The 2022 MacBook Air is likely to become the Mac of the year because of its broad appeal. However, there's also growing anticipation for what Apple has planned for iMac in the coming 12 months. Following last year's release of the consumer-based 24-inch iMac, the expectation this time around is for Cupertino to announce a more professional-friendly model. Here's what I hope to see on this year's new iMac.
The new iMac Pro
Back in December 2017, Apple introduced its first and only iMac Pro. With a starting price of $5,000, the iMac Pro only found limited success, and in March 2021, Apple retired it. A month later, the company announced the colorful 24-inch iMac, the first Apple desktop to feature Apple silicon. This model joined the Intel-based (and consumer-friendly) 27-inch model that was last updated in August 2020.
A new iMac Pro will almost certainly replace that model with buyers given a choice between purchasing one with an M1 Pro or M1 Max professional-focused systems-on-a-chip (SoC). These are the same options found on last year's MacBook Pro.
What about the screen size and quality?
The rumor mill has been all over the place regarding the iMac Pro 2022's screen size and quality. Earlier rumors suggested Apple would increase the screen size on this model as it moved from 21.5 inches to 24 inches on the less expensive model. Later, the rumors pivoted, with most now expecting Apple to stick with 27 inches for the new iMac Pro. Quality-wise, earlier rumors said the next iMac Pro would feature mini-LED; more recent stories, however, said Apple would stick with LCD.
I'm going to split the difference here and assume Apple will keep the screen size at 27 inches for the iMac Pro and offer the model with the option of LCD or mini-LED, with the latter much more expensive, as you'll see below.
What about the 24-inch iMac?
With an "M2" SoC expected to launch later this year on the next MacBook Air, Apple may (or should) refresh the 24-inch iMac to at least include this SoC as an option. Otherwise, this computer, not yet a year old, will feel increasingly old compared to newer Macs.
Will all this in mind, the 2022 iMac lineup is likely to look like this:
- 24-inch iMac (2021) and/or 24-inch iMac (2020)
- 27-inch iMac Pro (2022) with M1 Pro or M1 Pro Max
Beyond the display and SoC, I'd expect we'll see the new iMac Pro with up to a 10-core CPU and 32-core GPU with as much as 64GB of memory and 8GB of storage. From a pricing perspective, I wouldn't be surprised to see the iMac Pro 2022 start at around $2,000 (vs. $1,799 on the current 27-inch iMac) with the highest-priced model significantly more, perhaps as high as $5,000 or $6,000, depending on the specs.
As I have often noted, I'm a big supporter of Apple's decision as of late to go beyond silver and space gray as color choices across its entire product line. I expect we'll see more of the same with this year's new iMac Pro, although there might not be as many color choices as found on the 24-inch model. After all, these will be geared to the professional set.
If I had to guess, Apple will bring back the darker space gray finish from the 2017 iMac Pro and offer silver and maybe regular space gray. Beyond this, don't expect to see an iMac Pro in a bright color.
Time to get excited
With the 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro and 24-inch iMac last year, Apple combined new internals with new designs, creating some of the best Macs around. In 2022, it's almost certainly going to be done again, first with a redesigned MacBook Air, then with a refreshed 27-inch iMac Pro. Both new products could launch as early as March, although Fall 2022 sounds much more feasible for the iMac Pro. Stay tuned.
Bryan M. Wolfe has written about technology for over a decade on various websites, including TechRadar, AppAdvice, and many more. Before this, he worked in the technology field across different industries, including healthcare and education. He’s currently iMore’s lead on all things Mac and macOS, although he also loves covering iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Bryan enjoys watching his favorite sports teams, traveling, and driving around his teenage daughter to her latest stage show, audition, or school event in his spare time. He also keeps busy walking his black and white cocker spaniel, Izzy, and trying new coffees and liquid grapes.
I hope to be proven wrong, but I doubt iMac Pro would be offered with a choice of LED (non-XDR) or mini LED (XDR) backlighting. iMac Pros will almost assuredly offered only with XDR, with correspondingly high starting price no less than $4999. That said, Apple might offer iMac in two screen sizes without XDR -- in 24" and 27". But iMac Pro will be XDR only, just like 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Nobody wants to pay 5 grand for a computer that's integrated into a display panel. Mac Mini Pro please, or never mind.
I'm guessing there will be color options in a 27" iMac which has a non-XDR display with the M1 chip and an option for M1 Pro. This would replace the current lower-spec 27" Intel iMacs and would allow people to have another screen size option over the 24" iMac. But I would like to see an iMac Pro in Space Gray or Black with an XDR-type mini-LED display and M1 Pro and M1 Max chips. This would replace the higher-spec 27" iMac and would be the successor to the older iMac Pro. The price would range from $1800 to over $5000, about the same as the current 27" Intel iMac. Again, just my opinion.