New iMacs could sport Xeon E3 chips, ECC RAM, Thunderbolt 3/USB-C, new keyboard & more

Following up on a comment from Apple’s Phil Schiller regarding upcoming iMacs with pro-grade features, Pike’s Universum today shared a few specifics on what said upgrades might entail. Citing a “pretty accurate” source, the blog claims next-gen iMacs will feature Intel’s more powerful Xeon E3 chips with up to sixty-four gigabytes of Error-Correcting Code (ECC) RAM, faster flash storage with capacities up to two terabytes, Thunderbolt 3, USB-C and more.

These upcoming high-end iMacs should use Intel’s unreleased Xeon E3-1285 v6 chip that will likely include updated Intel HD Graphics. Although the machines are said to ship with 16GB of RAM, users will be able to upgrade the memory to 32GB or 64GB.

By comparison, existing iMacs ship with 8GB of standard (non-ECC) RAM that can be expanded to 16GB or 32GB. The inclusion of EEC RAM that detects and repairs data errors is another sign that these all-in-ones will be pitched heavily to creative pros.

Like the current models, the new iMacs will use NVMe PCIe-based SSDs or Fusion Drives up to 2TB. Other rumors features include beefier AMD graphics to support virtual reality and pro apps (versus AMD Radeon R9 GPUs in the current 27-inch iMac model), Thunderbolt 3 ports and USB-C Gen 2.

“Apple is also working on a 8K display for the next generation of Mac Pro’s, which will be much more like a PC with the next generation EFI BIOS,” reads the report. The machines should be unveiled in late October alongside a brand new keyboard.

Prior rumors have indicated that a next-generation Apple keyboard may incorporate a Touch Bar and Touch ID, like the new MacBook Pro. Apple might even use a dynamic keyboard technology from Australian startup Sonder to create an iMac keyboard with a small e-ink display on each key. This would let users quickly change their keyboard layout on the fly, use per-app shortcuts akin to Touch Bar and so forth.

The most popular Apple desktop with pros is an iMac—hardly a surprise knowing many pro customers have been moving to iMacs due to the lack of Mac Pro updates.

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Apple’s software engineering chief Craig Federighi says the flagship 5K iMac is being used for anything from audio and video editing to graphics to arts and more.

All those things that would’ve previously absolutely required the Mac Pros of old, are being “well-addressed” by iMacs, he said, adding that there’s still even further Apple can take iMac as a high performance, pro system.

“We think that form factor can address even more of the pro market,” he said.

Earlier this week, the company refreshed Mac Pros.

In an unprecedented move, the Cupertino company also pre-announced a next-generation Mac Pro with a highly modular design and Apple-branded external displays, both of which should release some time next year.

Source: Pike’s Universum