iMac 2021 launch looks imminent as Apple kills two configurations

iMac Pro discontinued
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The iMac 2021 could be here sooner than you think. When Apple discontinues products, it’s a sign of one of two things: either the product is no longer popular and headed for the scrapheap, or the company recognizes that it’s due a refresh and stops building stock in preparation for the next version.

For the iMac, it feels that option two is the more likely, and MacRumors has spotted that Apple has reduced the number of available configurations on the 21.5-inch version. The 512GB and 1TB SSD configurations of the hardware are no longer available, leaving buyers the less appealing choice of either a 256GB SSD or the 1TB Fusion Drive SSD/HDD hybrid. 

The 21.5-inch iMac is getting a little long in the tooth, given it was last refreshed in 2019, but it remains a popular line. While the original HomePod was cut because the HomePod mini proved more popular, and the iMac Pro ultimately reached end of life because it was caught between two markets, it would be a surprise if the 21.5-inch iMac wasn’t replaced – and sooner, rather than later.

Rumors of a 2021 iMac redesign have been circling for some time, with the promise of a bold new look inspired by the Apple Pro Display XDR, featuring a flat back, reduced borders and the removal of the metal chin. If that sounds a bit austere for your liking, the rumor is that Apple will be offering the hardware in a number of more playful colors, in something of a throwback to the colorful iMac G3 range. 

iMac 2021 leak

(Image credit: Front Page Tech)

Of course, the expected changes aren’t only skin deep, and the real star of the show will likely be the switch away from Intel processors and towards the company’s own Apple Silicon. The Apple M1 chip powering the recent MacBook Pro M1, MacBook Air M1 and Mac mini M1i hardware has seriously impressed reviewers with its performance and low energy consumption, and the rumor is that the iMac will get the same upgrade, even if there are Intel configurations still available for those that rely on legacy software compatibility. 

Just last week, a crash report generated in DaftCloud pointed to the existence of an ARM-based iMac, so it does seem that some hardware configurations are currently being tested – but that doesn’t mean we’re just looking at an iMac with the M1 chip from the first-generation Apple Silicon Macs. According to a Bloomberg report from December, Apple is testing a chip design with “as many as 32 high-performance cores” to ensure that it can cater to all performance requirements.

Given the 21.5-inch iMac sits as a more entry-level Apple desktop with a price to match, it’s possible that the new version will come with something less ambitious powering things. But as it looks like Apple is winding down production of current-gen iMac models, hopefully we’ll find out for sure soon enough. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.

  • whizbang_flashbang
    admin said:
    Apple has discontinued the smallest iMac in 512GB and 1TB SSD configurations, possibly pointing to an upcoming refresh.

    iMac 2021 launch looks imminent as Apple kills two configurations : Read more
    I am anxious to see a serious review and study of how the new chip handles existing software, written and compiled for the Intel platform. I have heard that the single core M1 has worked well using the 'Rosetta Stone' translator, (I know nothing at all of this system). It seems though, that it might play a part in the acceptance of a new Apple OS, if it works really well.
  • FreemanW
    The first sentence of the article . . . The iMac 2021 could be hear sooner than you think." . . . . unless you're not using Siri, then it will simply be H E R E.

    Is the War On Public Education really over? Does anyone proof read anything any more? Fact check? Research?