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Let’s face it: The upcoming iMac Pro needs a notch

Few modern Apple designs are as divisive or as symbolic as the notch. Apple is well-known for its design prowess, from the first iconic iPhone to the sleek and svelte all-in-one iMac. But it is also known for the curious design choices it occasionally makes, like the notorious upside-down-charging Magic Mouse 2. Then there’s the notch.

Despite much commentary about Apple wanting to ditch the iPhone notch, it’s already made the leap to the MacBook Pro. It’s highly unlikely Apple will stop there, otherwise the MacBook Pro will stick out like a sore thumb as the only notched Mac. While I can’t be certain it’ll come to the MacBook Air or the 24-inch iMac, I’m sure it’ll arrive on the iMac Pro. In fact, I’m adamant about it.

The iNotch Pro

A close-up of the 2021 MacBook Pro showing its display notch.

Before making a case for why the upcoming iMac Pro needs a notch, let me first say that I’m aware this isn’t a universally popular opinion. The idea of Apple putting a notch on a MacBook Pro was unthinkable before it happened in 2021, and it was certainly one of one of the most controversial aspects of the otherwise well-received laptop.

But hear me out. Planting the notch front and center on the iMac Pro could mean some long-awaited features finally make it to the Mac. After all, the module in the notch of the MacBook Pro is about more than just an improved FaceTime camera. It includes a True Tone sensor, brightness sensor, and an LED camera indicator. Then there’s the webcam itself. The current iMac has a 1080p webcam, but how great would it be to take that a step further on an iMac Pro? A 4K resolution would certainly represent a meaningful upgrade over the current iMac and other all-in-one PCs.

If you want bezels on an iMac as thin as the MacBook Pro’s, you’re going to need a notch.

The Apple iMac 24 inch.

While I don’t have any direct evidence that the notch will appear on this year’s iMac Pro, we can make some deductions by following Apple’s breadcrumbs.

Apple is going to need something to help differentiate the iMac Pro from its 24-inch sibling. That’s because, according to reliable leaker Dylandkt, Apple will offer a range of options for the iMac Pro, with lower-spec configurations that will close the gap between it and the 24-inch iMac. Being a pro device, it will almost certainly come in more muted colors than the regular iMac, but that’s nowhere near enough to set it apart. It needs something else.

That something else could be a notch. Apple’s notch doesn’t just protrude from the existing screen bezels — it’s actually almost all that’s left of those bezels. It exists because Apple pares back the bezels to very thin levels. Like on the MacBook Pro, Apple could frame those thinner bezels — and the resulting expansion in screen space — as a benefit of opting for a more expensive device.

Face ID finally coming to Mac?

A man standing in front of an iMac with a camera on the desk.
Dan Baker/Digital Trends

In listing what other features Apple could bring to the new iMac Pro’s camera module, I left out something very important. The notch is a very eye-catching feature (you could even say it’s become a brand), and what better way to take advantage of its pulling power than fitting it with one of Apple’s best techs? I am of course talking about Face ID.

Apple’s secure facial recognition technology is the reason the notch first came into existence. Apple needed somewhere to house its dot projector and proximity sensor while stripping back the screen bezels as much as possible. Putting Face ID into the iMac Pro’s notch would help the computer stand out from the 24-inch iMac while simultaneously dampening criticism of the notch’s inclusion — given how great Face ID is, I’d take the notch every day of the week.

The problem? There’s precious little solid evidence the notch is coming to the iMac Pro this year. In the past 12 months, there have been a ton of iMac Pro leaks and rumors, yet I don’t recall any that claim it will come with Face ID. The ever-reliable Mark Gurman has said nothing about it, and it’s the same situation with display industry expert Ross Young. Given that the iMac Pro is expected this spring, time is running out for notch-related news.

I’ve been arguing for years that Face ID would take the iMac to the next level. I’ve got my fingers crossed that Apple might pull it out of the bag this year, although more in hope than expectation. For the iMac Pro, the notch could be exactly the kind of feature Apple needs to make its device stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.

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