24-inch iMac to skip the M2 and jump straight to an M3 as Apple focuses on a 2023 ‘iMac Pro’
Apple’s recently announced MacBook Pro M2 and MacBook Air M2 may be the only Macs to feature the base M2 chip, with some sources saying the company is already gearing up for next spring’s M3 lineup.
While Apple’s Mac mini could still get the M2 treatment, it’s been suggested it’ll jump straight to an M2 Pro instead, consolidating the lineup and finally allowing Apple to phase out the Intel version. Whether an entry-level M2 model will accompany this remains to be seen, but reports are quite mixed on Apple’s plans for the tiny Mac.
Chances are we won’t see an update to Apple’s 24-inch iMac this year. By all reports, last year’s M1-powered iMac is still selling well, so the company may not have a huge incentive to replace it. Still, that would be somewhat ironic given the recent release of the M2-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro – a relatively small upgrade over its 2020 M1 predecessor.
Last week, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman revealed that Apple already has its M3 Macs in development, including “a new iMac named J433”. That means it’s likely that Apple has decided to skip an iMac M2 for this year and jump straight to the M3 next year.
Apple’s new in-house Mac chips led some to believe that the company would simply update every system year after year, but that was probably an unrealistic assumption. Granted, there’s no reason to think that Apple would change its Mac release cycle just because it now produces its own chips. It will launch new products when it makes most sense, not just because it wants to fit every generation of Apple Silicon into every Mac.
If anything, this gives Apple After control of its product roadmap. When the company relied on Intel chips, it was at the mercy of Intel’s release cycle. With its internal chips, Apple decides when it makes the most sense to release new Macs with each of its M-series chips.
The future of the iMac
In his To light up newsletter, Gurman recently hinted at another reason why Apple might delay the next-generation 24-inch iMac: It’s still working on a more powerful “iMac Pro.”
Even if the latest wave of high-end iMac rumors turned out to be false – sources were likely mistaking the Apple Studio Display for an iMac – that doesn’t mean Apple isn’t working on it. It’s just further than expected.
After the launch of the Mac Studio and Apple Studio Display, Apple discontinued the 27-inch iMac, saying it was gone for good. Apple’s exact phrase was “the 27-inch iMac has reached the end of its life.”
However, the specificity of this statement leaves a lot of leeway for Apple to announce another big-screen iMac. “The 27-inch iMac” doesn’t rule out a 30-inch iMac, or even a 27-inch “iMac Pro,” and multiple reports suggest that Apple is working on something for 2023, possibly coming out with a new Apple Silicon Mac Pro.
Gurman added weight to that on the iMac side, suggesting it would be a desktop equivalent of Apple’s high-end 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro line. As it’s not due until next year, it would feature an M3 Pro/Max configuration and would be aimed at users looking for an all-in-one Mac who “want more screen real estate” .
I also still believe that Apple is working on a larger screen iMac aimed at the professional market. I imagine this will use a variant of the M3 chip, probably an M3 Pro and an M3 Max. This would match the chips inside the MacBook Pro. I don’t think the combination of a Mac Studio or Mac mini and an Apple Studio display is enough for many business users who want more screen.Marc Gurman
One thing that seems certain is that Apple’s M-series chip timeline is much more aggressive than many expected. While many expected the M2 chip to be announced at last month’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple surprised us by having new MacBooks ready to go. It’s fair to say we’ll see a repeat of this with next year’s M3, so the big question is which products will get the M2 Pro/Max/Ultra by then.
[The information provided in this article has NOT been confirmed by Apple and may be speculation. Provided details may not be factual. Take all rumors, tech or otherwise, with a grain of salt.]
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