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Waiting on the iMac Pro

and for good reason too – the iMac Pro could be next level!

iMac Pro

I have been a Mac man for over a decade now, and for most of that time, I have been a desktop user. I have owned laptops – a very early MacBook Air, and currently I still run a 2019 MacBook Pro. You can actually watch my video on that machine on my YouTube channel, https://youtu.be/G3EVFXz7w-Q. It’s been great and has got me through some pretty major projects. But at the end of the day, I really am a desktop man through and through.

Why the desktop love affair?

Real estate, in a nutshell, that is the main reason. Given the nature of work I find myself doing most days, I need that screen space. When you are working in complicated timelines in Premiere Pro, multitrack Audition sessions or multi-layered Photoshop documents, space is important.

With all the hullabaloo that accompanied last year’s release of the MacBook Pro’s I was sorely tempted, and if I am honest, still am. They come at a whopping cost, but I am sure they’d eat up anything I can throw at them without breaking a sweat. As great as they doubtless are, however, it comes back to working off (an albeit gorgeous) 16” monitor. The last thing I’d want to be doing is handing over yet more of the hard-earned stuff on a Pro Display XDR or an LG 5K Ultrafine monitor.

I’m tempted by last year’s 24” M1 iMac. They represent stunning value at this point, but, I know I’d be buying an old chip. So, the pragmatic option is to wait for this year’s release of the new, large, Pro version of the iMac. Here is what I expect we’ll be getting. It was due for release at the 8th March Spring event. However, according to display and screen analyst Ross Young, there are currently supply chain issues which will see the launch pushed back until at least June and the summer WWDC event.

But when they do get here, what can we expect?

The name?

No one is sure yet, but it would seem likely that Apple will want to differentiate this model in their line-up. The 24” will be remaining simply iMac, and its new, bigger brother will once again bear the iMac Pro moniker. That will be a clear indiction of where Apple are aiming this machine and what kind of users they think will be drawn to it.

Screen and display

This will be the latest iteration of the gorgeous mini-LED, 120Hz refresh rate, Pro Motion, Retina Display that we saw on those 2021 MacBook Pro’s. As yet, the size is awaiting confirmation. Staying with the current 27” seems likely, but rumours abound of an increase to 30” or even 32” (the size of the $5000 Pro Display XDR). It may also have a resolution bump to 6K as well.

I/O’s and ports

This will be lifted straight from the MacBooks with at least three Thunderbolt 4 ports, an HDMI port, SDXC card slot, a MagSafe 3 port and a hi-res 3.5 mm headphone audio jack. I expect the addition of an Ethernet port will be included on these Pro level machines. In general, though, all the dongle-free productivity any professional could wish for.

Design

Likely, it will be very similar to the current 24”. Colours will be dropped in-keeping with the Pro aspirations of this behemoth of a desktop. It’s possible, at launch, they will only be available in the soporific space-grey and silver. The white bezels will be dropped for the same reason, and will also be thinner. The iconic chin will stay. For the first time, be it desktop or laptop, we may be graced with Face ID.

Performance

It’s going to be pretty impressive, that is for sure. It will have the very latest incarnation of the Apple Silicone chip in it, but your guess is as good as mine as to what it will be called! Imagine if you will for a moment two M1 Max chips running side by side…that is what we will be delivered. The new chip will probably be capable of handling up to 20 CPU cores and a staggering 64 GPU cores and potentially, at least, up to 128 GB unified memory. Base models will come with a 512 GB SSD drive.

Pricing

Finally, the prickly subject of price. If we take our steer from the 2021 MacBook release, then a price hike seems more than likely. After all, as I’ve mentioned, there will be effectively two M1 chips in these iMacs and possibly a 6K monitor as well. I think for the base models we can expect to see prices starting around the $2600 mark.

Concluding

The wait is very nearly over. The latest in the iMac line-up is nearly here, and I cannot wait. You can be safe in the knowledge that all the loose, back-of-the-sofa change I can find between now and launch will be finding its way to my Mac piggy-bank in anticipation for these bad boys!

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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on February 5, 2022.

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