Archive of iMac Rumors

Apple will announce an updated 21.5-inch iMac with a 4K display at the end of October alongside the release of OS X El Capitan, reports 9to5Mac. The new iMac will then begin shipping out to customers in early November.

A new 21.5-inch Retina iMac has been anticipated for several months, following the discovery of code in OS X El Capitan that pointed towards a 21.5-inch machine with a resolution of 4096 x 2304. That code pointed towards Broadwell chips with Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 and AMD Radeon M380 - M395X discrete graphics, which may hint at the hardware we'll see in the updated iMac.

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Reliable KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo also said in early August that the iMac line would receive a refresh this quarter, adding new processors and improved display quality that brings greater color saturation.

Apple began updating its iMac lineup last October, with the launch of the 27-inch Retina iMac. Updates across the line have been slow, however, due to Intel's ongoing Broadwell chip delays, and the 21.5-inch iMac has not seen an update since 2013.

It is not clear if Apple will release multiple 21.5-inch iMac models during the October refresh, or which chips those machines might use. Skylake chips appropriate for the iMac are launching "later this year," but there are a handful of Broadwell chips appropriate for various 21.5-inch iMac models.
Intel has released detailed information about its upcoming Skylake processors for notebooks and desktops ahead of IFA 2015 in Berlin (via Ars Technica). The sixth-generation chips will deliver CPU and GPU performance improvements and longer battery life, and are likely to power future MacBook, MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac models released over the next year.

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Retina MacBook

Intel's new lineup of Core M processors appropriate for the 12-inch Retina MacBook will provide up to 10 hours of battery life, between 10%-20% faster CPU performance and up to 40% faster graphics compared to equivalent Broadwell chips.

CPU World accurately shared Core m3, Core m5 and Core m7 specifications last week, with all three families of chips including Intel HD 515 graphics, 4MB of L3 cache and 4.5 watt thermal design power (TDP).

Intel Skylake Core M MacBook
The low-end Core m3 6Y30 replaces the Core M-5Y31 and is likely suited for the base model 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,299. The mid-tier Core m5 6Y54 and Core m5 6Y57 replace the Core M-5Y51 on the high-end 12-inch MacBook sold for $1,599, while the high-end Core m7 6Y75 replaces the Core M-5Y71 for top-of-the-line 12-inch MacBook custom configurations.

Core M processors have configurable TDPs, allowing for performance and heat output to be adjusted. Core m3, m5 and m7 chips can be run at 3.5-3.8 watts or be increased to 7 watts to allow for higher CPU clock speeds. For the current 12-inch MacBook, Apple boosted the 900 MHz 5Y31 chip to 1.1 GHz, 1.1 GHz 5Y51 chip to 1.2 GHz and 1.2 GHz 5Y71 chip to 1.3 GHz.

Ars Technica notes that Core M processors should be available to Apple and other PC makers now, meaning that Core m3, m5 and m7-powered notebooks could begin shipping within the next few months. However, given that the 12-inch MacBook just launched in April, it remains uncertain if Apple is willing to release updated models this soon or hold off until 2016.

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Apple's sixth OS X 10.11 El Capitan beta, released on Monday, includes a few lines of code that yet again reference the possibility of a forthcoming 4K 21.5-inch Retina iMac, as discovered by Consomac [Google Translate]. A similar occurance happened back in June, when some code in the second OS X El Capitan beta referenced a 4K 21.5-inch iMac screen, but, as yet, Apple hasn't given any word on the veracity of the rumors.

Consomac's research into the code of the new OS X beta found three new files, two of which include screen resolutions that hint at the possible arrival of new 5K 27-inch iMacs, and the other with a 4096×2304 resolution. Like the second El Capitan beta, this code could potentially refer to a 21.5-inch Retina iMac display with 4K resolution coming down the line. Although, as Consomac discovered, an image accompanying the three files points to a design that will largely "remain unchanged" for the new line-up.

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Beginning last October, Apple launched a few updates for the 27-inch iMac with Retina Display, but the rest of the iMac line-up hasn't seen a proper upgrade since September 2013. The major reasoning behind the stalled upgrade cycle is the company waiting for Intel's various desktop components -- including the Broadwell and Skylake processors -- to be available for a more substantial update to Apple's smaller-sized desktop computer line-up.

An update to the 21.5-inch iMac line has been hinted at for a while now, including a rumor just yesterday from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo that pointed to the iMac line gaining a significant boost this quarter. Kuo points to display improvements with greater color saturation thanks to a few new processors, but never references directly the arrival of a retina display for the 21.5-inch iMac line. Still, the timing with back-to-school shopping swinging into gear, and the lengthy update cycle of the 21.5-inch line-up, definitely suggests an impending update for the model sometime soon.
imac_27_angleApple's iMac line is set to receive a significant boost this quarter in the form of a refresh including new processors and improved display quality, according to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Display improvements are said to arrive in the form of greater color saturation, but Kuo makes no mention of whether Apple is planning to extend Retina display options to the smaller 21.5-inch iMac lineup.
We believe Apple will introduce new iMac models in 3Q15, which are expected to have key selling points such as more powerful processors and much better display quality. We predict the panel will use a LED phosphor material called KSF to notably boost color saturation.
While Apple has released several 27-inch Retina iMac models since last October, the remainder of the iMac lineup has not been updated since September 2013 as Apple has had to wait for Intel to release new desktop processors that could allow for a substantial update. With Broadwell processors starting to trickle out and Skylake right around the corner, it appears Apple will finally be able to offer a substantial upgrade for the entire iMac family.

Kuo believes that an inventory draw-down in the second quarter, the upcoming new iMacs, and promotions such as the current Back to School program will drive strong sequential growth in iMac shipments for the current quarter, perhaps doubling quarter-over-quarter to one million units. The third calendar quarter is typically very strong for Apple's Mac segment with much of the world in the midst of back to school shopping.
Less than two weeks before Intel announces new desktop Skylake processors, likely to be used in future Macs, at the Gamescom trade show in Germany on August 5, FanlessTech has leaked an Intel slide deck that offers a closer look at some of the performance enhancements the next-generation processors will deliver for both desktop computers and notebooks.

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The leaked slides reveal that Skylake processors will provide a 10%-20% CPU performance boost in single and multi-threaded applications, with lower power consumption, and 30% faster Intel HD integrated graphics performance on average compared to current-generation Broadwell processors. The improved energy efficiency will also result in up to 30% longer battery life.

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The specific performance improvements to the four main Skylake families are outlined below based on preliminary data, with the MacBook model appropriate for each chip listed in parentheses:

- Y-Series (MacBook): Up to 17% faster CPU, up to 41% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 1.4 hours longer battery life
- U-Series (MacBook Air): Up to 10% faster CPU, up to 34% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 1.4 hours longer battery life
- H-Series (MacBook Pro): Up to 11% faster CPU, up to 16% faster Intel HD graphics, up to 80% lower silicon power
- S-Series (iMac): Up to 11% faster CPU, up to 28% faster Intel HD graphics, 22% lower TDP (thermal design power)

Apple refreshed the MacBook Air and 13" Retina MacBook Pro with the latest Broadwell processors in March, but the refreshed 15" Retina MacBook Pro released in May remains powered by two-year-old Haswell architecture due to the lack of quad-core Broadwell processors appropriate for the notebook at the time.

Given that Intel announced a trio of Core i7 processors appropriate for the 15" Retina MacBook Pro just weeks later, and both the iMac and Mac mini still have Haswell processors, it is plausible that Apple has chosen to skip Broadwell processors entirely and release Skylake-based Macs in late 2015 or early 2016 -- and the jump from Haswell to Skylake would deliver an even higher performance boost.

Taiwanese blog DigiTimes, which has a hit-and-miss track record at reporting on Apple's upcoming product plans, says that Intel is planning to launch 18 new Skylake processors for notebooks in the fourth quarter, starting in October. The mid-range and high-end processors could be used in the next-generation 12-inch MacBook, MacBook Air and Retina MacBook Pro.
In a new research note outlining his predictions for Apple's recently completed financial quarter and beyond, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo shares his thinking about some of Apple's upcoming product plans that will provide sales momentum in the latter portion of the year.

- Apple Watch: Kuo remains conservative about the Apple Watch, pegging Apple's second quarter shipments at roughly 3.9 million and growing to 5.5 million in the current quarter as supply shortages ease and availability expands to more countries. As a result, he believes it will be difficult for Apple to reach Wall Street consensus estimates for 15 million units total through the end of the year, though analyst estimates have seen wide variations and Apple is indicated it will not be reporting Apple Watch unit sales in its financial results.

Notably, Kuo believes Apple could launch the Apple Watch Sport in new color options to match iPhone 6s colors later this year, anodizing the watch's aluminum casing with yellow and rose gold. Kuo and other sources have previously pointed to a new iPhone color (reportedly rose gold) and Kuo indicated months ago that Apple could use new casing options for the Apple Watch later this year.

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- iPhone: Kuo believes Apple shipped roughly 54.2 million iPhones during the second calendar quarter, and he predicts that number will fall to 40.1 million in the current quarter as sales slow ahead of the "iPhone 6s" launch and shipments of the new device may get off to a somewhat slow start due to "low yield of Force Touch."

- iPad: Apple's iPad sales continue to slide, with Kuo predicting the company shipped just 8.8 million in the current quarter. He believes a thinner and lighter iPad mini that is essentially a smaller version of the iPad Air 2 could begin shipping at the tail end of the quarter, helping boost overall shipments to 11 million units during the third calendar quarter. Apple's iPad launches typically come in October, however, so shipments may not begin until the fourth quarter. In line with a recent report claiming Apple may not introduce a new iPad Air this year, Kuo does not mention any pending updates to that device. He also does not address the even larger "iPad Pro" that has been rumored to launch later this year.

- Mac: Kuo predicts strong Mac shipments of 5.3 million units for the second quarter, rising to over 5.8 million in the current quarter, which is traditionally Apple's best quarter on the strength of back to school sales. He sees Apple releasing new iMacs late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter, helping to sustain Mac demand.

Kuo has a solid track record based on information from Apple's supply chain, but he does occasionally make incorrect predictions. As a result, some caution should be taken with these predictions.
Apple's newest OS X El Capitan beta, released on Tuesday, contains code that may hint at some upcoming Apple product updates. Shared by Pierre Dandumont (via 9to5Mac), the code references a Retina display with a 4096 x 2304 resolution, potentially referring to a future 21.5-inch Retina iMac with a 4K resolution.

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There's also a mention of Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200, the graphics chipset that accompanies Intel's newest line of Broadwell processors. Intel Iris Pro Graphics 6200 and a Broadwell/Skylake processor could potentially be destined for a 4K 21.5-inch Retina iMac, but the chipset is also suitable for a number of notebooks. There's a further mention of AMD Radeon M380 - M395X graphics, which could be used in high-end iMac models.

Apple has updated its 27-inch iMac with a 5K Retina resolution, but the 21.5-inch iMac has thus far remained untouched as Apple has had to wait on appropriate chips for the machine. Apple's plans for the 21.5-inch iMac remain unclear, as Intel has only released two desktop-class Broadwell chips and does not plan to release additional desktop chips. For that reason, a 21.5-inch Retina iMac update could still be months off should Apple opt to wait for Broadwell's successor, Skylake.

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In addition to pointing towards a potential 21.5-inch iMac upgrade, code in the latest El Capitan beta also hints at a revamped Remote with a multi-touch trackpad that supports scrolling, a dedicated Bluetooth chip, and audio support, potentially for Siri commands. Details on the remote, which will likely accompany the upcoming Apple TV, were first shared in May.
Apple has determined that a small number of 3TB hard drives used in late 2012 27-inch iMacs sold between December 2012 and September 2013 may fail under certain conditions. The company has initiated a replacement program to replace affected hard drives free of charge through Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP).

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Apple is contacting affected iMac owners that provided a valid email address during product registration to inform them about the new replacement program. iMac owners can check if they are affected by entering the computer's serial number on Apple's support website, and visit the Genius Bar, locate an AASP or contact Apple Technical Support to initiate the replacement process.

Apple advises that customers who paid to have their hard drive repaired contact the company for a refund. The replacement program covers affected iMac models until December 19, 2015, or three years from the affected iMac's original date of sale, depending on whichever is longer. Read about the iMac replacement program on Apple's support website for further details.

Apple announced a similar replacement program in mid-2011 for select 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMacs sold between May and July of that year with Seagate 1TB hard drives that could also fail under certain conditions, later expanding the program to include a much broader timeframe. That replacement program expired on July 23, 2013 after being extended for a year. Apple also launched a repair program for early MacBook models in 2010.
Apple today announced updates to its 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display lineup and a new $1,999 configuration of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K Display, confirming a recent rumor that said new models of the computers would be released as early as Wednesday. The refreshed MacBook Pro and iMac models are available through the Apple Store, Apple Online Store and authorized resellers beginning today.

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The new 15-inch MacBook Pro gained all the expected updates similar to its 13-inch sibling: a Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage, longer battery life, and better graphics. The new MacBook Pro comes in 2.2GHz and 2.5GHz configurations for $1,999 and $2,499 respectively. Both configurations come with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB memory, and Intel Iris Pro Graphics cards, with the higher-end 2.5GHz model gaining expected boosts in flash storage and memory.

Given that the necessary Broadwell chips are not yet available, the new 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac still have Intel's fourth-generation Haswell processors. Based on the average product cycle for the MacBook Pro and iMac, Apple may choose to skip Broadwell processors and use next-generation Skylake processors for the next versions of the notebook and all-in-one desktop computer respectively. Those models are unlikely to be released until late 2015 at the earliest.
“The response to the new MacBook and updated 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display has been amazing, and today we are thrilled to bring the new Force Touch trackpad, faster flash storage and longer battery life to the 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Customers love the groundbreaking iMac with Retina 5K display, and now with a new lower starting price, even more people can experience the best desktop we’ve ever made.”
The iMac line that received an update today was a new $1,999 configuration of the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display. The new model is a 3.3GHz configuration with a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, and 1TB hard drive. Both the 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac are available to purchase right now from Apple's online store, with most of the models sitting at an estimated shipping time of between 1 and 3 business days as of announcement time.
Apple fans waiting for updates to the 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac may get good news sooner than expected, with MacG.co [Google Translate] reporting on Monday that updates to both models are expected as soon as this Wednesday.

The website cites an unnamed source who has provided accurate information on a number of occasions in the past, but provides no further details regarding the exact specs and upgrades that could go into the two new computers. Given that the 13-inch MacBook Pro was updated back in March with the expected processing and graphics boosts, as well as a new Force Touch trackpad, it's safe to say the new 15-inch model should receive similar upgrades.

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As MacG.co points out and we have discussed in recent days, shipping times for the 15-inch MacBook Pro have been slipping, sparking speculation of a WWDC reveal for updated models.

It is unclear exactly what processors will be included in the new MacBook Pro, as Intel's timeline for Broadwell chips had previously estimated a July-August release for chips appropriate for the machine. Intel did, however, quietly launch a few higher-end chips in the Broadwell family two weeks ago, suggesting production may in fact be ahead of schedule.

The site doesn't touch much on the iMac update, beyond pointing out that the only model with a delayed shipping estimate is the higher-end non-retina 27-inch iMac with a 3.4 GHz processor. We noted slipping shipping estimates on iMacs a month ago, but while most of the models returned to "in stock" status shortly after, it now appears Apple has indeed been drawing down stock ahead of this week's update.

Delayed shipping times in the weeks ahead of a major event like WWDC generally appear as good indicators of what product categories may be getting an update, but given recent updates to the MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, the release of the new MacBook, and the pending 15-inch MacBook Pro and 27-inch iMac updates, Apple could once again have a software-focused WWDC keynote similar to last year unless it decides to show off an update to the Mac Pro.
For the past several weeks, high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro shipping times have been quietly slipping, first to one to two weeks and then to two to three weeks, sparking questions from MacRumors readers about whether a 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro update is imminent.

While it's true we're approaching the Worldwide Developers Conference in June, where Apple often announces new products, Broadwell chip availability remains an issue that makes it unclear whether we might get a refresh announcement at the event.

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We have heard no word on the status of Broadwell chips appropriate for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro for several months. The last update on the chips came from a roadmap released in the summer of 2014, which suggested Broadwell chips appropriate for the notebook would be released in July or August of 2015.

In recent weeks, Intel has started shipping a small handful of desktop Broadwell chips, but chips that would be used in the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and the iMac are not yet shipping out.

The desktop-class Broadwell chips that are currently shipping were also given prospective July/August 2015 release timelines, so their arrival does potentially herald the imminent release of Broadwell chips that would succeed the existing Crystalwell chips in the 2014 Retina MacBook Pro. If these chips are going to ship out earlier than the prospective July/August timeline, it's possible Apple could make a Retina MacBook Pro update announcement at WWDC.

If the chips are not shipping until July or August of 2015, however, WWDC seems a bit premature for an announcement of a minor chip refresh that would not ship for several months, making a WWDC debut unlikely.

It's possible the shipping delays on the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro are due to resource reallocation rather than an imminent refresh. Apple's suppliers that produce the Retina MacBook Pro are also responsible for assembling the Apple Watch and the MacBook, so the delays that we're seeing may be a combination of workers being rerouted to work on more pressing products and low demand for the high-end Retina MacBook Pro.

It's worth noting that the high-end iMac is also seeing similar delays, with a shipping estimate of one to two weeks. The high-end iMac is in the same situation as the Retina MacBook Pro -- chips appropriate for an update are not yet available. Furthermore, chip roadmaps call into question whether there will be Broadwell chips available for Apple's non-Retina 27-inch iMacs at all.

Given the significant delays with Broadwell chips, their release timelines merge with the release timelines of Intel's next-generation Skylake chips and an investigation into Intel's release plans suggests that the company may jump directly to releasing Skylake chips in the third-quarter of 2015, bypassing Broadwell chips for certain machines all together.

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Roadmap for Intel's desktop chips

As an example, the successor to the Core i5-4670 chip used in the low-end 27-inch iMac is the Core i5-4690 used in the low-end 27-inch Retina iMac, and the successor to that chip appears to be the Skylake Core i5-6600, suggesting a potential refresh for the non-Retina iMac might use that Skylake chip rather than the older Broadwell chip. Any upgrades to the 27-inch Retina iMac will also use Skylake chips rather than Broadwell chips.

Processor upgrades for the 21-inch iMac are a bit murkier as the chips used in those machines have no Skylake equivalents at this point in time, so it's tougher to speculate about potential chip successors Apple could use. It's also worth noting that the close proximity of Skylake and Broadwell chip releases could see Apple waiting for Skylake chips not only for the iMac, but also for the Retina MacBook Pro.

The major takeaway from the increased iMac and Retina MacBook Pro shipping estimates is that the Broadwell delays have thrown Apple's upgrade cycle into disarray, making it difficult to determine when we might see an update due to all the variables involved. If Apple chooses to go with a minor Broadwell update for the high-end 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and those chips ship soon, we could very well see an announcement at WWDC.

If, however, those chips are not ready or if Apple should choose to forego Broadwell in favor of Skylake for a more substantial update, it's unlikely we'll see a WWDC refresh announcement for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro. iMac updates are even more difficult to pin down, but it seems unlikely a refresh is imminent.
Apple today released an iMac Graphics Update for users of the more recent iMacs, fixing an issue that caused the computers to freeze up after viewing very large JPEG Files.

Affected iMacs include the late 2014 27-inch Retina iMac, the late 2013 21.5-inch iMac, and the late 2013 27-inch iMac.

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Apple has also released an accompanying support document that describes the issue in more detail, suggesting the problem occurs when opening a large JPEG image in Finder or Preview on OS X Yosemite 10.10.3.
If you're using using OS X Yosemite v10.10.3 and one of the following iMac models, viewing certain very large JPEG (.jpg) images in the Finder or Preview can cause your iMac to briefly stop responding, display a black screen, and restart to a message that your computer restarted because of a problem.
People who own one of these three iMacs are encouraged to update their machines right away to fix the bug.