Apple last updated its iMacs on 13 October 2015, bringing the Retina screen to the smaller Macs for the first time and equipping the larger models with new Skylake processor chips. Before that, you had to go back more than two years (if you don't include the cheaper iMac which Apple introduced in June 2014) to the last proper new iMac update, in September 2013, when Apple added the Haswell processor, new graphics, next-generation Wi-Fi and faster PCIe flash storage options.
New iMacs 2016 release date & new features rumours: When will new iMacs come out?
The last iMac update, as outlined above, was in October 2015, and it would be a surprise if Apple returned to this line less than 12 months later. Which appeared to rule out, despite the excitable hopes of some rumourmongers, WWDC 2016 - and indeed, Apple did not unveil the new iMac at its June event. (Although there wasplenty of news about the forthcoming macOS Sierra operating system, and what that means for your current Mac, if it can run the OS. Read our guide to macOS Sierra's new features for more info.)
So October 2016 is the most likely date for a new iMac launch, then? Not so fast.
Apple's yearly cycle is built around three major press events: autumn - usually September (new iPhones and iPads); spring - usually March (new iPhones and iPads, sometimes MacBooks and watches); and summer - usually June (WWDC - operating system updates, and occasional hardware). The iMac update in 2015 got its own smaller event, following a few weeks after the iPhone 6s reveal.
The iPhone 7 will probably launch in September 2016, and it's possible that Apple will lump new iMacs in with that event. Whether it does this, or updates the iMac at its own event, or an event dedicated to new Mac hardware in general, will depend on how major the hardware update is going to be. A separate event would imply that Apple has something big up its sleeve.
But bear in mind that, unlike the yearly or event twice-yearly update events we're used to for iOS devices, desktop Mac refreshes have frequently come several years apart. WWDC 2017 (which will take place in June next year) is therefore a possibility, and we may have to wait even longer than that.
Still, we will try to remain optimistic. Watch this space for clues and analyst predictions about the next iMac update as soon as they appear.
New iMacs 2016 rumours: Processor
Apple skipped Intel's much-delayed Broadwell processors and went straight from Haswell to Skylake for the 2015 update. Skylake uses the same 14nm manufacturing process as Broadwell, but brings even greater CPU and GPU performance, along with reduced power consumption. But what chips will appear in the next set of iMacs?
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.