 27in with the size of the iMac only increasing a fraction.
If the new iMac has a larger screen than 27in users would benefit from more pixels. Given that there is now a 4.5K (4,480 x 2,520 pixels) display on the smaller iMac, the 5K display of the 27in iMac does look less impressive despite its 5,120 x 2,880 pixels.
Perhaps the new screen technology will allow Apple to squeeze in more pixels, but the 27in screen also doesn’t compare particularly favourably with many modern displays that are larger than 30in.
27in iMac and the Studio Display
One possibility is that the 27in display being sighted above was actually the new Studio Display.
The Apple Studio Display is 27in monitor with a 5K Retina display, 5,120 x 2,880 pixels. It even includes a 12MP ultawide camera that can be support the Centre Stage feature in FaceTime (but no Face ID support).
The Studio Display starts at £1,499/$1,599. Order one from Apple here or find more details about
Where To Buy Studio Display.
While it’s possible that Apple thinks the market for the 27in iMac will be bset served by the Mac Studio and Studio Display, it seems unlilely that it would abandon its larger iMac as an option for the future.
27in iMac and the Pro Display XDR
Apple also makes a 32in display: the Pro Display XDR. That display offers 6K resolution. We’d like to see Apple equip the new Pro iMac with a similar 32in display.
The new iMac 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.
A quick look at the Pro Display XDR can give us an insight to some of the other features we could gain with the new iMac screen, although we may not see them all.
The Pro Display XDR offers:
- A maximum of 1,600 nits of brightness, 1000 nits brightness (sustained, full screen), 500 nits SDR brightness.
- XDR (Extreme Dynamic Range).
- 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio.
- P3 wide colour gamut, 10-bit colour depth for 1.073 billion colours
- A superwide viewing angle at 89 degrees left, 89 degrees right, 89 degrees up, 89 degrees down.
- Monitor works in both landscape and portrait orientation.
- Standard screen is engineered for low reflectivity, but the optional nano-texture glass surface (which adds $1,000 to the price) etches a matt finish into the glass “at the nanometre level” to scatter light and avoid glare.
We’d also like to see an ultra-wide screen. Ultra-wide displays have become a bit of a thing over the past couple of years, and it might be something that Apple could adopt for the iMac, although it might be something we see for the new Apple display first. We’d love to see an ultra-wide iMac with a 21:9 aspect ratio, compared to the 16:9 aspect ratio currently seen (which is a standard widescreen aspect ratio).
New iMac Specs
The larger iMac is generally designed with the creative pro in mind. It’s tended to feature a more powerful processor and graphics option than the smaller model, and can generally be outfitted with more RAM (128GB) and storage (8TB). There is even a hatch via which a user can access RAM on the back of the iMac display, a usability feature designed with pro-users in mind.
But what can we expect to see in the next generation 27in iMac – or 32in iMac if that’s what it is to become?
The M1 Pro and M2 Max processors are already being used in the
14in MacBook Pro the
16in MacBook Pro and it’s likely that they could make an appearance in a
new Mac mini.
Similarly we’ve seen what the M1 Ultra brings to the Mac Studio and in theory we could see similar improvements in the iMac, although one difficulty could be thermal management, but wouldn’t be the first time Apple has had to manage excess heat in a large iMac – the company redesigned the internals of the iMac Pro for exactly that reason.
So, assuming the M1 Ultra can be supported inside a larger iMac, what can we expect?
We already know what the
M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra bring to Apple’s Macs so we can draw some conclusions about what they could offer iMac users.
Back in October 2021 Apple leaker Dylan claimed that the new iMac (Pro) model offer the same M1 Pro or M1 Max as the 2021 MacBook Pro models, with an additional 12-core option.
Dylan went on to tweet on 23 January 2021:
There is a 10-core CPU (two efficiency and eight performance cores) option for both the M1 Pro and M1 Max (along with a cheaper 8-core version for the M1 Pro).
Dylan suggested that we could see two high efficiency cores and ten high performance cores in a future iMac. The efficiency cores are a lot less necessary for a Mac that will be plugged in all the time after all.
According to a Bloomberg
report in December 2020: “For its next generation chip targeting MacBook Pro and iMac models, Apple is working on designs with as many as 16 power cores and four efficiency cores.” This sounds remarkably like the M1 Ultra which a 20-core CPU which is made up of 16 high performance cores and 4 high efficiency cores.
As with the CPU, we can get some good ideas of what Apple’s GPU offerings in the M1 Pro, M1 Max and M1 Ultra could bring to the iMac.
The M1 Pro offers a 14-core or 16-core GPU (14-cores on the entry-level). Apple claims up to 2x faster GPU performance compared to the M1 for this chip. The company also says the GPU is up to 7x faster than the integrated graphics on the latest 8-core PC laptop chip.
The M1 Max GPU is even better. It offers 32-cores. In that case, Apple claims that the graphics performance is up to 4x faster than M1.
As for the M1 Ultra, which offers a 64-core GPU, Apple has revealed that the M1 Ultra offers 80% faster GPU performance than the Mac Pro with Radeon Pro W69 00X, which is the fastest graphic card on offer for the 2019 Mac Pro.
One of the biggest limitations of the M1 iMacs was the fact that they cannot support more than 16GB RAM. This just isn’t going to cut it for those who need a high-end machine. Luckily this shouldn’t be the case if Apple does update the 27in iMac.
If the M1 Pro and M1 Max are used for the new iMac then it will able to support 64GB RAM. If the M1 Ultra is used it will support 128GB RAM – which is the top limit currently supported by the 27in iMac.
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 currently. 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).
Where the 24in iMac has just two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports on the entry-level and an additional two USB 3 ports on the other models, the larger iMac is likely to have a larger selection of ports. At least that’s what the usual market for this iMac will be hoping for.
Indeed, with the MacBook Pro in 2021 seeing the return of many ports, the iMac looks likely to follow the trend.
As Dylan predicts in his tweet
above: “HDMI, SD Card, USB C”.
The traditional 27in iMac user requires a lot more connectivity than the typical 24in iMac user so there is hope that the SC card slot loved by photographers will make a return to the iMac as it has on the MacBook Pro.
Another thing that is likely to change – as on the 24in iMac it seems likely that the ethernet slot will move to the power brick.
The 24in iMac ships with a colour-matched keyboard with Touch ID, offers improved audio features – including a high-fidelity six-speaker system with force-cancelling woofers, and features an improved 1080p FaceTime HD camera with M1 image signal processor.
It seems likely that the new larger iMac will ship with these same features. But what other new features might we see?
Face ID for iMac
The FaceTime camera seems sure to be updated as it was for the 24in iMac, but could Apple go a step further?
Many would like to see Face ID arrive on the iMac as an easy way to unlock and enter passwords and there is evidence that
Face ID is coming to the Mac – the Big Sur beta contains code that references a TrueDepth camera. This suggests that Apple could be incorporating the TrueDepth camera technology that was introduced on the iPhone into the iMac display.
Mark Gurman writes in the subscriber edition of his
Power On newsletter that he thinks
Apple’s Face ID will come to Mac within a couple of years. Gurman believes Apple’s long-term goal is to provide Face ID on all Apple products.
There were reports in 2021 that
Face ID will come to the iMac in 2022, although it could take even longer than that.
With FaceID we may have to accept that the notch will be a feature of the new iMac as well as the 14in and 16in MacBook Pro.
This is probably a case of wishful thinking, but we think that with the arrival of Apple Silicon processors and the ability to run iOS apps on the Mac it’s high time that Apple
rethought its stance on touchscreen Macs.