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Apple’s iMac Pro could get an all-powerful 12-core chip

We’ve been talking about the upcoming iMac Pro redesign for many months with the expectation it will be fitted with one of Apple’s M1 Pro or M1 Max chips. According to a reliable leaker, though, there’s going to be a surprise chip added to the line-up.

The news comes from the pseudonymous Dylandkt on Twitter, who has a good track record for Apple leaks. In a tweet, the poster claimed that “there will be an additional configuration for the upcoming iMac Pro beyond M1 Max. A 12 Core CPU configuration was tied to a snippet of code referencing the iMac.”

A person using a 27-inch iMac on a desk.
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

This is an interesting tidbit, as there has not previously been word of a 12-core CPU being used in the iMac Pro. In fact, the top-end M1 Max in the MacBook Pro has a 10-core CPU, alongside a 32-core GPU and a 16-core Neural Engine. Given the impressive performance of the M1 Max, the new chip’s extra cores could take the iMac Pro’s performance to a new level entirely.

I have received confirmation that there will be an additional configuration for the upcoming iMac Pro beyond M1 Max. A 12 Core CPU configuration was tied to a snippet of code referencing the iMac. The internal naming candidate is iMac Pro for a reason. It is targeted towards pros

— Dylan (@dylandkt) January 23, 2022

Although Dylandkt did not elaborate as to whether the GPU and Neural Engine would also be improved, the addition of two cores to the chip’s CPU suggests it should be Apple’s top-performing desktop chip when it makes its appearance.

And when could that be? Well, Apple likes to hold events in the spring (it launched the 24-inch iMac in April 2021, for example), and Dylandkt has chimed in on this too. In a recent tweet, the leaker said the iMac Pro is “still on track currently for a release in the spring.” However, they also noted that there are “concerns with regards to production,” so it seems possible the iMac Pro could be delayed a little longer.

iMac or iMac Pro?

Ever since the 24-inch iMac launched, we’ve wondered how Apple will frame the redesign of its larger 27-inch sibling. Will it simply be a larger version of the 24-inch iMac, complete with bright, playful colors? Or will it be a more serious device bearing the iMac Pro name and aimed at demanding users? Well, it seems Dylandkt is firmly in the latter camp, claiming in a tweet that “The internal naming candidate is iMac Pro for a reason,” as evidenced by the forthcoming 12-core chip.

When asked whether the iMac line-up would solely consist of the 24-inch iMac and a high-end iMac Pro, Dylandkt claimed that “Lower configuration options will still be available for those who don’t need as much performance.” With that in mind, we’d expect the standard M1 Pro and M1 Max chips to also be available in the iMac Pro, with the 12-core option being the high-end flagship of the range. That will still make it considerably more powerful than the 24-inch iMac, though, which currently uses an M1 chip.

Providing things stay on track, we could only have around three months to wait to see the new iMac Pro. It’s already been a year since the consumer-focused 24-inch iMac launched — here’s hoping we don’t have to wait much longer for its pro-level counterpart to arrive.

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