The iMac I’ve reviewed over the last few years has one common complaint in everyone: after maintaining the same general look for the past decade, the iMac seems old and outdated.
Yes, now is the time for iMac to make a big difference, and it looks like we are finally on the road to change. In this episode of Back to Mac I will discuss this interesting development.
New iMac 2020 Refresh Incoming
With the modern design of the iFac, iPad, MacBooks and Pro Display XDRs, the current design of the iMac has long since become obsolete, and recent rumors suggest that Apple is finally going to do something about it.
Recent events suggest that a new 27-inch iMac replacement is just around the corner. For example, the 27-inch iMac supplied in Apple stores was largely unavailable, and among other things a new Mac model identifier was added to the EC database.
But it’s a recent leaked Sony Dixon tweet that really made people talk about the upcoming iMac refresh. Dixon says we’ll see Apple’s refresh during the main event of the WWDC on June 22nd.
New iMac Incoming at WWDC. IPad Pro design language with bezel-like pro display. T2 chip, AMD navel GPU, and no more fusion drives
– Sony Dixon (@SonDixon) June 9, 2020
Video: Back to Mac 018 – IMAC 2020 Refresh!
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The biggest change in the upcoming 2020 iMac refresh will have to be made in the language of design. More precisely, the iMac will eventually lose the huge bezels around the display and eventually get rid of the aluminum chin, or at least significantly reduce the chin.
Dixon specifically calls the iPad Pro design language, including the Pro Display XDR-Esco bezel. After all, the Pro display looks like a bloated iPad Pro when looking at the display head-on. This leads me to believe that not only will the bezels be reduced, but it may also suggest a single lack of a perfectly metal chin. It would be a welcome addition from a design standpoint and instantly makes the 2020 iMac look much more modern.
Of course, there are still many question marks to be addressed during Apple’s WWDC keynote on the design of this new iMac.
- How will they pack in the interior ingredients and keep it cool?
- How thin will the new iMac be?
- Which screen will it come in?
- How will it look next to the Pro Display XDR?
- What will the stand look like?
And here are some questions for me …
I can see very well that Apple is going back to the non-tapped iMac design of the Yatiria while reducing the bezels and eliminating the chin. This gives the machine extra added thickness to accommodate the necessary internal components while giving the front part of the machine a much needed facelift.
This design is understandable to me, because who cares how often IMACT just sits at your desk? Weight is not the same as MacBook. It’s possible that we’ve already seen what the front of the new i-Mac will look like on the Pro Display XDR.
Of course, don’t expect iMac’s display features to be as beautiful as the Display 6000 (with stand) Pro Display XDR, but the original design principles could essentially translate into Apple’s popular all-around.
Back in April, rumors were rife about the 23-inch iMac, and I think the idea of a reduced bezel came out well. Apple currently produces iMacs with 21.5-inch and 227-inch displays, and can easily increase the size of each without increasing the footprint or reducing the iMac’s footprint at the same time.
If Apple raises the entry-level iMac on a 23-inch display, the 27-inch iMac will probably explode on larger displays as well, perhaps somewhere in the 30-inch ballpark. For the record, the Pro Display XDR supports a 32-inch 6K display. If the new 2020 iMac can’t sit side by side with the Pro Display XDR, wouldn’t it be cool?
T2 protection chip Ch
Standard iMacs are the only Mac computers that lack Apple’s T2 security chip. The T2 chip is an ARM processor that handles protection among many other hats it wears.
For example, it has an integrated system management controller, an image signal processor (ISP), and an SSD controller.
Adding a T2 protection chip is a forgotten conclusion for any big iMac refresh. Who knows, maybe we’ll finally see Face ID appear on top of the Mac? The T2 chip makes this possible and the iMac is the ideal candidate for Face ID in its always available camera.
AMD Navel GPU
All of the iMacs that Apple sells, including the Dedicated GPU, include old AMD graphics with Polaris architecture. If the rumor is true that the new iMacs will feature GPUs with AMD’s navel-based architecture, it will significantly improve graphics across the board.
However, the improvement I’m most expecting is in the case of customer 10-bit HIVC encoding, which makes it even better to work with 10-bit video on the Final Cut Pro X. Up Upcoming cameras such as Canon’s EOS R5 8K 4: 2 with internal : 2 10-bit H.265 (HEVC) encoding will benefit greatly from a navel-based GPU inside the new i-Mac. Built-in HEVC encoding can save users a lot of time just exporting videos from Final Cut Pro X
No more fusion drives!
It’s ridiculous that Apple still drives the Max with mechanical hard drives in 2020, but the iMac lineup has both a frustrating hybrid fusion drive and even a super slow standard mechanical 5400 rpm drive. With the 2020 iMac refresh, it looks like mechanical drives, especially fusion drives, will eventually be put to rest.
Although fusion drives combine several speed aspects of solid state storage with mechanical storage concentration to provide a great “bang for the buck”, they are a compromise and can quickly show their flaws when tested.
Apple’s SSD storage has been slowly coming down in price over the years, and is now available in high capacity up to 8TB. It has surpassed enough, but I’m glad Apple is finally using such old technology.
What about memory upgrades?
One of the best things about the 5K iMac, and why I still consider it one of the best values in the whole Mac lineup, is that its RAM can be easily upgraded. In fact, Apple has even included an access door for memory upgrades and published tutorials on how to perform such upgrades.
I always recommend turning off RAM upgrades during the build-to-order configuration as it costs a lot of money for Apple-supplied RAM. Instead, you can buy much cheaper RAM from Amazon and install it yourself, saving hundreds of processes.
But this new iMac, and by its sensible smooth design I suspect that simple RAM upgradability will remain as a holdover, for example, the iMac Pro, which required many different internal layouts to dissipate heat, easily removes the access door. While it is possible to upgrade RAM to an iMac Pro, such an upgrade needs to be performed by an Apple Authorization Service professional.
What about I / O?
For several generations, the 27-inch iMac has been bundled with the following I / O options:
- Ports in 4x USB
- 2 x USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 ports
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port
- 1 x SD card slot
- 3.5mm headphone input
I don’t even imagine much change with this layout, although I hope Apple will provide users with an extra Thunderbolt 3 bus and two additional Thunderbolt 3 ports like you will find on Mac mini, iMac Pro and higher level models like MacBook Pro. For a desktop Mac, two buses must have four Thunderbolt 3 ports.
What about iMac Pro?
The iMac Pro has received minor upgrades since its first debut, but has not seen any major internal or external upgrades since the machine first appeared in 2017. The presence of a new baseline iMac with a new display and refreshed design will make the iMac Pro look even older. I suspect that we will see an IMAX Pro upgrade based on this newly designed language much later than the introduction of the new Baseline IMAX.
My most-wanted wildcard feature
If I don’t see any potential features that are interested in coming to these new i-Mac 2020 models, it’s a return to target display mode. It was an element that appeared on older hardware that allowed i-Mac to be used as an external display for other Mac computers. For example, you can use your iMac as a display for your MacBook Pro via a Thunderbolt connection.
After the high-resolution 5K iMac came into view, Apple removed the target display mode and it has not been seen since. I was shocked if the target display mode ever came back, a newly designed iMac with a slim bezel is a suitable host machine for such useful features.
Whenever Apple discovers the Thunderbolt display, users look forward to a genuine replacement of the Apple Build quality feature at an affordable price. LG’s Ultrafine 5K display has served as a de-facto replacement for the Thunderbolt display, but from a build quality standpoint, it’s a disappointment.
It’s not often that Apple refreshes its desktop computers, so I hope they hit the design outside the park considering that they’ll probably be wandering around for many years.
While there is a general idea of what we can expect from the upcoming iMac 2020 refresh announcement, there are still plenty of unanswered questions. I can’t wait until Monday to find out more.
What do you think about the upcoming 2020 IMAC? Do you find the details of the leaked design interesting? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.
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