Is an Apple iMac 2020 on the way? The iconic all-in-one computer is due for an update, and with a rumored Apple event on March 31st, and several iMac-related leaks and rumors bubbling up in recent weeks, it looks like the iconic iMac might be getting a makeover.
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 you've got to admit, that 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, and the latest rumors suggest some radical changes are on the way.
iMac 2020 release date
Apple hasn't made any formal announcements about a new iMac, but the company will often discuss desktop products during major launch events, with iMac-related news coming alongside announcements of iPhones, iPads and MacBooks. While it's still only rumor, the next Apple event is expected to be held on March 31st.
If Apple introduces a new iMac desktop during this event, it's likely that we'll see the new models come available toward 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.
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 – almost definitely moving toward larger displays – and the price. 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
Apple's last update to the iMac was in 2019, with hardware updates that boosted the processing and video power of the Apple iMac 21.5-inch 4K and Apple iMac 27-inch 5K Retina, but left the looks unchanged. While the iMac has a colorful history (literally), stretching back to the Bondi Blue iMac G3 in 1998, the current slim unibody design is pretty much exactly what it's been since 2012, when the slimmer, tapered design made minor updates to the aluminum design that was introduced in 2007.
The last significant change was 2018's Apple iMac Pro, which adopted a darker anodized finish. But aside from the space grey color palette, it also boasted some dramatically more powerful hardware than the average iMac to fill the workstation gap while the finishing touches were made to the new Mac Pro desktop. In fact, the 2018 iMac Pro is so powerful, that comparing the Mac Pro vs. iMac Pro, at some price points it's a better option for creatives that need a basic workstation for media and content creation.
The Apple iMac constitutes a billion-dollar business for Apple, so there's no reason to think that the iMac is going away. And with the bold new look introduced on the Mac Pro, like a reimagining of the "cheesegrater" ventilation grills and an elegantly engineered monitor and stand, it's no stretch to think that Apple might want to adopt some of these design elements in its post popular desktop computer.
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.
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. Reports of Chinese supply chain moves suggest that Apple may be prepping a high-end gaming desktop, set to sell for $5,000.
While this would be a huge departure from past Apple offerings, the Mac maker is one of the few major manufacturers without any sort of dedicated gaming hardware. As such, game makers usually develop games for Windows, with Mac OS options coming as an afterthought, if at all.
That said, a move into gaming wouldn't be unprecedented, as Apple launched 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.
It's also not that far fetched from a hardware perspective. The 2018 Apple iMac Pro boasted serious processing chops and potent video hardware, with Intel Xeon processors and AMD Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics cards for workstation-grade applications. Retooling those same designs for consumer gaming hardware wouldn't be difficult.
Even more gaming-oriented option might be the Apple Mac Pro desktop, which has an upgradeable design and can accommodate up to two dual-GPU AMD Radeon Pro Vega II Duo graphics cards.
Both the Apple iMac Pro and the Mac Pro desktop start at around the $5,000 mark (base configurations begin at $4,999 and $5,999, respectively) making the possibility of this rumor being correct all the more likely.
Will this rumored game system overlap with the radical redesign of the Apple iMac that is suggested in recent patents and renders? Only time will tell.