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Ctrl+Alt+Delete: Where’s the new iMac, Apple?

OPINION: Apple’s been on a roll with updating many of its Mac products since the start of 2023, with the MacBook Pro and Mac Mini picking up notable spec bumps for the new year.

The MacBook Pro 2023 – which I am currently putting through its paces as I type this – picked up new connectivity options along with M2 Max and M2 Pro chips. The Mac Mini also picked up the M2 Pro chip and a cheaper M2 base version that feels like the ultimate student desktop computer.

Add those upgrades to a line-up that includes the fantastic MacBook Air M2 and the powerful Mac Studio and you’ve got a strong Mac proposition. There is an outlier though, and I am not talking about the Intel Mac Pro.

iMac 24-inch, M1 display on, playing back video

It’s the iMac that’s got me a little confused recently. For me, the iMac is up there with the iPhone and iPod as one of Apple’s most iconic products. Some of my earliest tech memories are of using those colourful iMacs at school or playing The Sims on an iMac at home, and they remain my favourite desktop all-in-one machine.

When Apple rethought the iMac in 2021 with an injection of colour and fun that had been missing for a decade or more, I thought it would be a new beginning for the series. I greatly enjoyed my time with the M1 iMac 24-inch, finding it to be the perfect choice for a family or a small flat that didn’t have space for an eyesore of a machine.

It received criticism from some, notably for the limited movement of the display and the white bezels – but I felt these missed the target audience of the machine.

We’re now a few years on from that dramatic refresh and, well, that same machine remains on sale on Apple’s site for the same price. The same M1 chip sits inside and there’s no option for a larger screen or a more powerful variant.

Don’t get me wrong, the M1 chipset remains very capable – but I find it a little hard to recommend that someone spend over £1000/$1000 on the iMac when the Mac Mini comes with a newer, more capable M2 version for $599/£649 and the buyer can decide what size screen they want and which accessories they choose.

Mac Mini and Studio Display

The Mac Mini also improves on the iMac by offering a higher-end, M2 Pro option for those requiring more power. There have been iMac Pro models in the past and I don’t see any reason why Apple couldn’t offer a similar choice for the iMac – pay less for something more basic, or stump up extra cash for a more powerful machine.

There have been rumours floating around that Apple might be waiting until the M3 chip to upgrade the iMac, and that this might not be until late 2023 or 2024, but this feels like a misstep when an M2 and M2 Pro iMac would make so much sense.

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is our weekly computing-focussed opinion column where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon.

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