Have We Seen the Last of the 27-inch iMac?
Immediately after Apple's "Peek performance" event on Tuesday in which it unveiled the Mac Studio and 27-inch Studio Display, Apple quietly discontinued the Intel-powered 27-inch iMac. This left some observers wondering whether we'll see a new larger iMac sooner or later, or if the existing 24-inch iMac is as big and as powerful as it gets for the foreseeable future.
After unveiling the Mac Studio and Studio Display at Apple's spring event, John Ternus, SVP of hardware engineering, said that the Mac lineup's transition to Apple silicon was nearly complete, "with just one more product to go: Mac Pro."
The comment was interpreted by some to suggest that Apple sees the Mac Studio and Studio Display as natural replacements for the 27-inch iMac. Indeed, in conversations with MacRumors, Apple has suggested that existing 27-inch iMac owners looking to upgrade should consider its separately offered Studio products, while the 24-inch iMac is available for those still seeking an all-in-one experience.
And in what could be read as another nail in the coffin for Apple's 27-inch iMac, Apple also reportedly confirmed to Ars Technica this week that the machine has "reached end of life."
Despite these developments, not everyone has given up hope that Apple will unveil a larger iMac in future, though perhaps not as soon as rumors previously suggested. Over the past few months, persistent rumors from multiple sources have suggested that Apple is readying a bigger all-in-one desktop Mac.
Well-respected display analyst Ross Young last month said that an iMac Pro would launch as early as summer 2022. However, after Apple's reveal of the Mac Studio and 27-inch Studio Display on March 8, Young no longer believes that to be the case. Young explained that his sources were not aware of the separation between the iMac, Mac Studio, and Studio Display, which had added confusion to Apple's exact plans before this week's spring event.
The confusion apparently stemmed from the fact that the Studio Display features a webcam and built-in Apple silicon, making it appear in supply chains to be an iMac when it's not. Young now believes earlier rumors about an iMac Pro launching in June weren't referencing an actual iMac, but instead a Pro version of the Studio Display. Young now speculates that the 27-inch mini-LED panel Apple has in production could be a Studio Display Pro set to arrive in June, along with Apple's new Mac Pro.
Young's latest comments appear to corroborate information shared by Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who this week said that an "iMac Pro" would not launch until 2023. Well-connected Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman this week also reiterated his expectation that an iMac Pro is still in the works.
FYI: Still expecting an iMac Pro, for those wondering. M2 versions of the Mac mini, MacBook Pro 13-inch and 24-inch iMac are also in development. — Mark Gurman (@markgurman) March 8, 2022
Rumors suggest a refreshed larger-screened iMac could be similar in design to the 24-inch iMac, the Pro Display XDR, and the Studio Display. It's said to feature black bezels, and if it does indeed look similar to the Pro Display XDR, bezel size could be much slimmer and it could perhaps have less of a bottom chin, while being offered in darker shades than the colors of the 24-inch iMac.
As for what could power a new all-in-one under the hood, Apple could opt to use the same M1 Pro and M1 Max chips that were introduced in the MacBook Pro, and Apple could perhaps also introduce one additional higher-end configuration for the machine.
Whether or not the 27-inch iMac rumors turn out to be accurate, users who can't wait that long and want a top-of-the-line, large-screened Mac have the option of pairing a $1,999 Mac Studio with a $1,599 Studio Display, although doing so will cost around twice as much as the cheapest 27-inch iMacs did.