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Please don’t buy an iMac right now

With its big, high-resolution display, comfortable desktop design, and luxurious looks, the iMac occupies a niche for Mac fans that even the best MacBook cannot claim. Yet, if you are considering imminently splurging on a shiny new iMac, you need to think again. Now is a terrible time to buy one of Apple’s desktops.

It is not that the iMac itself is an awful computer. Rather, it is about to get insanely better within the next few weeks. Sometime in April, Apple is highly rumored to unveil the biggest iMac revolution in a decade, something that will bring a horde of much-needed improvements to its renowned computer. That means waiting for it to drop is absolutely vital.

Yesterday’s look

iMac 2021 redesign with five colors
Image used with permission by copyright holder

There is no arguing that the iMac’s all-in-one design is utterly iconic in the computer world. But there comes a point when even the best designs need to be refreshed. We first caught a glimpse of the current slimline iMac in 2012, so that point probably came and went sometime around 2016 as the design has trudged on for a further five years.

Fortunately, change is in the air. The next iMac — runiored to launch at Apple’s spring event in April — is said to come with a redesigned chassis that takes cues from the iPad Pro, giving it a flat back and edges to bring it much closer in appearance to Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor.

That is not the only chassis change, though. Compared to modern displays and laptops, including Apple’s own MacBook Pro 16, the iMac’s bezels look outrageously chunky. Thankfully, rumors abound that the next iMac will slice these down, allowing for a larger, more spacious screen to fill the gap without increasing the device’s footprint. The “chin” at the base of the device — so thick as to be downright ominous — is also on the way out.

Leaker Jon Prosser even claims Apple is working on a variety of new colors for the iMac that match those found on the iPad Air. If you are not fond of the default silver shade, you could have space gray, rose gold, green, and sky blue to choose from instead.

What all this goes to show is that if you buy an iMac right now, your exciting new computer will look horribly out of date in a matter of days. That is a serious case of buyer’s remorse that no one wants to feel.

A power surge is approaching

Xhakomo Doda

The changes coming to the iMac are not just external. If you buy an iMac today, in most cases you will get a machine with middling performance that will not win any awards. If you buy one in a month or two, though? You will get a rocket-powered computing monster in return for your cash.

That is because Apple is set to outfit the iMac with its own Apple Silicon chips. And unlike the M1 MacBooks and Mac Mini that launched last year, there is a distinct possibility the new iMac will come with Apple’s next-generation M-series chips inside.

According to reliable reporter Mark Gurman, Apple is working on an iMac chip with 16 high-performance cores — four times as many as in the current M1 — in addition to four high-efficiency cores. If that is not ready in time, Gurman believes the iMac could come with eight or 12 high-performance cores instead. Either way, if these new chips make it into this spring’s iMac revamp, they will leave the current iMac in the dust, lagging behind with its much less performant Intel processors.

Unless you opt for its beefiest, most expensive configurations, the present iMac’s processing power is less than impressive. However, the same is not true for its brilliant 4K and 5K displays. Yet even these could be in line for an upgrade in the coming weeks, with reputable Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo saying that Mini-LED panels are on the way.

Kuo originally believed this tech would appear in the iMac Pro, but since that device’s untimely demise, it is possible Apple will shift these panels to the high-end iMac rather than have them go to waste. Mini-LED tech massively ramps up the number of LEDs in the screen, resulting in hugely improved brightness and contrast. In other words, Apple’s display prowess might rise to new heights.

All of these are great reasons to hold on just a little longer before pulling the trigger on a new iMac. Unless you desperately need an iMac right now, you will not regret having waited. In fact, given all the exciting things Apple seems to have up its sleeve, you will be incredibly glad you did.

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Alex Blake
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