While Apple refreshed both its MacBook Pro and 12-inch MacBook last year, it’s been quite a while since the company has released any major updates to its desktop line of Mac computers. Sure, at long last, the professional-oriented Mac Pro was updated just this morning. But aside from the last iMac with 5K Retina display, which was released back in 2015, and the last Mac Mini update which was released one year prior, all has been relatively quiet on the Mac front.
When Apple’s Senior Vice President of worldwide marketing, Phil Schiller, recently sat down with Daring Fireball’s John Gruber to discuss the future of the Mac, the pair briefly touched upon what Schiller described as a ‘Pro’ iMac of some sort that would be coming later on this year. While we’re not exactly sure what’s implied when he said ‘Pro’, it has certainly been a while since the iMac was last refreshed. Of course, rumors of a 2017 iMac refresh have been swirling for months now, although up until this point, we’d been led to believe they would only be modest upgrades — while Apple’s CEO Tim Cook also hinted that “great new desktops” are in the future for Apple.
“Apple has ‘great’ new iMacs in the pipeline, slated for release ‘this year’, including configurations specifically targeted at large segments of the pro market,” Schiller said, while adding that at least one of these forthcoming iMac models would be geared specifically towards the Pro segment of the market.
One could certainly argue that the iMac in its current form is already a “pro” machine, as it’s capable of carrying out fairly demanding tasks via its powerful Intel i5 CPUs. But what’s clear from Schiller’s statement is that the refreshed iMacs — or at least one variant of them — will perhaps boast some extra bells and whistles to satisfy the needs of even the most ardent power-users — especially those who may not be so keen on the idea of plunking down $3,000 or more for a Mac Pro, and then more for a display and peripherals to go along with it. So it could be, theoretically speaking, that a more advanced version of the iMac will launch this year featuring ‘Pro-like’ features, including hardware and/or software, perhaps, in an attempt to appeal to a larger segment of the market.
While the details about the future of iMac are scant, they’re certainly less vague than Schiller’s input on the future of the Mac Mini. When questioned about his company’s plans for the ultra-portable, light-weight Mac desktop that was last refreshed almost three years ago, Schiller said only that “I’ll say the Mac Mini is an important product in our lineup, and we weren’t bringing it up because it’s more of a mix of consumer with some pro use. The Mac Mini remains a product in our lineup, but nothing more to say about it today.”
Talk about vague, right? While it would certainly be nice to see a refreshed Mac Mini — perhaps featuring a more advanced CPU, GPU, and next-generation connectivity — be released at some point in the near future, Schiller’s statement could just as easily be inferred in the respect that Apple has no imminent plans to update its pint-sized desktop.