HomeLifestyleThe next iMac: 27-inch display with ‘4,000 mini-LEDs’ could arrive at WWDC
The next iMac: 27-inch display with ‘4,000 mini-LEDs’ could arrive at WWDC
The 24-inch iMac brought a new design and a faster chip to Apple’s all-in-one machine, but we’re still waiting for its bigger, faster sibling to replace the current Intel-based 27-inch iMac. Here’s everything we’ve heard about the new machine that should arrive later this year.
2022 iMac: The latest rumors
February 14: Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants reports that the iMac will have “around 1,000 zones and over 4,000 miniLEDs.”
February 6: In his PowerOn newsletter, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman stated that “several new Macs” will be revealed at WWDC22 in June.
January 31: Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports that the iMac will “similar chips to the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors” and “a similar design to the current M1 iMac.”
January 24: Twitter leaker dylandkt tweets that the iMac Pro will have a 12-core Apple processor.
2022 iMac: Sizes, design, and colors
In January, Bloomberg reported that Apple planned on replacing both the Intel-based 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs with new machines that feature a new design and Apple’s M1 system on a chip (SoC). Apple introduced the first Apple silicon-based redesigned all-in-one with the 24-inch iMac with a new design that shortens the chin, trims the bezels, and shrinks the enclosure down to an impressive 11.5 millimeters. Recent rumors say the new iMac will have “dark bezels” in contrast to the 24-inch model’s white trim.
The larger iMac will reportedly use the same design as the 24-inch iMac, and early speculation suggested that it could house a display as large as 32 inches. The current 27-inch iMac measures 25.6 inches wide, 20.3 inches tall, and 8 inches deep, and while Apple’s new design helps make the 24-inch iMac smaller than the 21.5-inch iMac it replaced, there isn’t that much of a difference in size (21.5 inches x 18.1 inches x 5.8 inches (with the stand) vs 20.8 inches x 17.7 inches x 6.9 inches).
A new larger iMac could have a similar footprint to the 27-inch Intel iMac. However, more recent rumors have suggested that the new iMac will stick with its 27-inch display with “a similar design to the current M1 iMac.”
Apple offers the 24-inch iMac in several different color choices, but there haven’t been reports on what color choices Apple will use for the larger iMac. The larger iMac is considered to be a “pro”-level iMac, and to create a differentiation between the consumer and pro levels, Apple may decide on different color choices like the iPhone Pro, or stick with the traditional silver like that on the 27-inch iMac or space gray like on the discontinued iMac Pro.
2022 iMac: Display
To get an idea of what we could expect with the display in the larger iMac, let’s look at what’s being used in the current iMac lineup, as well as the Pro Display XDR and Liquid Retina XDR in the MacBook Pro.
24-inch iMac: 4.5K Retina display (4480-by-2520 resolution) 500 nits brightness, wide color (P3), True Tone technology
27-inch iMac and iMac Pro: 5K Retina display (5120‑by‑2880 resolution), 500 nits brightness, wide color (P3), True Tone
Liquid Retina XDR: 2K/3K Retina display, 1,600 nits peak brightness, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, wide color (P3), True Tone
Pro Display XDR: 6K Retina display (6016-by-3384 resolution), 1,000 nits (XDR) or 500 nits (SDR) brightness, wide color (P3), True Tone
The upcoming larger iMac will have smaller bezels than the 27-inch iMac and iMac Pro, which could help the display reach a higher pixel density without having to make the display much bigger. A rumor by Ross Young in October and a follow-up report in December claims that Apple will bring a Liquid Retina XDR display with “around 1,000 zones and over 4,000 mini-LEDs” to the iMac. That would be fewer than the 10,000 mini-LEDs in the iPad and the 8,000 mini-LEDs in the MacBook Pro, though it would likely be visually indistinguishable due to the size and viewing distance.
The 27-inch iMac comes with standard glass on the front of the display, but for $300, Apple offers a nano-texture glass that provides a matte-like finish and does a good job of cutting down glare. Apple will probably continue to offer this with the new larger iMac. As you can see above, it dramatically cuts down on the gloss and glare.
2022 iMac: Apple silicon
The 24-inch iMac fits in Apple’s consumer product lineup, and it’s outfitted with the M1, the same SoC that’s in Apple’s other consumer Macs. The larger iMac, however, is part of Apple’s professional Mac line and will have a faster SoC. Apple introduced the new M1 Pro and M1 Max for the MacBook Pro, and it’s likely that Apple will use those same chips in the next iMac.
The iMac’s slim profile is similar to the MacBook Pro, which means the M1 Pro and M1 Max chips will work well. In benchmarks, the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors are significantly faster than the M1 iMacs and offer a nice speed boost over the current Intel model.
Gurman reported in January that the iMac Pro would have “similar chips to the M1 Pro and M1 Max processors inside of the MacBook Pro.” Furthermore, Twitter leaker dylandkt tweeted that the iMac Pro will have a 12-core Apple processor. Dylandkt doesn’t provide details on how those 12 cores are allocated, but since it’s a pro Mac, we can use the M1 Max’s core configuration (10 total cores; eight performance and two efficiency) as a guide. We could see a 12-core iMac Pro with 10 performance cores and two efficiency cores.
2022 iMac: Ports and expansion
The 24-inch iMac comes with two USB 3 ports, two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and a headphone jack. After Apple launched the MacBook Pro with HDMI and an SDXC card slot, rumors suggest the iMac to follow suit. The thin enclosure could be an issue, but Apple solved that issue on the 24-inch model by putting the headphone jack on the side. Apple could position the SD slot similarly to avoid making the iMac thicker. We doubt that Apple will keep USB-A ports around, however.
For the $1,499 and $1,699 24-inch iMac, Apple placed the ethernet port in the power adapter brick. The same power adapter is likely to be used for the larger iMac as well.
2022 iMac: Other features
The 24-inch iMac and new MacBook Pro have improved FaceTime cameras that use the M1’s ISP to provide better image quality. That same FaceTime camera implementation is expected for the larger iMac as well. A November leak suggested that it is possible that the camera could support Face ID, since True Depth references were spotted in macOS Big Sur, though the MacBook Pro doesn’t support Face ID despite having a wide notch. If it doesn’t have Face ID, it will likely have Touch ID built into the keyboard like the 24-inch iMac.
The current 27-inch iMac has RAM slots that are user-accessible. With Apple silicon, RAM is built into the SoC, and if Apple also insists on maintaining the thinness of the iMac, there’s a good chance that the RAM will not be user upgradable. However, Apple introduced options up to 64GB with the M1 Pro on the MacBook Pro, so we doubt memory will be an issue for pro users.
2022 iMac: Price and release date
According to Bloomberg, the larger iMac was “paused” so that Apple could get the 24-inch iMac out. No ship date for the larger iMac has been set, with the latest rumor from dylandkt on Twitter claiming a spring 2022 launch with a possibility of a September ship date due to production concerns. However, Ross Young says panel shipments might not arrive until summer, which could mean a June launch at WWDC or a later fall release.
As for the price, it will likely fall in line with the pricing of the current 27-inch iMac, which starts at $1,799 since Apple kept similar pricing to the 21.5-inch iMac when it launched the 24-inch model. Dylandkt also says the price will start “at or over $2000,” which is in line with Apple’s price increase for the higher-end MacBook Pro.
Roman has covered technology since the early 1990s. His career started at MacUser, and he’s worked for MacAddict, Mac|Life, and TechTV.