The anticipation for the iMac (2021) is palpable. The new iMac lineup is certain to transition to Apple silicon, likely making the 27-inch iMac (2020) the last Apple desktop to use Intel-based processors. According to the rumor mill, it’s possible we could see a screen size change in the larger of the two standard models, as well as a possible design change. In fact, it’s rumored that the new iMac could launch at Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ event on April 20th.
While the smaller 21.5-inch iMac (2019) didn’t see a refresh in 2020, the 27-inch iMac did. The updated larger model got a remarkably sizable update, including SSDs for all the configurations, 10th-gen Intel Comet Lake processors, incredibly speedy AMD Radeon Pro graphics cards, and up to 128GB of RAM.
Additionally, Apple included studio-quality microphones and a 1080p FaceTime HD webcam. For those willing to make the extra (and large) investment, the 27-inch iMac (2020) could be equipped with a nano-texture glass finish on the display. This is the same glass finish introduced on the Pro Display XDR monitor that prevents reflection and glare on the screen, regardless of light conditions.
With all the rumors abound and a possible launch fast approaching, we could see a new design to the iMac (2021), not to mention multiple color options – the first time since the iMac G3. We’ve collected all the rumors, as well as a potential release date, here to help you keep up to date on what to expect with this year’s iMac lineup.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The 10th generation iMac
- When is it out? Q2 or Q3 of 2021 most likely
- What will it cost? Unknown, but likely similar to current pricing
iMac (2021) release date and price
In mid-2020, Apple first announced plans to move its entire Mac lineup away from Intel over the coming years. The first of the Apple silicon-based computers arrived last fall, including the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020), and Mac mini (M1, 2020). In 2021, besides next-generation iMacs, Apple’s likely to launch a second-generation 16-inch MacBook Pro, all-new 14-inch MacBook Pro, and other Apple silicon-based Mac models.
This year’s iMacs were largely expected to not arrive until late in the year. However, two events on the ground suggest their arrival could now be imminent.
Recently discovered code in a macOS Big Sur beta suggests at least two iMac (2021) are coming soon, the ‘iMac 21,1’ and ‘iMac 21,2’, code named J456 and J457, respectively. Additionally, in March, Apple began removing some existing iMac models from the market.
We now know that Apple’s next event is scheduled for Tuesday, April 20. Though the online-only “Spring Loaded” event is expected to focus on next-generation tablets (including the new iPad Pro) and the long-rumored Apple Airtags, new iMacs could also be announced.
If not now, the new computers could arrive around the time of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), which begins on June 7.
When they arrive, the iMac (2021) models should be priced similarly to the current versions. The entry-level Retina 21.5-inch model starts at $1,299, while the 27-inch version begins at $1,799.
iMac (2021) design and colors
Although the 2021 MacBooks are perhaps the most anticipated new Macs of the year, the new iMac (2021) models will also garner a great deal of attention.
In January, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported this year’s iMac lineup would feature the first design change in nearly a decade. The slimmed-down new models could feature a design that’s similar to Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor.
In another change, the iMac (2021) could become the first Apple desktops available in multiple colors since the iMac G3. According to Apple leaker Jon Prosser, the same five colors found on the iPad Air (2020) could be incoming for this year’s iMac, including silver, space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue. There’s been no word on whether Apple will resurrect the iconic “Bondi blue”, however.
iMac (2021) leaks and rumors
Beyond the anticipated design change and color choices for the iMac (2021), at least one of this year’s models could come with mini-LED, a new display technology that many consider better than OLED.
As Rene Ritchie explained to iMore in September 2021:
“Basically, it uses like 10,000 tiny, 200 micron LEDs, grouped into local dimming zones, so it can get closer to those deep, inky blacks, giving it contrast ratios similar to OLED, but without the burn-in, off-axis color shifts, and white point changes that just stack up on OLED.
It also might allow for adaptive refresh rates — what Apple calls ProMotion on the iPad Pro. That’s what lets the display ramp up to 120Hz for silky smooth scrolling and brain-bending gaming, but it can also ramp way down to 48Hz, even 24Hz for things like accurately presenting 24 frames-per-second content in Final Cut Pro and TV+.”
Turning inside, the iMac (2021) is likely to feature a so-called M1X CPU that offers a performance boost from last year’s M1 SoC that’s found on the MacBook Air (M1, 2020), 13-inch MacBook Pro (M1, 2020), and Mac mini (M1, 2020). This SoC could offer a 12-core CPU and 16-core GPU compared to the 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU in the M1.
Beyond this, Face ID could arrive on the iMac for the first time. And like previous iMacs, the new models will almost certainly offer plenty of ports, including USB-C with Thunderbolt 3 support.
What’s not yet known about the iMac (2021) models is the display sizes. Apple may have decided to stick with the current sizes of 21.5- and 27-inches. And yet, some rumors have suggested an all-new 24-inch model could arrive in 2021 alongside a 30-inch model.
Another unknown is what will become of the 27-inch iMac (2020). It’s possible the desktop all-in-one, which was just released in August, could stick around even with the arrival of two new iMac models. It could also go the same way as the iMac Pro and be discontinued.