The new iMac is here, and of course, it’s sporting the fancy new M1 processor that’s inside everything Apple these days. That’s great news all around, but I have a feeling that Apple’s got something even bigger up its sleeve for the real creative set.
Believe me, as someone who’s wringing the last bit of life out of what is now the last-generation iMac, I’d like the new 24-inch model to be the upgrade for my photography needs, but smart money doesn’t make it seem that way. Let’s start with some of the key omissions that signal that this may not be the machine Apple’s aiming at creatives that need the extra power.
I love the screen on my MacBook Pro (when it’s not having a flex cable issue, natch). The color accuracy and brightness are top notch. But it’s only 13 inches, and having the extra elbow room on a 27-inch iMac to edit photos or look at spreadsheets in full is huge, literally and figuratively. I suspect photographers won’t so readily give up those extra 3 inches, even for a newer generation machine. I sure don’t want to.
Resolution is also down a notch - while it’s higher than the 4K of the outgoing 21.5-inch model, it’s still not quite 5K of the current 27-inch model. Makes sense because of the screen size, but perhaps Apple could have worked some magic with the pixels here to get that kind of resolution in a smaller package?
While it’s hard to get detailed tech specs out of Apple when it comes to computer guts, the omission of a dedicated graphics card signals that this iMac is every bit the first-generation machine that the M1 Mac Mini and MacBook laptops are. While the onboard graphics processing is by all accounts pretty good, there’s no doubt that creatives will want more. How is something integrated onto the main chip supposed to handle 12K footage from the latest 360 cameras?
Configurability doesn’t seem to go beyond what’s offered on the other models either (between memory and hard drive upgrades), and unfortunately, following the examples of the laptops, the SD card slot is gone. Photographers still really, really need those. I’ve accepted that USB-A ports are gone.
Lack of Professional Colors
Perhaps the biggest tipoff that more “professional” models aimed at multimedia folks are coming down the road is the colors available. While there’s the standard silver and a multitude of much more fun colors, there’s a distinct lack of Space Gray or black color options.
The darker color of the previous generation iMac indicated the Pro model, and so, perhaps we’ll soon see the same convention pop up in the new Macs.
Will You Get One?
Are any of these things dealbreakers for you? Will you replace your old iMac with the new 24-inch models? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.