Apple’s 2021 iMac redesign to deliver ‘one of the biggest visual updates this year’

In 2021 Apple is preparing the first redesign of its iconic iMac all-in-one desktop computer since 2012, as the company upgrades from outmoded, hot, and slow Intel processors to its own Apple Silicon, Bloomberg News reports, citing “people familiar with the plans.”

Artist's conception render of an Apple silicon-powered iMac (2021) (image: svetapple.sk)
Artist’s conception render of an Apple silicon-powered iMac (2021) (image: svetapple.sk)

Mark Gurman for Bloomberg:

The new models will slim down the thick black borders around the screen and do away with the sizable metal chin area in favor of a design similar to Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor. These iMacs will have a flat back, moving away from the curved rear of the current iMac. Apple is planning to launch two versions — codenamed J456 and J457 — to replace the existing 21.5-inch and 27-inch models later this year…

With Retina 6K resolution, gorgeous color and extreme brightness and contrast ratio, Pro Display XDR is the world’s best pro display.
Apple’s 2021 iMac will hew closely to the design of the Retina 6K Pro Display XDR

The new models will use next-generation versions of Apple’s Mac processors like the upcoming 2021 MacBook Pros. The iMac redesign will be one of the biggest visual updates to any Apple product this year, according to people familiar with the company’s roadmap.

MacDailyNews Take: 8+ years is a long time to go with one case design, but the current design, with its friction-stir welded aluminum, has held up so well, we can’t blame Apple for riding it for so long. The upgrade to Apple Silicon makes for the perfect time to finally redesign one of Apple’s most-iconic Macs ever – and to finally lose the Jay Leno chin.

16 Comments

  1. It is sad that my wish list is entirely stuff that Windows users take for granted. Apple used to be all about empowering the user. Especially now that the M1 has lowered production costs, show us some love Apple.

    What is the point of an elegant simple design that is invariably surrounded by a rat’s nest of cables? We need hard drive slots. I have eight hard drives on my desk including the one I boot from. If a Sony playstation can have this, there is no excuse for a Mac not having one.
    …and nobody cares about making it a millimeter thinner! Add an inch just to remind yourself that it doesn’t matter, and maybe allow for some heat dissipation.
    HDMI input. You’ve got that wonderful 5k screen, why can’t we connect stuff to it? Cable TV, Playstation, live camcorder output, even a second computer. It’s a huge waste of space to need a TV right next to your iMac. (Also, a hardware button for switching inputs.)
    Front accessible ports for SD cards, USB sticks, and headphones. RCA output for connecting to a stereo. People use this stuff, and having to turn your computer is another risk for damaging wires or unplugging things unexpectedly.
    Sliding lens cap for FaceTime camera. You told us once it was unhackable. It never will be.
    Real keyboard and mouse. (See Naga hex, lights not necessary. Working drivers are.)
    ATA connector. We know it is in there. Why can’t we use it? Anything Thunderbolt is just an ATA device in a stupid-expensive box anyway.

    1. What I find interesting about this list is that if Apple does eliminate the bezel, then users putting a piece of tape over the camera is going to create another “Apple Notch” UI fiasco.

  2. I have delisted Apple as a supplier of any of my computer needs (though I love their products) until they stop violating my Terms of Acceptance. Their “violations” have become very egregious and more frequent in the past two weeks, so for each week the violations continue, I will extend the delist of Apple purchases an additional 60 days. I won’t tolerate a company that violates my Terms of Acceptance.

      1. His requirement that Apple drop its vocal opposition to racism, xenophobia, and sexual discrimination, and agree never to do anything that would make it more difficult for conspirators against the US Constitution to communicate.

        1. TxComrade, you have been nominated for the Order of Pravda, the award includes an all-expenses-paid vacation at Schloss Rheydt, the holiday villa of your idol Joseph Goebbels. From now on every one of your comments will automatically receive 5 red stars from 666 totally legitimate voters “democratically” selected by Dominion of Satan Voting Systems.

          1. Yes, but is TxUser wrong? Kent objects to Apple having a corporate conscience, and minimal standards for acceptable behavior. Is that really so out of line?

  3. My favorite iMac design, while not the most practical, is iMac G4. The happy half-dome base with all the computing parts and display that seems to float above (from user perspective).

    If reborn in Apple Silicon… The flat base houses the equivalent of MacBook Pro motherboard, power supply, and all the ports. It can also (maybe) have additional internal data storage, like user accessible sockets for adding the standard blade SSD. A highly-adjustable arm (like on iMac G4) connects to display, which is only the display. Very thin and light, with no cords hanging off the back. It seems to float in space and move in any direction at a touch. Sound familiar? This time, add swivel to go from horizontal to vertical orientation.

  4. It was a beautiful “articulating arm” with surprising mechanics. When the new AirPods were released, I made an immediate association to the iMac G4, because of the use of metal, form and finish.

    It’s an Apple “over the top” look that’s distinguished and getting rarer.

  5. I generally love the industrial design of Apple products, but design is a balance between the practical and the artistic. It is at its highest level when the device is both beautiful and completely practical.

    My mid-2011 iMac has so few compromises, on the side of beauty and practicality. But the current case design sacrificed the optical drive (no biggie) and moved the SD card reader to the back. This was purely for aesthetics.

    I don’t need drive bays, or USB ports on the front, or most of the things that TauMyx wants. But I would really prefer a user serviceable drive and RAM.

    And maybe, with Apple Silicon, Oculus and HTC will start looking at OSX again.

  6. Maybe functional, but really ugly and distracting. Cables sticking out from edge of screen. Apple won’t do it. My idea for a design like iMac G4 would resolve your issue. It doesn’t need to have the complex (and probably expensive to produce) display arm like iMac G4. Current design originated when internal components were larger and ran hotter. Spread them out behind the large LCD. But putting all the computing parts in a flat compact base (not behind screen) makes more sense now. The small motherboard (with integrated storage), power supply, speakers, and all the ports at desk level, housed inside base of iMac. Only the display (with camera) in minimalist housing “floats” above. Hey, maybe even put the ports along sides of base, not the back, LOL.

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