New iMac rumors: Apple Silicon M3, largest model ever, and more

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited July 2023

Apple's iMac has a number of changes coming soon, including a shift to the M3 Apple Silicon chip and maybe the biggest model ever. Here are all the rumors about what Apple is said to be planning for the venerable iMac.

The rear of the 24-inch iMac.
The rear of the 24-inch iMac.



The 24-inch iMac is the outlier in Apple's Mac lineup, in that it is the only one that's stuck in the M1 generation of Apple Silicon. It's a product that hasn't had any significant updates since its introduction in May 2021.

Languishing behind the rest of the catalog has made it a prime target for rumors, with claims about the desktop-bound Mac's future covering both what could arrive within the following months, and further into the future.

Here is a compilation of the most likely, believable, or prominent rumors concerning the iMac family.

24-inch shifts to M3



The 24-inch iMac wasn't included as part of the M2 generational shift, with all other products in the catalog getting M2-equipped variants. As the outlier, the 24-inch iMac is now the only one in the range stuck using M1.

While Apple could launch an M2 iMac at any time and make logical sense, there are claims that it will instead skip the M2 generation entirely, and be one of the earliest M3 devices.

Rumors of an M2 24-inch iMac go back to February 2022 at least, with speculation from Bloomberg's Mark Gurman expecting Apple to include an M2 model to match the rest of the range. Over a year later, that prediction has so far failed to come true.

A mere two months later, Gurman started offering that there was an M3 iMac on the way.

24-inch iMac
24-inch iMac



By February 2023, Gurman wrote about the skipping of the M2 generation by the model, claiming "I haven't seen anything to indicate there will be a new iMac until the M3 chip generation." He went on to say that a launch wouldn't occur until near the end of 2023 at the earliest, or early 2024.

In March 2023, Gurman went on to claim it had reached engineering validation testing, a late stage in development which involves product testing. However, mass manufacturing was reckoned to start at least three months later, putting a launch in the second half of 2023 at the earliest.

By July, Gurman wrote about the possibility of an October launch for new Macs, with an M3 iMac among the lineup.

Sadly, the rumors about the iMac have centered around the M3 itself, and not other components or parts. This could be because there are not any expected major changes to the design, especially since its appearance is still in its first generation.

Big iMac



While an updated 24-inch iMac would be nice, some users may feel that the display isn't big enough. While Apple did discontinue the 27-inch iMac, there's still hope that Apple could revive the bigger screen in some way.

Early rumors had Apple coming up with a renewal of a 27-inch iMac in early 2022, which ultimately didn't ship. Expectations included the use of mini LED backlighting and a 120Hz ProMotion display.

If Apple does come out with a bigger iMac, it may not necessarily stick to 27 inches. Indeed, some early 2021 rumors pointed to Apple going with a much bigger display.

An example of what a larger-screened iMac could look like
An example of what a larger-screened iMac could look like



As of mid-2023, the general consensus is that the display will be about 30 inches in size, with 32 inches also a possible candidate. Features like ProMotion and mini LED backlighting have also persisted.

Some dubious roadmaps have also surfaced, proclaiming Apple could go even bigger. One from April 2023 declared a 32-inch mini LED model could ship at some point, but then be followed up by a 42-inch variant in 2027.

On a more realistic level, July had Gurman discuss the larger new iMac. But while Apple was still experimenting with larger sizes, it was so early in the development process that things like size and style could still change.

It was doubted that a big-screen model would ship anytime in the near future and that a late 2024 appearance was expected. In a later newsletter, Gurman doubled down on his late 2024 prediction.

Other rumors about the new iMac include a shrinking of the bezels to accommodate the larger screen, a color selection depending on whether Apple includes a consumer-friendly non-Pro and non-Max chip in it or not, and a possible 6K resolution.

The use of an M3 chip is expected, with the possibility of M3 Pro and M3 Max variants being on the cards if Apple errs towards a more professional device. Lastly, there are also murmurs of an additional SD card slot on the side, or HDMI for adding a second monitor.

iMac Pro, eventually?



The discussion of larger-screened iMacs wouldn't be complete without mention of the iMac Pro, a long-discontinued model that has appeared occasionally in rumors.

The problem here is that, while the iMac Pro was a separate line to the iMac, the rumors about a revived iMac Pro are fairly muddy. In the same breath as larger iMacs, the iMac Pro has been mentioned on occasion, and some may consider that the larger-screened iMac actually is the iMac Pro.

There are a few rumors from 2021 and early 2022 that mention the iMac Pro, but by January 2023, it was deemed to be a surprise if an iMac Pro shipped the same year.

More potential iMac renders
More potential iMac renders



It is plausible that Apple could bring out the larger-screened iMac as the iMac Pro, reframing the suffix to mean size in this case, but it could genuinely mean differences in performance too.

As alluded in the previous section, it's plausible for Apple to stick a Pro or Max-level M3 into whatever the larger-screened iMac is, to boost other specifications, and give it a Pro-style color. With enough changes, Apple could deem it as sufficiently different from the consumer-oriented big-screen iMac and revive the product line fully.

Since rumors in 2023 have been relatively scarce, the probability of an iMac Pro revival is fairly low. There's still a chance it could happen in 2023, or early 2024, but it's quite remote at this stage.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 14
    SNJOpsSNJOps Posts: 3member
    I love to see a new 27 inch or bigger iMac Pro. The Mac Studio is out of my budget:
    9secondkox2williamlondonmacike
  • Reply 2 of 14
    thedbathedba Posts: 758member
    SNJOps said:
    I love to see a new 27 inch or bigger iMac Pro. The Mac Studio is out of my budget:
    The iMac Pro base model cost $4999.
    Today's Mac Studio base model costs $1999, throw in a 27" Studio display for $1599 = $3598. Add to that Keyboard and mouse and track pad and you are still under the "starts at" price of the old iMac Pro.  And we still haven't adjusted prices for inflation. 
    forgot username9secondkox2williamlondondewmeStrangeDayskillroybaconstangappleinsideruser
  • Reply 3 of 14
    The 27” iMac was a great machine. Main problem is that every CPU upgrade means tossing a very good monitor. 
    9secondkox2williamlondonappleinsideruser
  • Reply 4 of 14
    thedbathedba Posts: 758member
    The 27” iMac was a great machine. Main problem is that every CPU upgrade means tossing a very good monitor. 
    That's the very nature of all in ones and laptops. 
    9secondkox2williamlondonkillroybaconstangmacike
  • Reply 5 of 14
    9secondkox29secondkox2 Posts: 2,565member
    The 27” iMac was a great machine. Main problem is that every CPU upgrade means tossing a very good monitor. 
    The lifespan of the iMac means that by the time you replace the computer, you’d have sprung for a new monitor anyway.

    it’s a non- issue. 

    And those who really want to keep the computer in its own footprint and the monitor in another… can. You have the Mac mini, Mac Studio, or Mac Pro to choose from. Good times. 

    As for me, nothing compares to a blazing fast, large screened iMac. 
    StrangeDayskillroybaconstangmacike
  • Reply 6 of 14
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 12,786member
    The 27” iMac was a great machine. Main problem is that every CPU upgrade means tossing a very good monitor. 
    Such is the price of AIO convenience…i love having my iMac on a VESA arm hovering over my desk, self-contained. By the time I replaced my 2011 the monitor was outdated anyway. Have a 2019 now that is still doing fine. When I do wish to upgrade, I’ll just give it to someone and it will continue to over value. I got my money’s worth so don’t bemoan the loss of a display. 
    baconstang9secondkox2
  • Reply 7 of 14
    A new iMac with an even larger screen would be very nice here. Bring it on!
    9secondkox2
  • Reply 8 of 14
    An M3Pro in a 30” iMac would be so sweet. 
    baconstang9secondkox2macike
  • Reply 9 of 14
    baconstangbaconstang Posts: 1,090member
    The 27” iMac was a great machine. Main problem is that every CPU upgrade means tossing a very good monitor. 
    That's why you pretty much max out your iMac when you buy one.  I'm still using my late 2015, but looking to move it down the line.
    My 2008 24" is my jukebox these days.  With an optical drive and wireless remote, it's a perfect fit, and still performs the job.

    Still hoping for a 30" 5K5 screen with a Max chip...
    appleinsiderusermacike
  • Reply 10 of 14
    I think the big iMac IS the iMac Pro. No longer specify the size of iMac. Just iMac or iMac Pro.
    9secondkox2
  • Reply 11 of 14
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,673member
    I think the big iMac IS the iMac Pro. No longer specify the size of iMac. Just iMac or iMac Pro.

    Bingo!

    Larger iMac will come with M3 Pro/Max. 

    SNJOps said:
    I love to see a new 27 inch or bigger iMac Pro. The Mac Studio is out of my budget:

     Will probably start at $1999 for the M3 Pro and $2999 for M3 Max.
  • Reply 12 of 14
    I think if they build the larger iMac, it will be 5760x3240 at 218ppi, without ProMotion or Mini LED. I think Apple marketing will call that "Retina 5.5K" to parallel the existing 24" Retina 4.5K. The PPI calculator gives 30" (30.315" to be exact) to get 218ppi for that resolution (4.5x 720p; 3x 1080p). So that's a given, in my book.

    On the SoC, I think the niche occupied by the 13" M2 MacBook Pro is instructive, along with the M2 Mac Mini. The M2 is perfectly capable of handling the above display, plus one external display. So it will be the base, with M2 Pro as an option in both the 24" and the 30" -- I don't see the M2 Max appearing in a machine that doesn't have a ProMotion or XDR display built-in.

    Maybe it will all wait for M3, I don't know. But it would be a long wait for the M3 Pro, June 2024 at the very earliest.
    edited July 2023 macike
  • Reply 13 of 14
    danoxdanox Posts: 2,684member
    thedba said:
    The 27” iMac was a great machine. Main problem is that every CPU upgrade means tossing a very good monitor. 
    That's the very nature of all in ones and laptops. 
    That’s what Target Display Mode (used in iMac’s) made by Apple was for once upon a time, and is a feature that Apple should have never gotten rid of, and this is where the reviewers of Mac products should be castrating/holding Apple (Tim Cook) to the fire. The tech dates back to as early as 2009 iMac’s so there really is no tech excuse for Apple.

    https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/389348/what-are-the-requirements-to-use-imac-screen-as-a-second-monitor-target-displa
    edited July 2023 muthuk_vanalingamtenthousandthings
  • Reply 14 of 14
    danox said:
    thedba said:
    The 27” iMac was a great machine. Main problem is that every CPU upgrade means tossing a very good monitor. 
    That's the very nature of all in ones and laptops. 
    That’s what Target Display Mode (used in iMac’s) made by Apple was for once upon a time, and is a feature that Apple should have never gotten rid of, and this is where the reviewers of Mac products should be castrating/holding Apple (Tim Cook) to the fire. The tech dates back to as early as 2009 iMac’s so there really is no tech excuse for Apple.

    https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/389348/what-are-the-requirements-to-use-imac-screen-as-a-second-monitor-target-displa
    My understanding is that it was the 5K iMac that killed it. Target Display Mode itself was based on the DisplayPort specification. The root problem was that Thunderbolt 2 and DisplayPort 1.2 don't support 5K resolution. When Thunderbolt 3 failed to support DisplayPort 1.3 (an Intel fuck-up, it reverted to DisplayPort 1.2 at the last minute), the later 5K iMac refreshes also couldn't do it. So Apple relegated it to the past at that point.

    The good news is that Thunderbolt 4 supports DisplayPort 1.4. I'd guess it's likely to come back as a future Apple-silicon-only feature, for the 24" iMac and any 30" variant to come, if at all. It could maybe also be extended back to Thunderbolt 3 Intel iMacs, if they engineer it using Thunderbolt instead of DisplayPort. I don't think it was a philosophical problem, but rather a technical problem, that killed it before.
    edited July 2023
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