What the insides of the iMac 24-inch can tell us about the upcoming MacBook Pro

A tear-down of the new iMac gives us plenty of clues as to what the MacBook Pro M1X will offer

Apple iMac 24-in tear down by iFixit
(Image credit: iFixit)

The new iMac 24-inch is impressive for a number of reasons. Firstly, it features the Apple M1 chip, which offers class-leading performance, and secondly, its screen is super thin. Despite containing a full computer, the body is just 11.5mm thick (not including the stand) ­ – that’s roughly two iPads deep.

It manages this by storing the computer part in the chin rather than behind the display. This long thin space is still very compact. In fact, there’s probably less room than you would have inside a standard laptop.

While the first devices to feature the M1 chip just swapped out the Intel one, keeping the internals practically the same, the iMac 24-inch is the first model to have a complete redesign to work specifically with the new processor.

Apple iMac 24-in tear down

Apple iMac 24-in tear down by iFixit

(Image credit: iFixit)

So when iFixit produced its teardown of the iMac, it gave us the first real chance to see what Apple has done. And because the much-anticipated new MacBook Pro is expected to be a redesign too, it gives us a better idea of what to expect.

One of the first points of interest is the dual fan arrangement. While the MacBook Air M1 was completely fanless, the iMac features two fans to draw the heat away from the M1 chip. This could suggest that there is still performance to be gained by keeping the M1 cooler, or that a new M1X or M2 chip will give off more heat and this design is ready for that.

Perhaps both points are true. Either way, I think we can expect the fans to remain for the high-end MacBook Pro. Let’s just hope that they manage to keep the noise levels lower than on recent Intel MacBook Pros. When our very own Matt Bolton tested the iMac 24, he found that the fan noise is only noticeable when performance is really pushed.

Apple iMac 24-in tear down

Apple iMac 24-in tear down by iFixit

(Image credit: iFixit)

The logic board is the smallest to feature on an iMac. This contains the M1 chip as well as the memory, flash storage, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and power management. While I expect the MacBook Pro will not only feature a new M1X or M2 chip, but the RAM is also likely to available in greater capacities than the 8GB or 16GB offered here. Whether this will still be achieved with two slots – 2x 16GB or 2x32GB – or expanded to four is anyone’s guess.  

Finally, the iMac USB-C ports are not soldered to the logic board as with previous models. Instead, these easily connect and disconnect from the ultra-thin logic board. All this helps to fit the ports into the thin shell. If used on the new MacBook Pro it could allow for more connections in a very thin casing.

In all, this tear down proves that Apple has managed to create a very space efficient computer. This could result in a thinner MacBook Pro coming this summer, even with the dual fan arrangement. Certainly the 16-inch MacBook Pro will have as much, if not more, space inside than the iMac. This could result in more ports and maybe even a return of the SD slot.