Sketchy M2 iMac rumor begs the question, what really is going on with that computer?

iMac 2021 with microphone
(Image credit: Luke Filipowicz / iMore)

As we get closer to the end of 2023 we're still left wondering what will be announced before 2024 rolls around. There are still question marks over a number of Apple's products and lineups., but the 24-inch iMac is one of the more interesting.

The M1 24-inch iMac has now been around for a good long while — it launched in April 2021 — and is overdue a refresh. That isn't to say that we haven't heard rumors here and there and there's a new one just dropped, but it flies entirely in the face of what we'd been told to expect. On the positive side, everyone seems to agree that a new iMac is coming.

But what will that new iMac be and more to the point, what chip will be inside? That's something that has been thrown into doubt with previous M3 assumptions now potentially wrong. With confusion surrounding the next iMac, what's going on with this computer?

No Apple M3 this time out?

We've been hearing rumors of the 24-inch iMac being one of the first to use a new M3 chip based on TSMC's 3nm fabrication process. But a new report by the Japanese site MacOtakara claims that might not be the case after all.

That report notes that some configurations of the M1 iMac are showing long delivery times at some retailers, suggesting that inventory is being sold through before a new model arrives. That's a possibility to be sure. but delivery estimates for hardware aren't always the best predictor of what Apple has planned. However, the report goes a step further by saying that Apple intends to ship the new iMac with M2 and M2 Pro chips inside — that means no M3 Apple silicon. Not this year, at least.

The move would be interesting in a couple of ways. The most obvious is that we've been expecting an upgrade to the M3 chip that is still yet to be unveiled. But the suggestion the iMac will offer M2 and M2 Pro silicon would be a departure from the current model. The iMac sold today only comes in an M1 configuration, with no M1 Pro option offered in the iMac lineup.

Silicon confusion

With everyone seemingly in agreement that a new iMac is in the cards, the only real question is what chip will power it. Normally we'd expect an M3 iMac to be joined by a new 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro but we've already been told not to expect that to happen until next year.

If that's the case, would Apple launch the iMac as the very first Mac with an M3 chip? it isn't beyond the realms of possibility, but if the M3 is ready for primetime why not launch the laptops as well?

With that context, it makes more sense than ever that the 24-inch iMac could get the M2 refresh we all assumed would never happen. And if that's the case, when will it be upgraded to M3?

Beyond all of that, there's the iMac Pro situation that continues to be less than clear. Apple's pro-level desktops are a mess right now, with the Mac Studio and Mac Pro essentially being the same machine with wildly different price points. I'd love to see a new iMac Pro (or iMac Studio, perhaps?) running an Mx Max or Mx Ultra in the future. But for now, let's wait and see what happens at the bottom of the lineup. Because for once the iMac's colors aren't the biggest question mark surrounding the next refresh — it's what's on the inside that counts.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.