The iMac is long due a redesign and, according to people familiar with Apple’s plans, 2021 could be its year.
This month, Bloomberg reported that Apple is planning to redesign the iMac for the first time since 2012 as part of its transition to the company’s Arm-based Apple Silicon processors.
According to Bloomberg’s source, Apple will slim down the black borders around the edges of the screen and get rid of the metal chin completely, leaving the computer with a display more akin to the Pro Display XDR monitor.
Apple will also reportedly replace the curved rear of the current iMac with a flat back, again giving the display a more modern look.
There are two versions rumoured to be in the works. The computers have been given the codenames J456 and J457 and are expected to replace the existing 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs later this year.
Read on to discover everything else we know about the iMac 2021 so far, including the price, release date and our own wish list for the computer. Be sure to bookmark this page too as we update it as more news rolls in.
iMac 2021 price – how much will it cost?
Apple has yet to release any pricing details for the iMac 2021, but we expect it to be in line with the company’s 2020 range. Apple didn’t raise the price for the MacBook Air M1, so we’re hopeful the company won’t charge more for an Apple Silicon-powered iMac.
The current 21.5-inch iMac can cost between $1099/£1099/€1299 and $1499/£1499/€1699, depending on which processor you get. Meanwhile, prices for last year’s 27-inch iMac start at $1799/£1799/€2099 and can go as high as $2299/£2299/€2599.
iMac 2021 release date – when will it launch?
It’s still early days for iMac 2021 rumours, so we don’t yet know when Apple will announce the desktop.
Apple last updated its 27-inch model in August 2020. Before that, the 21.5-inch and 27-inch versions were both given a refresh in March 2019. If Apple follows this trend, we’d expect to see a new iMac in spring or summer 2021, but as of right now the launch date is tough to predict.
Everything we want to see from the iMac 2021
With rumours still thin on the ground for the iMac 2021, we’ve decided to make a list of features we’d like to see on Apple’s next all-in-one desktop PC. We’ve included upgrades that are very likely to arrive, as well as more hopeful wishes that are unlikely to come true. Check them out below:
One of the biggest upgrades we hope to see with the iMac 2021 is a transition to the company’s own Apple Silicon processors.
Apple officially unveiled the M1 chip, along with the devices it would power, at its One More Thing event in November. So far, the MacBook Air, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Mac mini have been given the Apple Silicon treatment, so we’re hoping that the iMac could be next in line.
The perks of Arm architecture include better power and thermal efficiency, as well as a longer battery life. Apple claims the M1 in particular offers 3.5x faster CPU performance, 6x faster GPU performance and 15x faster machine learning when compared with the Intel chips found in previous Macs. The potential iMac 2021 Apple Silicon processor is expected to be even more powerful, and we can’t wait to see it in action.
Another obvious improvement we’d like to see is a smaller bezel around the screen.
Apple unveiled the Pro Display XDR in 2019, offering us a peek at what the future of its displays could look like. While the wide strip at the bottom of the iMac allows the company to show off its iconic logo, the combination of this and the rather chunky black bezel surrounding the display give the iMac a slightly outdated look.
An edge-to-edge display, or even a slim bezel like that on the Pro Display XDR, would do a lot in terms of modernising the iMac’s design, while also potentially freeing up desk space.
While some companies allow you to upgrade your hardware yourself after you purchase a computer, Apple is notorious for making this difficult.
It’s possible to upgrade iMac components such as the CPU, GPU, RAM and storage after purchase, but you run the risk of invalidating your warranty by fiddling with the computer yourself. By making it so difficult to upgrade, most people will buy an entirely new iMac instead of upgrading the individual components.
We’d love to see Apple adopt a similar approach to the Dell OptiPlex 7070 Ultra, with a modular design allowing you to easily swap in new internals. Unfortunately, we don’t see Apple going down this route, especially with the move to Apple Silicon, but that won’t stop us hoping.
iMacs are well-loved by creators, which is why we’d love to see Apple introduce a touchscreen model this year.
Microsoft’s Surface Studio 2 showcases the benefits of such a design, allowing users to doodle and scribble directly onto the screen. This is arguably the Studio’s greatest strength over the iMac, so it would make a lot of sense for Apple to embrace touchsreen technology.
That said, we’re not overly optimistic on this one. While Apple does own a patent for a touchscreen iMac, the company has repeatedly shot down the idea. In 2016, VP of marketing Phil Schiller called a touchscreen iMac “absurd” after years of testing the idea in the hopes of making it work.
A recent trend we’ve seen in high-end displays has been rotating screens (the Samsung Sero, anyone?). Lenovo launched the Yoga AIO 7 at CES this year and it certainly caught our eye. The all-in-one desktop PC features a rotating display, allowing its user to view content in horizontal or vertical simply by turning the screen.
Situations where this could come in handy include browsing, viewing PDFs, editing documents and watching vertical videos. Just imagine editing your next TikTok video on a 27-inch display. Okay, it’s definitely not the most necessary new feature, but it’s one we’ve been seeing pop up recently and there are bound to be some users who will appreciate the ability to turn their display vertical at a moment’s notice.
With Apple Silicon potentially allowing the iMac to make use of iOS apps, a rotating screen would even allow the desktop PC to use software that was originally designed to work on vertical screens. Again, such a feature probably won’t come to fruition on iMacs anytime soon, but we’re certainly not ruling it out.
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