New iMac Pro report says Apple's awesome mini-LED screen is back on board

The latest rumour is that the new iMac will have the MacBook Pro's screen as well as its processor, which didn't look certain

Apple iMac 2021 in red on grey background
(Image credit: Apple)

The new bigger iMac is travelling along a bumpy rumour road to its eventual existence. Maybe it was going to be called the iMac Pro, and maybe it wasn't. And maybe it was going to have an advanced mini-LED screen like the MacBook Pro 14-inch & 16-inch (2021) and iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2021), and then maybe it wasn't. And maybe it was going to arrive at Apple's spring event, and maybe it wasn't.

The latest news, from a mercifully reliable analyst, is that it will have the high-end mini-LED display, it will be called the iMac Pro, and it won't arrive at the next Apple Event. That's according to a report from Ross Young of Display Supply Chain Consultants (via 9to5Mac), who has a very strong track record with recent Apple releases. He says that the iMac Pro will arrive more like summer. "We thought it was coming in the spring, but we now hear it may be summer. Of course, it could be delayed further into the fall," he said.

Regarding the screen, Young says that while the larger iMac Pro will have a mini-LED screen, which will give it great HDR performance, it'll be slightly toned down from the screen in the iPad Pro and MacBook Pro. Not necessarily in brightness – that wasn't specified – but in the number of dimming zones.

The advantage of mini-LED is that it feature many, many more lights behind the LCD panel than a regular screen, and you can then control the dimming of sections of those mini-LEDs to enable more precise contrast and deeper black levels. The more individual dimming zones you have, the more precise your contrast between light and dark areas can be.

But more dimming zones is more expensive, and so is making bigger screens – so Young says that Apple will include fewer dimming zones in the iMac Pro's screen than you get from the iPad Pro or MacBook Pro.

That should be fine still, though: the iPad Pro features 2,500 individual dimming zones, but high-end mini-LED TVs get by with about 800 even at huge screen sizes. If Apple goes for 1,200 or 800 zones, it should still look hugely impressive for HDR – especially if Apple still goes for the 1,600 nits of peak brightness and 1,000 nits of full-screen brightness that its other HDR screens manage – it'll be like having one of the best TVs attached to your impressively powerful computer.

With the design expected to mimic the gorgeous 24-inch iMac (2021), this is going to be a very desirable desktop for creatives as well anyone who just wants something in the home office that's as good with movies as it is with compiling apps.

Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.