Apple’s Mac reinvention looks set to crank into high-gear in 2021, with new reports suggesting a huge change to the iMac is imminent along with Mac Pro and display news. The Cupertino company promised in mid-2020 that, over the course of two years, it would completely transition its Mac computer line-up to use its own Apple Silicon chipsets, shifting away from Intel processors.
The first step in that process came at the tail-end of last year, with the debut of the Apple M1-powered MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. All three used variations on the same iPad Pro processor-derived chipset, and to good advantage, with reviews praising multimedia performance and finding the systems could in many cases keep up with Intel-powered Macs easily twice the price or more.
What those three new models didn’t do, however, was change the aesthetic. Indeed, aside from a couple of minor alterations, you’d struggle to identify at first glance which of the two notebooks and one desktop were Intel-based, and which used Apple’s new chips. According to new rumors today, however, that design evolution is about to land.
First off, new 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro models were rumored. These would see a return to MagSafe magnetic charging, it was reported, and the disappearance of the controversial Touch Bar touchscreen strip. It would also see Apple use a new design language for the pro-focused notebooks, and add more ports than USB-C.
Now, there’s even more hardware detail leaking. Apple is readying a new, Apple Silicon powered iMac, Bloomberg reports, with sources saying it will be the biggest shift away from the current Mac range design so far. Two versions – internally codenamed J456 and J457, to replace the 21.5- and 27-inch iMac models currently on sale – are believed to be in development.
Both would have slimmer black bezels around the display, it’s said, and a much reduced lower bezel compared to the current iMac. The rear of the all-in-one would be flat, too, rather than bowed like the existing model. Apple is said to be taking inspiration from the Pro Display XDR, its $5,000 professional-level monitor, for the new iMac’s aesthetic.
Not one, but two Apple Silicon Mac Pro are coming
It’s not only the iMac which is getting a revamp. Apple is also working on two new Mac Pro models, targeting the power users that are willing to dig deep for the most potent macOS machines in the company’s line-up.
One will be a direct successor to the current, Intel-powered Mac Pro, it’s reported. It will stick with the existing tower aesthetic with its 3D vents, but potentially replace the old processors with Apple’s homegrown chipsets. According to Bloomberg, Apple is considering sticking with Intel for this update, though that would likely only be a stopgap measure until later in the two year transition period.
Arguably more exciting is a “Mac Pro mini” style version. That would be under half the size of the current Mac Pro, and offer a combination of affordable power to those who want higher performance but not quite the potency – or price tag – of the full computer. It will have a mostly aluminum design, with insiders saying Apple may borrow some cues from the Power Mac G4 Cube, prized still for its style even if it was only on sale for a short period.
Finally, there’s chatter of a new display, which could potentially pair with the new Mac Pro mini or, for that matter, the Mac mini. A cheaper version of the Pro Display XDR, it would undercut the sky-high price tag in return for lesser specifications, trimming brightness and contrast ratio among potentially other things. Still, it could address a lingering request among Mac users – both of desktop and notebook machines – for an Apple-branded monitor that was more affordable.