The first iMac powered by Apple Silicon will arrive in the first half of 2021 and will feature a “A14T” chip, according to Chinese-language newspaper The China Times.
Apple Silicon is, per Apple, “world-class custom silicon to deliver industry-leading performance and powerful new technologies” as the tech giant phases out Intel processors in its Mac line. It involves customized ARM technology, as well as Apple’s own System on a Chip.
The China Times has this to say: “In addition to the first Apple Silicon processor A14X for the MacBook, which is already in volume production using TSMC’s 5-nanometer technology, according to Apple’s supply chain, Apple will launch its first self-developed GPU under the research and development code name Lifuka next year, and its first desktop processor A14T under the research and development code name Mt.Jade, both produced using TSMC’s 5-nanometer process.”
The article adds that the first Apple Silicon chip will be a MacBook. It’s expected to be announced next month, and I suspect it will be a 12-inch laptop. The Sellers Research Group (that’s me) thinks The China Times is right. At one point, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo was predicting a 24-inch iMac with Apple Silicon this fall/winter, but it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.
I’m a big iMac fan, so I hope that the Apple Silicon iMacs will debut in both 24-inch and 27-inch (or bigger!) sizes and a fresh industrial design. A possible redesign is based on a January 2020 patent filing for an “electronic device with glass housing.” It’s pictured in a drawing from the patent filing and in this mock-up based on the patent filing:
If the ideas proposed in the patent filing ever come to fruition — and Apple files for LOTS of ideas and designs that never see the light of day — it could produce an all-in-one desktop made of a single (large) pane of glass. That single pane would include the display, keyboard, and two trackpads.
In the patent filing, Apple notes that many electronic devices include multiple distinct components in which input and output devices are provided. For example, a display enclosure may be separate from an input device or keyboard enclosure. Additionally, the enclosure of some traditional electronic devices may be formed from materials that are easily scratched or that provide an inferior tactile feel or visual appearance. Apple apparently thinks a true all-in-one made of a single sheet of glass is a viable solution.
Interestingly, the keyboard in such an iMac could be be a keyless keyboard with force sensing and haptic feedback. The patent filing mentions one or more input components (e.g., touch sensors, force sensors, biometric sensors, and the like) that may be coupled to the housing member and configured to detect inputs at the input area.
Or it could be a more traditional keyboard with a storage configuration in which the keyboard is positioned at least partially within the opening. The keyboard could extend from the opening.