Now that Intel has launched its Kaby Lake processors (rumoured to be the most likely choice of processor in upcoming Apple iMacs) and AMD has released its new Ryzen 7 chips (the outside bet as the more power-efficient of the two), the countdown is on for new iMacs to launch in the UK. But apparently for everyone except Apple. Also see: New MacBook Pro
On 21 March 2017 the Apple Store went down for ‘maintenance’ and reappeared at midday with a slew of new products of the iOS variety – new iPad and iPhone options, but no new Mac products. Though we had been expecting a proper Spring Event, as Apple has provided in recent years, this time around the product announcements came without the fanfare. (And without the iMacs.) So when can we expect new Apple all-in-ones?
According to Apple, new iMacs will be released later this year. Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller said at a roundtable event with a few journalists at its headquarters in Cupertino that these new iMacs may even appeal to previous Mac Pro users.
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When is the 2017 iMac release date?
New iMac UK release date: September 2017 (TBC)
This is becoming a theme. In October 2016 Apple was expected to announce new iMacs at a special event. It did not. In March 2017 Apple was expected to announce new iMacs at a special event. It did not. So what’s going on?
The reality is Apple won’t hold another event until June 2017, but this is its WWDC developers conference, and it is unlikely we will see any new Macs here. There should be product announcements in September and October 2017, so it’s possible that updated iMacs could appear then. Apple has confirmed that they will be arriving this year.
There’s little reason to wait so long, though, given that Intel’s Kaby Lake processors were announced at CES in January, and more recently have been followed by the more power-efficient AMD Ryzen chips. We’d expect to see the S-Series desktop chips (Core i5-7500 / Core i5-7600 / Core i7-7700K) in the 27in iMac, although there is no clear upgrade path for the 21.5in iMac.
The future of the iMac is beginning to look a little uncertain, but there’s no need to worry just yet. Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated on an internal Q&A session that “Some folks in the media have raised the question about whether we’re committed to desktops. If there’s any doubt about that with our teams, let me be very clear: we have great desktops in our roadmap. Nobody should worry about that.”
How much will the 2017 iMac cost in the UK?
According to a Best Buy leak, which may or may not be accurate, a 27in iMac with 32GB of RAM and a 2TB Fusion Drive will cost $3,199.99. This appears to be slightly higher than the current 27in iMac with 32GB RAM and a 2TB Fusion Drive, though of course we don’t know exactly what other upgrades this model includes (and whether or not it is merely placeholder text).
Over in the UK the current 21.5in iMac starts at £899 or £1,199 with a 4K display, while the 27in 5K model starts at £1,449, both direct from Apple. We would expect prices to remain roughly the same.
What are the rumoured specifications?
Following that Best Buy leak, it’s highly likely the new iMac will feature a processor upgrade to Intel’s latest Kaby Lake family. The listing also mentioned a 27in 5K display, 32GB of memory and a 2TB Fusion Drive, with the model priced at $3,199.99. It could be placeholder copy, but why bother to update the processor? We’d really like to see this Fusion Drive rolled out as standard across the range.
Apple could well turn to AMD once again for its graphics solution, with Polaris 10 a prime candidate. It offers improved graphics performance (naturally), plus potential reductions in power consumption and waste heat. More exciting, though, is that these new graphics chips would for the first time bring VR potential to the Mac.
We’ve seen Apple bring the Pro name to its iPad line-up over the past year, and one rumour circulating online is that the iMac will also get Pro treatment – we could be about to see a sufficiently powerful iMac Pro to replace the Mac Pro.
It is thought that when the new iMac arrives its keyboard will feature the same Touchbar as is found on the most recent revision to the MacBook Pro. Recent patent applications reveal a keyboard with adaptive input row, described by Apple thus:
“The adaptive input row may be positioned within an opening of a device and include a cover for receiving a touch and a display that is configured to present an adaptable set of indicia. The adaptive input row may also include one or more sensors for detecting the location of a touch and/or the magnitude of a force of the touch. The adaptive input row may be positioned adjacent or proximate to a keyboard of the electronic device.”
The new iMac coming later this year is also expected to feature fast Intel Optane memory and storage.
For more new iMac rumours see our sister site Macworld.