iMac 2021 Overview Updated April 6, 2021

iMac (2021): Everything we know so far

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14 'iMac 2021' stories

January 2021 - April 2021

2021 imac

The Apple Silicon transition is underway, and Apple is rumored to have multiple new Macs in the pipeline for 2021. This includes new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models as well as a new 2021 iMac. These new machines will represent the next wave of Apple Silicon-powered Macs, coming after last year’s release of a new MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini.

The redesigned iMac is expected to be a major overhaul, and it comes after nearly a decade of stagnation. Read on for everything you need to about the redesign…

History lesson: The last iMac redesign

Apple first introduced the aluminum iMac in August of 2007, making it available in 20-inch and 24-inch variants. This was a major update compared to the previous plastic design of the iMac, which was available in 17-, 20-, and 24-inch screen variants between August 2004 and August 2007.

That means there were three years between when Apple introduced the white plastic iMac G5 and the aluminum iMac in 2007 – a pretty quick turnaround time for a major redesign of a Mac. That mid-2007 iMac, however, was only a stepping stone. Despite featuring an aluminum front-face, it still featured a back casing made of black plastic, which was a stark difference from the sleek aluminum front.

In 2009, Apple overhauled its iMac lineup with aluminum unibody design in 21.5-inch and 27-inch variants – introducing the two screen sizes that are still in use today. This design has ended up shaping the future of the iMac, with Apple focusing on iterating rather than completely redesigning it.

In October 2012, Apple redesigned the iMac with an ultra-slim side profile and removed the SuperDrive. While the thinnest point measures 5mm, there’s still an unsightly bulge in the back to accommodate the iMac’s internals and cooling system. In 2015, the iMac was upgraded with a Retina display.

Through these changes, the overall appearance of the iMac has stayed the same: an aluminum build with black bezels and an aluminum chin. The last significant update to the iMac was the introduction of the unibody aluminum design in 2009, but even that changeover actually started in 2008.

At the time in 2012, Apple making the side profile of the iMac ultra-slim was certainly a sleek look, and hyped as a major redesign. In real-world use, however, that change has been far less notable, especially with the head-on appearance of the iMac remaining unchanged for so long.

Currently, we’re in the biggest design lull of the iMac’s history, with it having been nine years since the introduction of the 21-inch and 27-inch unibody aluminum design in 2012. That’s not to say the iMac is necessarily dated – it’s received semi-regular spec updates, including most recently last August, but the design is certainly starting to show its age. And can Apple continue to charge a premium on a design that is effectively 10 years old?

So when might Apple finally redesign the iMac? All reporting points to 2021.

Specs and features: 2021 iMac expectations

Apple Silicon Inside

Apple impressed with last year’s release of the M1 chip, which is what currently powers the latest MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini. Apple’s work isn’t done, and it will continue to transition its Mac lineup to Apple Silicon in 2021, including the iMac.

Details are spare about what sort of performance we can expect from the new iMac, but we expect to be impressed. Even the “entry-level” M1-powered Macs are capable of outperforming top-of-the-line iMacs with Intel inside. At least some version of the new iMac will likely feature the next-generation of Apple Silicon processors. Bloomberg reported in December:

Bloomberg says Apple is working on successors to the M1 with up to 20 CPU cores, made up of 16 high performance and 4-efficiency cores. In 2021, the company is expected to roll out ARM versions of the higher-end MacBook Pro, “both entry-level and high-end iMac desktops”. An ARM Mac Pro is scheduled to follow in 2022.

The current M1 Macs are limited to two Thunderbolt ports and 16GB of RAM. It’s likely that both of these limitations will also be lifted by at least higher-end models of the 2021 iMac.

New design

While the Apple Silicon chips inside are sure to impress, the visual overhaul of the 2021 iMac could be even more notable. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported in January that the redesigned iMac will feature a design that is inspired by the Pro Display XDR. In fact, Gurman wrote that the new iMac “will be one of the biggest visual updates to any Apple product this year.”

Here’s what we expect from the new design

  • A flat back, replacing the current curved design on the back of the iMac
  • No more chin at the bottom
  • Slimmer bezels around the display
  • “Similar” to the Pro Display XDR

Apple could also make adjustments to the size of the iMac with this year’s redesign. Currently, the iMac is available in two versions: 21.5 inches and 27 inches. If Apple reduces the bezel sizes and removes the bottom “chin” from the current iMac design, it would be able to expand the screen real estate while keeping the overall footprint the same.

Screen sizes

Past reports have indicated that Apple is developing a 24-inch iMac, which would theoretically serve as a replacement to the 21.5-inch model. It’s possible that the 27-inch iMac screen could increase to something like 30-inches, but we haven’t yet heard any specific reporting on this.

This was also corroborated by a tweet from the reliable leaker @L0vetodream, who said that the redesigned iMac will feature  an even larger display than the current iMac lineup. Historically, 27-inches is as large as the iMac has ever been. 


Finally, Jon Prosser has reported that the iMac could be available in multiple colors for the first time in nearly two decades. Prosser claims that the 2021 iMac will be available in space gray, silver, rose gold, green, and sky blue. Whether or not this pans out remains to be seen, but it’s something interesting to consider.

Release date: When will the 2021 iMac come out?

There are multiple pieces of evidence to suggest that the 2021 iMac will be released soon. First,  variety of 21.5-inch iMac models are unavailable to purchase, which could signal that Apple is ramping down the supply line of the prior models. Apple also recently discontinued the iMac Pro without a clear replacement.

9to5Mac also reported that an unreleased ARM iMac surfaced in Xcode crash logs recently, which could also suggest an imminent release of the 2021 iMac. Finally, Apple also recently discontinued the 512GB and 1TB SSD configurations of the 21.5-inch iMac.

iMac 2021 Stories April 17

Ahead of next Tuesday’s “Spring Loaded” Apple event, we’re still trying to get a clear picture of what Apple could announce. This weekend, the reliable Twitter source L0vetodream has cryptically hinted that Apple will announce new iMac models during the April 20 event.

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iMac 2021 Stories April 16

As rumors about a potential 24-inch Apple Silicon iMac continue to swirl, various models of the current 21.5-inch iMac are significantly back-ordered from Apple’s Online Store. Many models are also unavailable for pickup from Apple Stores around the United States, but this could be due to chip shortages.

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iMac 2021 Stories April 13

Apple today officially confirmed its long-anticipated spring 2021 event. This year, Apple is holding a virtual event on April 20, and it’s teasing it with the tagline “Spring Loaded.” The event could include a new iPad Pro, AirTags, and more.

Read on as we round up everything that Apple could announce during its April 20 special event.

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iMac 2021 Stories April 3

Renowned leaker l0vetodream said today that the upcoming iMac redesign will feature an even larger display than the current iMac lineup.

Apple currently sells iMacs in two sizes; a 21.5-inch model and a 27-inch model. The leaker suggests that the new iMac will feature a display that is Apple’s biggest yet, thereby exceeding 27 inches. Perhaps Apple is looking to match the Apple Pro Display XDR and create a 32-inch all-in-one machine?

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iMac 2021 Stories March 25

Could there be an Apple event this spring? There is growing evidence that new products are on the way, ranging from new AirPods to a new iPad Pro and more. The event would almost certainly be virtual because of the ongoing pandemic, but there is plenty of precedent for a spring event…

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iMac 2021 Stories March 24

New iMacs with Apple Silicon is going to become a reality soon. Most recently, 9to5Mac found references to new models in the latest macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta, while Apple discontinuing some 21.5-inch iMacs also indicates that a refresh is coming.

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