Everyone is speculating — and with good reason — about big iPad Pro announcements at Apple’s Oct. 30 “There’s more in the making” media event. However, I believe Apple may have an iMac surprise in store for us, as well.
The ground-breaking all-in-one was launched on May 6, 1998, at a Macworld Expo, so I can’t image Apple letting the iMac’s 20th anniversary year pass without doing something special.
iMac changes we’ll probably see
I predict a space grey model that adopts features found in the iMac Pro. better speakers, a TrueTone/HDR display, and an enhanced FaceTime camera. AppleInsider had this to say about the iMac Pro’s speakers:
We could hear a wider range of audio frequencies on the iMac Pro. Audio seemed to blend in on the 5K iMac, especially during the guitar solo. Volume has definitely increased, and the Pro sounds more crisp. Bass on the 5K iMac seems messy, like you'd hear with a subwoofer that's reaching its limits, whereas on the Pro, the bass was tight, strong and clean.
The iMac Pro also has the first ever 1080p FaceTime camera to come on a Mac, compared to the 720p camera on the 5K iMac. It also has four microphones, compared to only one on the 5K iMac.
Again, from AppleInsider: You can instantly tell just how much better the image quality is on the iMac Pro. It makes the camera on the 5K iMac seem ancient. The white balance on the 5K iMac is completely off, whereas the iMac Pro perfectly matches what we saw with our own eyes.
The next rev of the 27-inch iMac 5K will probably sport the Apple T2 chip that’s in the pro model. According to Apple, “by redesigning and integrating several controllers found in other Mac systems — like the system management controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller — T2 delivers new capabilities to the Mac.” For instance, the T2 image signal processor works with the FaceTime HD camera to enable enhanced tone mapping, improved exposure control, and face detection–based auto exposure and auto white balance. Hence, the improved FaceTime camera, as previously mentioned.
As for the graphics department, there’s a chance the 2018 iMac might use AMD’s Vega graphics cards. In case Apple goes for one of the newest AMD card or one that is about to be released, then the iMac 2018 could be armed with a very powerful graphics card. It goes without saying that the new desktop will have upgraded CPUs.
It’s also likely to support an external external graphics processing unit, such as the Blackmagic eGPU that Apple co-developed with Blackmagic. I also expect Apple to offer an optional Magic Keyboard with an integrated Touch Bar.
iMac changes we might see
There are some iMac updates that I give a 50/50 chance of happening. For example, Apple could make some internal changes that slim the all-in-one down even more — and perhaps shave off some of the “chin.” Perhaps we might even see an iMac with the “ultra-slim bezels” of the latest iPhones — and which we’ll see in the upcoming iPad Pro refresh.
Or, if Apple really believes in the Touch Bar, and keeps the chin, it could add one to the all-in-one’s chin.
iMac changes we probably won’t see
The 2018 iMac won’t have an 8K display; that would be too expensive. Also, the chances of Apple choosing OLED for the iMac 2018 display is very slim since the technology is still in the developing stage. Which means, it would be quite pricey for a 21-inch or 27-inch monitor.
I’d love to see an optional, super-sized Magic Trackpad with Apple Pencil support, but I’m dubious this will happen.
What Marty wants to see
And here’s what my Apple World Today compadre, Marty Edwards, would like to see in a 20th anniversary iMac.
The four microphones on the iPhone Xs Max makes for stunning audio recording, so multiple microphones for stereo recordings on the all-in-one would be great.
Face ID for the first time on a Mac;
An improved camera for much better live streaming;
A more powerful graphics card for gaming;
Larger speakers if possible for immersive gaming.
What do you want to see in a new iMac?