Apple just announced an updated iMac for 2020. Almost all the changes are for the 27-inch iMac but the 21.5-inch iMac and iMac Pro also get something for 2020.
The first major change is the upgrade to the 10-th generation Intel CPUs. There are four CPU SKUs available; the base 27-inch iMac model has a 3.1GHz 6-core Core i5 that can Turbo Boost to 4.5GHz. The middle variant has a 3.3GHz 6-core Core i5 that can Turbo Boost up to 4.8GHz. The high-end model has a 3.8GHz 8-core Core i7 that can Turbo Boost up to 5.0GHz. Both the middle and the high-end model can also be customized with a 3.6GHz 10-core Core i9 that Turbo Boosts up to 5.0GHz.
There are new GPUs too. The base and middle variant get AMD Radeon Pro 5300 with 4GB GDDR6 VRAM. The high-end model comes with the Radeon Pro 5500 XT with 8GB GDDR6. It can also be configured with Radeon Pro 5700 with 8GB GDDR6 or a Radeon Pro 5700 XT with 16GB GDDR6.
There are also new memory and storage options. All three models come with 8GB (2x4GB) 2666MHz DDR4 memory, with option to configure up to 128GB total across the four SO-DIMM slots, which are user accessible.
Storage is now entirely flash based. The base model comes with 256GB, the middle variant comes with 512GB with 1TB or 2TB options, and the top-end variant also comes with 512GB but with 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, or 8TB options.
To work with the new flash based storage, Apple has included its T2 Security Chip on the 27-inch iMac. This includes the storage controller for encrypting the storage drives and secure boot.
The 27-inch iMac also includes a new 1080p FaceTime webcam and an improved set of microphones. The ISP on the T2 chip enables things like tone mapping, exposure control, and face detection on the new camera, and it also works with the speakers to provide variable EQ, higher fidelity, and deeper bass.
Finally, the new 27-inch iMac also comes with an optional $500 nano-texture glass coating. This seems to be similar to the Pro Display XDR where the coating reduces reflections and glare on the screen by etching the glass at a nanometer level. It does tend to affect the contrast and viewing angles a bit so it will only be beneficial to those working in bright environments.
The iMac now also supports True Tone technology for adjusting the color temperature to ambient lighting.
As for the 21.5-inch model, it will now come with flash-based SSD storage across the board. With this change, all of Apple’s computers are now on flash storage as standard. All the 21.5-inch models get 256GB as standard, but it can be switched with a 1TB Fusion Drive (SSHD) for no additional cost.
There are no other changes to the 21.5-inch range. This includes the positively medieval non-Retina 21.5-inch model, which was launched back in 2017, and continues to be on sale at $1100.
Moving to the iMac Pro, the range now starts with the 10-core Intel Xeon CPU. Previously, the base $5,000 model got you the 8-core model but with this change, you now get the one step higher 10-core CPU for the same price. The rest of the specifications remain the same, which sort of leaves the iMac Pro in an awkward position as the standard 27-inch iMac now has a faster CPU, better GPU, better display configuration, and more storage. But the Pro still has beefier cooling, more CPU cores, and more memory so depending upon your needs that may be more beneficial.
That’s it for this update. There are obviously no design changes here that some may have been expecting. That may well be something Apple is saving for when it updates the iMac with its own custom silicon in future.