Despite rumors that the iMac 2020 would be announced during WWDC 2020, no new Macs were unveiled during the online conference keynote. But we did get some early glimpses of new Mac hardware to come, as Apple announced Apple Silicon, the long awaited move toward Apple-designed processors in Mac laptops and desktops.
The iconic all-in-one computer is due for an update, and several iMac-related leaks and rumors point toward a new take on the Apple all-in-one being unveiled later this year, and even going on sale before 2020 comes to a close.
After seeing the iMac show up on our best all-in-one computer list for several years running, we're thrilled at the possibility of a new model with an updated look. Apple's iMac is one of the most recognizable all-in-one computers in the world, but after six years of the same slim unibody design, the iMac is due for a new design.
Even the relatively minor color change on the 2018 Apple iMac Pro was refreshing, and that was just a change from the silver of bare aluminum to a darker space gray. If Apple wants to shake things up, we'll need to see a new visual identity for the iMac.
Here's everything we know about the iMac 2020.
iMac 2020 release date
Without a formal announcement at WWDC, it's up in the air as to whether we'll see a new iMac model available for purchase before the year is out. However, looking over the calendar of past Apple announcements, there are often events held in the fall that would provide a prime opportunity to announce a new iMac model.
And, given the level of certainty around many of the rumors that said a new iMac would be shown at WWDC, it's very possible that Apple has an almost-ready product it's saving to launch on the day of such an announcement.
If Apple introduces a new iMac desktop this year, it's likely that we'll see the new models come available in fall or closer to the end of the year. The past two major Mac launches – the iMac Pro and the Mac Pro – were announced months before the actual retail availability, and both products launched in December.
We'll keep watching out for new rumors and news in the coming months, so you'll have a clear idea of what's coming up.
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iMac 2020 price
The most recent update to these models was in March 2019, when the iMac got a hardware update to newer Intel processors, faster memory and new GPU options. These changes were announced after a two-year stretch without updates. If there is no redesign announced, we expect the current models to continue selling through the end of the year, with no change in price.
New models, however, could significantly change both the screen size options and the price. The latest rumor suggests that a 23-inch model is coming in 2020. Apple rarely shies away from raising prices, especially when it can point to new technologies and design elements to justify a higher price tag.
iMac 2020 redesign
Rumors have swirled around the possibility of a new iMac design, and frankly, a change to the 12-year-old exterior of the iMac would be welcome.
According to Sonny Dickson (via MacRumors), Apple will eventually be announcing a new iMac that borrows heavily from the iPad Pro, sporting thinner bezels, and packed with new hardware, like the upcoming AMD Navi GPU. It will also be the first iMac in years that doesn't have a Fusion drive, Apple's proprietary approach to hybrid HDD/SSD storage. Instead, the new iMac is rumored to use all Flash storage.
Less exotic-looking redesigns have also been rumored, with the iMac keeping the L-shaped stand and getting much slimmer bezels and less of a chin. Renders from iFinder on Twitter show us what that Apple’s next all-in-one machine might look like with a more conventional design update.
Though hypothetical, this new look would draw more from the current designs of the iPad Pro 2020 and the Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor, sporting narrower bezels to better highlight the improved display.
And a recently uncovered Apple patent gives us a hint of where things might go in the near future. In a patent titled “Electronic Device with Glass Housing Member” Apple designers Keith Hendren, Paul Wang, Adam Garelli, Brett Degner, Christiaan Ligtenberg, and Dinesh Mathew describe a single unit that combines display, components and even the keyboard into a single swooping glass surface, which takes the all-in-one computer concept to sci-fi-like lengths.
The patent design puts the display and keyboard into a single curved panel that rises up from the desk like an exaggerated ski-jump curve, with a wedge-shaped supporting base in the back that houses the guts of the computer. The keyboard would be flanked by dual trackpads, and the top portion of the all-in-one would be nothing but the sleek, no-doubt-stellar display. The patent even includes a variant design that serves as a docking station for a MacBook laptop.
Since the patent was found, designers have tried their hand at rendering the next-gen iMac. The first, the iMac as imagined by Jermaine Smit, is a glossy black glass pane that looks like something out of a J.J. Abrams Star Trek movie.
The other, a rendering of the iMac by Yanko Design, borrows several design cues from the recent Mac Pro desktop, adding the "Cheesegrater" ventilation grille to the rear stand, and giving the iMac concept a glossy black look that would be right at home in any Apple Store.
Since all of this is based on a patent that may never translate into a real product, these sketches and renders are pure speculation, but the very idea of new iMac design has us excited. And the idea of a 2020 iMac that pushes computer design forward the way the iMac has in the past is especially appealing in a desktop category that feels increasingly stale.
iMac 2020 with new Apple Silicon hardware?
What has been confirmed by Apple is that the entire Mac lineup – from the smallest MacBook to the Mac Pro desktop – will be shifting to new processing hardware, utilizing Apple Silicon.
Apple has been looking to decouple from Intel for years, and today's announcement of Apple Silicon indicates that the split is beginning now, with plans to transition fully to Apple-designed processor hardware by 2022. It's the most significant change in Mac Architecture since the transition to Intel back in 2005 – and it signals a major shift in the PC ecosystem that has long been dominated by Intel, but has recently faced bigger challenges from competitors like AMD.
During WWDC 2020, Apple showed off the capabilities of Apple's own ARM-based technology, bringing the same level of hardware control seen on iPhone and iPad to MaBooks and iMac.
Using Mac desktops powered by the A12Z Bionic processor, Apple demonstrated several processor-intensive capabilities, showing off apps like Maya and Final Cut Pro running on the new hardware. Using tools that are so often used on Mac desktops leaves little doubt that ARM-based iMac and Mac Pro desktops are on the way in the near future.
Benefits to using the new chips go beyond the financial, however, as Apple touted the features of the new architecture: Higher performance and efficiency in general processing, faster graphics processing, advanced power management, accelerated machine learning and AI-driven performance with Apple's Neural Engine. It was an avalanche of jargon and terms, but Apple's demos and stated plans make it clear that the company is all-in on using its own ARM-based processors.
Included in the WWDC announcement was an outline of new developer tools, like X-Code and Universal 2, which will speed up the transition to the new architecture by offering speedy recompiling to make existing apps ARM-compatible, and a new version of binary that will work on both Intel and Mac processing hardware.
Is Apple getting into gaming? Maybe so.
The other intriguing rumor that has us sitting up and taking notice is the possibility of an Apple gaming PC.
During the WWDC 2020 keynote, Apple also demonstrated gaming on the new ARM hardware, showing Shadow of the Tomb Raider running on the the A12Z Bionic processor. While rumors of a gaming-oriented Apple PC may not hold as much water as they used to, the idea of a gaming-capable Mac or iMac is very much a possibility.
This move also wouldn't be unprecedented, as Apple has made more recent forays into gaming with the introduction of Apple Arcade in 2019, a monthly subscription platform for iOS, Mac and Apple TV. With this new service, Apple has formed relationships with AAA developers, like Sega, Ubisoft, Warner Bros, and Capcom. It's entirely likely that the groundwork is already laid to launch a gaming-oriented desktop or laptop with exclusive offerings, creating a whole new front on the Mac vs. PC debate.