If you're wondering just how much more powerful Apple's M1 processor can get, a new report suggests we're going to find out with the release of the iMac Pro, the bigger version of the 24-inch M1 iMac.
According to a tweet by Dylandkt, the iMac Pro is getting a processor that goes beyond M1 Max. His tweet states that there will be a 12-core configuration to better suit the pros that the new Mac is targeting. The M1 Max currently tops out at 10 cores (8 performance and 2 efficiency).
Dylan doesn't provide details on how those 12 cores are allocated, but since it's a pro Mac, it's likely we could get a chip with 10 performance cores and 2 efficiency cores. Apple already has an 8-core version of the M1 Pro, but the M1 Max is only available with a 10-core CPU. It's not clear if Apple has turned off two of the core in the current M1 Max or if the iMac Pro will have a new architecture. Since cooling isn't as much of an issue in the stationary iMac, Apple could have a new chipset planned.
In a later tweet, Dylan adds that lower configuration options will still be available for those who don't need as much performance, which we're assuming means there will be iMac Pro models with an M1 Pro or a 10-core M1 Max processor like current MacBook Pro models.
On Sunday, Dylankt tweeted that the iMac Pro could be released this spring, but Apple has concerns about its production. However, it's almost certainly arriving this year according to rumors, with the worst case scenario being that its release is pushed to September. Pricing will presumably be in line with the MacBook Pro, which starts at US$1,999, thought the 12-core M1 Max option will likely be much higher.
A 12-core iMac Pro seems like an ideal fit that fills a gap between the M1 Max and the rumored processor for the ultra-high-end Mac Pro. Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reported last May that the Mac Pro could have a processor starting with 20 processing cores (16 performance cores, 4 efficiency), with options up to 40 core.