Apple yesterday crushed the hopes of anyone waiting for an Apple Silicon 27-inch iMac, breaking the company’s usual “we don’t comment on future products line” to specifically rule out the possibility.
But what hasn’t been ruled out is an iMac with a display larger than 27-inches – and I do very much believe one is coming …
While the company stopped short of making a direct statement, its confirmation to The Verge effectively amounts to the same thing:
Apple will not be making an Apple Silicon version of the 27-inch iMac to replace the Intel-equipped model that it discontinued in 2022.
The big question left unanswered, of course, is was Apple talking specifically about a 27-inch model, or about any larger-screened iMac?
The company’s comments around the new M3-powered 24-inch iMac don’t really help. As we noted prior to Apple’s disclosure, hardware engineering lead John Ternus strongly hinted that this was intended as a replacement for both 21.5-inch and 27-inch models.
“You’ll love seeing everything come to life on the beautiful, large, and immersive 24-inch 4.5K Retina display. It’s the perfect size and resolution to replace both the 4K and the 5K Intel-based models,” Ternus said.
But was he saying that 24 inches ought to be enough for anybody? Or merely that this specific model is intended as a compromise between the two former sizes?
It could be argued a large-screened iMac isn’t needed
Certainly, Apple knows that there are people who want larger-screened desktops. But one argument it could make is that this is already available, in the form of either a Mac mini or Mac Studio with either a 27-inch Studio Display or 32-inch Pro Display XDR.
In principle, that’s a solid argument, offering greater flexibility than a 27-inch iMac line-up.
Have very undemanding computing needs, but like the real estate of a 27-inch display? No problem: A base model Mac mini ($599) plus a Studio Display ($1599) gets you that for $2,198.
Need more processing power than a Mac mini can offer? Fine: Choose between the $1999 base model Mac Studio, or the Ultra-powered $3,999 version (with upgrade options all the way up to $8,799) and then add the Studio Display.
Need both processing power and a high-spec monitor for accurate color work? Again, no issue: the Mac Studio of your choice paired to a Pro Display XDR.
In particular, separating out processing power from display capabilities is very handy. While photo and video pros may want both, there are other applications (like some scientific number-crunching) which needs raw power but no fancy display, and there will be photographers whose workflow is just fine with moderate computing power but who need a high-spec monitor.
An all-in-one (AIO) device is more convenient for those who need to work on-site with their Mac, but Apple could again point to the fact that the M3 Max MacBook Pro offers desktop-level performance in a mobile package. Indeed, there were audiovisual pros viewing the M1 Max-powered 16-inch MacBook Pro as a viable alternative to a Mac Pro. So carry a monitor and a MBP and you effectively have a powerful iMac in an only slightly less convenient package.
So there are plenty of options for those who’d ideally like a bigger iMac.
But people still want one
But … There are still those who love the iMac format, want a display larger than 24 inches, and don’t want to mess around with separate units. You have only to read our comments section to see that plenty are not happy about Apple dropping the 27-inch iMac.
“So, my choices here are all suboptimal: a. Downgrade to a smaller display or b. use separate monitor and base unit, for me a downgrade”
“A Studio/Mac-mini with a monitor is not an iMac”
“I’ll be sticking with my 27″ iMac for a long time it looks like. I really like the All-in-one form factor”
“The all in one desktop design is what brought to and kept me with Apple since 2008”
“My company is still holding out for a larger iMac”
“Speaking as a graphic design teacher, I like having the computer and screen in an all-in-one form. My classroom uses 27In Macs from 2017. I really want to upgrade to silicon.”
So my money’s on a >27-inch iMac
The Cupertino company appears to have been very specific in saying that the 27-inch iMac is dead, not that a large-screen iMac is.
Apple doesn’t always make logical decisions, but neither does it like to leave money on the table.
I’m convinced that a >27-inch iMac line-up would find plenty of buyers, and I’m equally convinced that Apple has plans to take their money. Maybe it’ll be a 30-inch model, maybe a 32-inch, maybe some other number-higher-than-27, but do I think it’s coming – how about you?
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