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6 things I want to see in the new iMac

Apple’s 24-inch iMac got a major redesign in spring 2021, but it’s been a long two years with no updates to speak of since then. Many of us are impatiently waiting to see what comes next.

Now, though, rumors are swirling that a new version is coming this year. That means there’s a lot to look forward to — and a lot of potential pitfalls that Apple needs to avoid. With so many possibilities floating around, here’s what we want to see in the next 24-inch iMac.

A decent price

Apple's 24-inch M1 iMac is an all-in-one solution.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Right now, rumors point towards  launch date in the second half of 2023. That would put it two-and-a-half years since the last update, which is a long time to wait.

What will make that wait even more painful is if Apple raises the price. That’s not unheard of — the company has upped the prices of everything from its entry-level iPad to the MacBook Air in recent years. But given the ongoing cost of living crisis, doing so again will leave a bitter taste in people’s mouths.

Right now, the 24-inch iMac starts at $1,299. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Souped-up performance

A new folder is created on a blue iMac desktop.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Apple’s M1 chip was absolutely incredible when it launched, and it still helps the 24-inch iMac be an excellent machine. But two years is a long time in computing, and the iMac could do with something even more powerful in 2023.

Fortunately, rumors are suggesting it will get just that. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has claimed the next 24-inch iMac will come equipped with Apple’s M3 chip, which will be the company’s first chip made on a 3-nanometer process. In layman’s terms, that means it will be much more powerful and efficient than the 5-nanometer M2 found in the current MacBook range.

The beauty of Apple silicon chips is they can produce phenomenal performance without requiring massive fans to keep them cool. That means the next iMac should be able to keep the same super-slender design as the current model, and we’re all for that.

While it would be great to see something even more performant inside the iMac — an M3 Pro, for example — it’s unlikely that will come to pass. Chips like that will be reserved for professional-level machines (like a resurrected iMac Pro, for instance), rather than the consumer-focused 24-inch iMac.

More port variety

Digital Trends

Turn around a base-level iMac and you’ll immediately notice something on the back: it only has two Thunderbolt 3 ports. That’s it. There’s only a 3.5mm headphone jack on the side, and no other data connections anywhere at all.

You have to pay an extra $200 to get Gigabit Ethernet and two more USB-C ports, but even these only run at USB 3.1 Gen 2 speeds (up to 10Gbps), not Thunderbolt 3’s 40Gbps. In the words of our reviewer, the whole situation is lame.

With the MacBook Pro, Apple showed it’s not averse to restoring common, useful ports to its devices. Now is the time to do the same thing with the iMac. After all, a desktop computer is the perfect vessel for more ports, as people will be connecting external hard drives, cameras, docks, and all sorts of other devices. It’s time for Apple to put things right.

Better accessories

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Buy an iMac today and it’ll come with Apple’s Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse by default. While these are decent peripherals, they’re far from perfect, and we’d love to see them upgraded and improved when the next iMac launches.

The Magic Mouse, for example, needs a serious rethink. Not only is its small, low-profile shape uncomfortable and even painful to use, but you can’t charge it and use it simultaneously (in one of Apple’s biggest design fails, the charging port is on the underside, meaning you have to place it upside down to power it up). Sure, we love the Magic Mouse’s multitouch gesture support, but it needs a major overhaul in nearly every other department.

The Magic Keyboard, meanwhile, has a variant with a built-in Touch ID button. The problem is you have to pay $50 extra for the privilege, and without it, the iMac has nothing more secure than a password to protect your data. It feels wrong that Apple is charging extra for a security feature that comes as standard on every MacBook (and is outclassed by Face ID — again, a standard feature — on the iPhone).

Face ID (maybe one day)

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Speaking of Face ID, this is one feature that feels tailor-made for the iMac. Think about it — sit down at your desk and your eyes are already more or less level with the webcam. All that needs to be done is to house a Face ID sensor array next to the webcam and you’ll be able to log in quickly, easily, and conveniently.

Apple devices are all about seamless experiences that just feel natural in use, and adding Face ID to the iMac would achieve that in an instant. It’s a match made in heaven.

I know, I’ve been harping on about this idea for literally years — why would Apple implement it now? Well, we can’t predict the future, but we do know that Apple has filed numerous patents detailing exactly this idea. It might not come to the 24-inch iMac in 2023, but we’ve got our fingers crossed.

A larger size

Two people use iMacs on a desk in an office.
Apple

For many years, the iMac came in two sizes, but right now all we get is the 24-inch version. Yet, ever since the iMac Pro was discontinued in 2021, the rumors have never really abated that Apple will bring back a larger version of its all-in-one computer.

At the moment, tech leakers and analysts seem to be divided over whether the device will be branded as an iMac Pro or just a larger iMac, when it will return, and if Apple will even relaunch a larger iMac in the first place. It’s all a bit of a mess.

We’re hoping Apple does indeed have plans to unveil some sort of larger iMac, however it will be positioned. That will give users more choice over screen size and potentially more performance, too.

There’s another thing. If you go to Apple’s website, you’ll see the iMac is listed as “iMac 24” — why include the device measurements in the name if it’s the only size that’s going to be available? Call us overly optimistic, but we’re hopeful that’s a sign pointing to a larger iMac in the near future.

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