The M2 iMac may never appear: the smart money's on an M3 iMac next year

It looks like Apple plans to skip a generation of processors with its most stylish Mac and wait for the M3

Apple iMac 24-inch review
(Image credit: Apple)

I've loved the iMac since the very first one back in 1998. It put the "fun" into "functional", and while the M1 iMac can't possibly have the impact on design that the original iMac did – in a world of beige, its candy-coloured hues were a burst of brightness – it's still one of the most beautiful computers you can buy.

Unfortunately it's also getting on a bit. While other Macs are proudly powered by the M2 processor and its variants, the iMac is still on the M1 and has been since 2021. If you were hoping for an M2 upgrade this year, it looks like you're out of luck. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman is the latest voice in an increasingly loud chorus claiming that Apple's going to wait for the M3 before the iMac gets a significant update.

Should you buy the M1 iMac in 2023?

If you like it, sure! The M1 processor is fast – I'm writing this on an M1 MacBook Pro that doubles as a music studio, and it's a flying machine – and the iMac is a beautiful thing. But there are some limitations imposed by that M1 processor that means it might be wise to get another year out of your existing computer before plonking down your hard-earned cash on a new one.

The biggest limitation is ports: the standard configuration has just two. My Mac has the same, and it means I live in a world of dongles; I miss the expandability of my last, Intel-Powered iMac, and dongles spoil the smooth all-in-one-ness of the iMac's super-slim design.

There's also the limitations on memory. The M1 in the iMac is only available with up to 16GB of RAM, and it doesn't support additional memory because the RAM is part of the M1 itself. 16GB is fine for everyday computing, but power users may want more – and for that, you'll either need to wait for the M3 or forget about an all-in-one Mac. 

I'm not hugely surprised that Apple doesn't seem to be planning an M2 iMac. It seems to me that it's much more focused on its portables than on its all-in-one, with the iMac appearing fairly low down the to-do list. If I were to bet on when the iMac will get an upgrade, I'd say spring 2024.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (