Why we might see first M1 iMacs at Apple’s April 20 event

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Apple plans the 2021 iMac redesign we’ve been dreaming of
The 2021 iMac could dump the huge screen bezels of the current version. And move to Apple Silicon.
Concept: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Trusted tipster Mark Gurman says the 2021 iMac all-in-one desktop might be the next to get the M1 processor. The announcement could be only a few days away.

And that’s only the beginning. There’s plenty more evidence that an upgraded iMac will launch at Apple’s April 20 event.

Plenty of evidence of a 2021 iMac

In a recent interview discussing what might be on the docket for the April event, Gurman — who writes for Bloomberg — included “new iMac desktops with custom Apple chips” in his list.

Before that though, mention of model numbers iMac21,1 and iMac21,2 showed up in the macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta. (Those are not screen sizes, BTW.) They don’t correspond to any current Mac.

And way back in October 2020, the Eurasian Economic Commission posted a list of model numbers for unreleased desktops with macOS Big Sur. None of these have seen the light of day yet. It’s widely assumed they’ll be M1-powered as Apple moves away from Intel processors.

Of course, the latter two tidbits don’t point to an April 20 launch, but the online Apple Store might. Supplies of current iMac models are getting tight. Order the 21.5-inch base model and it won‘t be delivered for almost two weeks. That’s after the April 20 event, perhaps giving buyers the opportunity to switch to an M1 model before delivery. And the option to configure any 21.5-inch model with a 512GB drive disappeared recently.

Plus, an unconfirmed report from March indicated that Apple slowed production of the 21.5-inch iMac ahead of a much-anticipated Apple Silicon upgrade.

An iMac with Apple Silicon at last

As Gurman noted, the signature feature of the new iMac is apparently the processor. Apple launched the first computers with its initial M-series chip in autumn 2020. These offer significant speed advantages over their Intel-based predecessors.

But the iMac is a bit more of a challenge. Earlier versions of this desktop with high-end Intel processors offer better performance than the version of the M1 used in the first round of Macs.

Apple will either have to launch a faster version of the M1, keep the Intel versions in its lineup or offer customers slower Macs. That’s why there’s been speculation that the 2021 iMac will have an enhanced M1X chip.

Redesigned? Perhaps.

The changes might be cosmetic, too. Gurman said back in January 2021 that iMac is about to get the dramatic redesign so many people have been hoping for. It will supposedly resemble the Apple Pro Display XDR, which has very slim bezels. There’ll be two versions to take the place of the current 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs.

If so, it’ll likely make many people happy. Apple hasn’t redesigned the iMac since 2012, leaving even the 2020 model with large screen bezels.

But an iMac with an M-series processor potentially could launch without a full redesign. Externally, the first MacBooks and Mac mini with Apple Silicon were nearly unchanged from their predecessors.

If the rumors and leaks come to fruition, we’ll know April 20 when Apple’s “Spring Loaded” event happens. Also supposedly on the docket are a faster, better-looking 2021 iPad Pro, the long-rumored AirTags tracking tags and more.