Apple says it has no plans to update the 27-inch iMac with Apple Silicon chips

Enlarge / The original 27-inch 5K iMac, introduced in 2014.

Andrew Cunningham

Apple’s 27-inch iMac was one of the few Intel Macs (along with the iMac Pro) to be discontinued with no direct Apple Silicon replacement. It used to be Apple’s mainstream workstation Mac, but in the Apple Silicon era, that role has been filled by the Mac mini and Mac Studio, instead. The 24-inch iMac, recently updated with a new M3 chip, is a smaller machine focused more on casual day-to-day computing.

Some 27-inch iMac users have been holding out for a true large-screened iMac replacement. But Apple threw cold water on those hopes in a statement given to the Verge (and later reiterated to Ars), where it said definitively that it was not working on an Apple Silicon version of the 27-inch iMac. Users of 27-inch Intel Macs should either move to the 24-inch iMac or to the M2 Pro Mac mini or the Mac Studio if they need more performance, according to Apple.

Eternal optimists still holding out hope for a new large-screened iMac might note that Apple specifically mentioned the 27-inch iMac, which doesn’t necessarily preclude the possibility of an even-larger iMac in the 30-something-inch range. But given Apple’s usual aversion to discussing its future plans, an explicit denial does hit differently than a total lack of comment or a boilerplate “Apple doesn’t comment on future plans.”

This statement runs counter to reporting from some Apple reporters and analysts, like Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, who have suggested that Apple is at least experimenting with a new large-screened iMac to replace the old 27-inch model. But to date, none of those rumors have pointed to an imminent release date, and Gurman has most recently guessed that we’d see one in 2024 or 2025 at the earliest.

The absence of a large-screened iMac in Apple’s lineup is especially notable because of how committed Apple was to updating the model during the Intel era. The 27-inch iMac was often the first model to pick up new processor generations from Intel and new GPUs from Nvidia and AMD. And the 27-inch iMac was one of the last Intel models to be updated before M1 Macs started coming out. The Mac Studio is a solid option for people who need something in between a Mac mini and a Mac Pro (especially now that the Mac Pro essentially is a more expensive Mac Studio with PCI Express slots). But it doesn’t have the clean, single-cable setup of an all-in-one or the excellent built-in display. It’s a workable replacement, but it’s not quite the same.

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