New M2 iMac could be a small upgrade – and at the cost of the best MacBook ever made

iMac (24-inch, 2021)
(Image credit: Future)

It looks like our wait for a new 24-inch iMac could finally be over – but the latest rumor means I won’t be getting too excited – yet.

As 9to5Mac reports, it looks like Apple is planning on updating the now two-year-old 24-inch iMac lineup from the original M1 chip to the current M2 and M2 Pro chips.

The rumor comes from Japanese site MacOtakara, which has found that customers wanting to configure the M1 version of the iMac with higher memory and larger storage capacity are seeing delays to their orders. This has led MacOtakara, a rather respected source when it comes to Apple hardware, to suggest this could be a hint that Apple is preparing for a hardware revision – and that production of M1 chips – and the products that still use them – could be coming to an end.

This new rumor has stirred up mixed feelings for me. On the one hand, yay! Finally new iMacs, still some of the best all-in-one PCs you can buy! On the other hand, boo! What about the fabled M3 iMacs?

M2 will have to do

While the M1 iMac is certainly showing its age – so any update will be welcome – the fact that it looks like the new iMacs will come with M2 chips will be disappointing for anyone hoping for a major specs update.

In the devices we’ve seen using the latest chips from Apple, the M2 doesn’t offer a generational leap over the M1 when it comes to performance. Instead, it’s more of an incremental upgrade, and a lot of this is a testament to the quality of the M1 chip.

The M2 chip is also getting on, having first launched in June 2022. Because of that, a lot of people expected new iMacs to skip the M2 generation altogether, and launch with the M3 chip, which would likely offer a large performance increase over the M1.

Now, I wasn’t massively convinced that we’d see the M3 chip debut in an iMac – Apple is far more likely to show off the upcoming chip in a more mainstream product, such as a new MacBook Air. But this rumor, following on from stories we’ve heard about the M3 chip not coming any time soon, suggests that Apple is aware of the iMac’s aging status, so it wants to upgrade the iMac, but doesn’t want to wait until the M3 is ready.

To be fair, if this rumor is correct, as well as an iMac with the M2 chip, we’ll also get an iMac with the more powerful M2 Pro chip as well (much like the latest Mac mini (2023)), which does offer a bigger leap in performance, and offers more options for consumers, as there never was an iMac with the M1 Pro as an option.

iMac (24-inch, 2021) shown on top of a desk

(Image credit: Future)

End of the line for the M1?

Another thing that concerns me about this rumor is the suggestion that M1 production could be slowing down – and even ending.

This would be a shame as it’d mean the likely end of the one M1 product I still recommend to people – the MacBook Air (M1, 2020). This remains one of the best laptops you can buy, mainly because with every M2 MacBook that launches, its price drops, making what was once a brilliant-value laptop now even more of a bargain. At the price it currently goes for, there’s literally no other laptop that comes close.

However, if M1 iMacs are dropped, that only leaves the M1 MacBook Air – so this could be the beginning of the end for that fantastic MacBook. If that is the case, no amount of shiny new iMacs will make up for it, for me at least.

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Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.