When Apple killed the iMac Pro, we thought it was the end of the road for the high-end all-in-one computer. Still, when the iMac got a complete overhaul earlier this year, Apple only revealed the smaller 24-inch version. That left a very obvious question unanswered: What about the pro-grade iMac to replace the current 27-inch iMac?
Apple may decide to leave the iMac Pro dead and buried and instead offer a more powerful all-in-one under the usual iMac brand. But considering Apple’s other product lines, it makes sense to offer an iMac Pro that outperforms the 24-inch iMac. Whatever the name, here’s everything we know about the next pro-level iMac.
Price and release date
Apple has been coy about when the top-of-the-line iMac hits shelves, but we can make inferences based on other product news and rumors. On the one hand, we know that Apple delayed the larger model to prepare the 24-inch iMac for its April 2021 launch date. While we don’t know how far the larger model was, put it waiting like this has undoubtedly hampered its development and production.
Now that the updated MacBook Pro 14 and updated MacBook Pro 16 laptops have been released, this potentially allows Apple to focus on the iMac Pro again. There was no time for anything else to launch in 2021, but a spring 2022 launch date for the iMac Pro is not out of the question.
As for the price, we think it depends on what form the high-end iMac takes. If this is just a larger version of the current 24-inch iMac, a starting price of $ 1,799 (the current cost of the 27-inch iMac) would be expected. If it’s a true successor to the iMac Pro, however, don’t be surprised if it hovers somewhere around the $ 4,999 Apple was charging for that device.
Design: Bright colors or muted tones?
When Apple redesigned the iMac in April 2021, it brought back the classic and colorful look of the iMac G3 from 1998. The new iMac comes equipped with a range of vibrant colors, from pinks and yellows to yellows. the blues, giving it a playful vibe that Apple hopes will make it down-to-earth and accessible, just like its G3 inspiration.
Will the top-of-the-line iMac get the same treatment? As with the price, it probably depends on how Apple positions it. If it brings back the nomenclature of the iMac Pro, we would consider it unlikely. Apple Pro devices are typically available in muted “professional” colors like gray and silver. A professional grade machine dressed in hot pink or yellow tones would likely be out of place.
However, if Apple ditch the Pro moniker and make the larger iMac a variant of the 24in model, we might see the colors stick together. It would just be an extension of the existing model, so it would make sense to maintain the continuity of the colors. However, given some of the other developments, especially related to performance (detailed below), we think the iMac Pro name is more likely – and so the vibrant colors are probably a no-starter.
A colorful outlook wasn’t the only makeover the iMac got in April – it’s been drastically thinner, too. Will that slim design stay with the iMac Pro? We think there is a good chance. Now that Apple has switched to Apple Silicon chips, it has started to assemble everything – CPU, GPU, memory – into a single system-on-a-chip (SoC) unit. Considering the efficiency of Apple Silicon chips and how little space the SoC will take up compared to a system using discrete GPU and memory modules, the iMac may not need to be hardened to accommodate it. ‘to welcome.
Bet on Apple Silicon
Still, the shape of the iMac Pro depends a lot on the chip that powers it. The 24-inch iMac looked like the first Mac designed around the benefits of Apple Silicon, but that doesn’t mean its high-end sibling will go the same.
We know Apple is working on monstrous 32-core chips, but we think this is likely related to the upcoming Mac Pro. Instead, rumors are circulating that the iMac Pro will get a hybrid chip called the M1 Max Duo that combines two M1 Max chips into one monster. This rumor comes from YouTuber Max Tech, who thinks there are various clues abound that Apple is heading in that direction. For example, the current M1 Max chip slightly underperforms the high-end Intel i9 in the current 27-inch iMac. If Apple were to equip the next iMac Pro with the M1 Max, it would actually be a downgrade in terms of performance – not good for a professional machine. If the M1 Max Duo becomes a reality, it could offer 20 CPU cores, 64 GPU cores, and up to 128GB of memory, making it by far the most powerful Apple Silicon chip on the market.
If that happens, it means Apple will forgo a discrete graphics card in the iMac Pro, just like in the MacBook Pro 16. Instead, Apple probably thinks its Apple Silicon chip will be enough to meet graphics needs. of most users. What we’ll see, however, is a decent cooling system to keep everything running optimally. Again, the MacBook Pro 16 is the clue here. If its M1 Max chip needs to be actively cooled, you can bet the house a chip that houses of them M1 Maxes will need a beefy cooling system.
If Apple doesn’t go as high-end, it could update the M1 to its next generation (dubbed M1X or M2). The references of this chip have apparently leaked, setting it at 12 processor cores (up from four in the M1), although we have to see if they turn out to be real.
There is another possibility: Apple could stick with the Intel chips a bit longer. This would give professional application developers more time to port their products to the Apple Silicon architecture. If that happens, Apple will surely need a big chassis for the iMac Pro to house the cooling system and the discrete GPU which will almost certainly be included. Still, given the slated 2022 release date – and Apple’s commitment to a two-year transition to Apple Silicon chips from 2020 – that prospect seems unlikely.
An XDR display seems likely
The current iMac is 24 inches in diameter, compared to the 21.5-inch model it replaced. This increased size came from Apple which reduced the bezels around the edge of the screen. You can still buy a version with a 27-inch screen, but it’s almost certain that it will get the same treatment as its 21.5-inch counterpart and its screen size will be increased a notch. Our money is on something in the 30 to 32 inch range. Alternatively, Apple could stick with a 27-inch display but reduce the size of the chassis that contains it by reducing the bezels.
If we get an amplified screen size, we can also expect a higher screen resolution. The 24-inch iMac comes with an impressive 4.5K resolution, while the current 27-inch iMac sits at 5K instead. As with the screen size, we expect the resolution to increase, again, because that’s exactly what happened to the smaller iMac, which went from 4K to 4.5K. Apple’s Pro Display XDR (the monitor designed for the Mac Pro) has a resolution of 6K, so we think that’s what Apple will target for the high-end iMac or iMac Pro.
But to truly earn the name “Pro”, the larger iMac will need a display that clearly differentiates it from the 24-inch iMac, and a higher resolution might not be enough. To boost the increased pixel count, we wouldn’t be surprised if Apple put its mini-LED XDR brand name on the line like it did for the latest iPad Pro. This brings huge peak contrast ratio and brightness, along with key technologies like True Tone, P3 color gamut, and HDR support. That would really set the iMac Pro apart.
Everything else that we expect to see
Touch ID has been around on Macs for years, but it didn’t arrive on the iMac’s Magic Keyboard until April 2021 as part of the $ 1,499 mid-range offering. This makes it a dead certificate for the iMac Pro or high-end iMac when it first releases, making it quick to log in and verify purchases with the touch of a finger.
Alternatively, Apple could replace Touch ID with something even better: Face ID. We know the company is working on adding this secure connection technology to the Mac due to a handful of patents – the only question is if it’s good. Given the chaos the coronavirus has caused in the industry, Face ID may not be quite ready, but our fingers are crossed. With the release date slated for 2022, that might be just enough time for Apple to make it a reality, and reliable journalist Mark Gurman agrees, predicting it could happen as early as next year.
Finally, iMac fans will have been encouraged to see the 2021 MacBook Pro benefit from a wider variety of ports, including the return of the HDMI slot and SD card reader. Given the demanding business audience of the iMac Pro – and the variety of peripherals and devices they use – the next high-end iMac is likely to have many more ports than just the USB-C slots on offer. on the current entry-level iMac. With that in mind, newer MacBook Pro models might offer a preview of the ports offered on the iMac Pro.
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