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Apple Inc is planning the first redesign of its iMac all-in-one desktop computer since 2012, as part of a move from Intel Corp. processors to its own silicon, according to those familiar with the plans.
The new models will shrink the thick black borders around the screen and eliminate the large metal chin area in favor of a design similar to Apple’s Pro Display XDR monitor. These iMacs have a flat back that moves away from the curved back of the current iMac. Apple plans to launch two versions – code names J456 and J457 – to replace the existing 21.5-inch and 27-inch models later this year.
The upcoming products are part of the radical overhaul of Apple’s PC range. The Cupertino, California-based company is switching from Intel chips that powered generations of MacBooks and iMacs to proprietary arm-based processors it calls Apple Silicon. An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.
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 those familiar with the company’s roadmap.
While much of the computer industry is focused on laptops, the iMac remains an important part of the Apple portfolio. The first iMac, released in 1998, was credited with helping Apple escape bankruptcy and find its way into the world’s most valuable company. The all-in-one desktop line is also key for professionals and consumers looking for large screens at relatively affordable prices.
Apple is also working on two new Mac Pro desktop computers, the most expensive Mac computers that don’t include a screen. One version is a direct update of the current Mac Pro and will continue to use the same design as the version introduced in 2019. Apple has discussed continuing to use Intel processors for this model instead of switching to their own chips.
However, the second version uses Apple’s own processors and is less than half the size of the current Mac Pro. The design will be largely aluminum and could instill nostalgia for the Power Mac G4 Cube, a short-lived smaller version of the Power Mac, an earlier version of the Mac Pro.
As part of its resurrected Mac desktop effort, Apple has begun early development of a cheaper external monitor to be sold alongside the Pro Display XDR. Apple’s current monitor was launched in 2019 and costs $ 5,000 – before taking the $ 1,000 stand into account.
The cheaper monitor has a screen that is more consumer-friendly than professional, and doesn’t have the brightness and contrast ratios of the top-tier offering. Apple last launched a consumer monitor called the Thunderbolt Display for $ 999 in 2011, but discontinued it in 2016.