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New iMac - Revenge of the Chin


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#1 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 12:43 PM

New iMacs are out. Don't look great for gaming (identical performance to the current crop of M1 machines). Decent features for home/office use (better screen, mics, camera, speakers, quieter, etc.). 21.5" and 27" intel models are dead (EDIT: actually you can still order them). Now there is only a 24" model with many color options (throwback to the iMac G3 days)

Most importantly the chin has survived another generation and will be around for years to come. I don't hate the chin but seeing as the logic board is around the size of a RAM stick, they could have 100% gotten rid of the chin somehow. I guess they consider it to be a part of the iMacs design DNA or something.

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#2 ozzy

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 01:15 PM

I wonder if they are going to re-introduce a more powerful version as an iMac Pro when they have the next more powerful chipset available. I thought I saw in the graphic they briefly flashed up showing their full Mac product line that they still had the Mac Pro, 27" iMac, and 16" MBP (all intel) on the right side of the graphic (with the Mac mini, 13" MBP, MacBook Air, and new iMac - all M1 - on the left side). So I wonder if they are keeping the 27" iMac around for now until they have something more powerful to replace it with. They also made all the performance characteristics to the 21.5" iMac explicitly, not the 27" one.

#3 Janichsan

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 01:22 PM

View PostSneaky Snake, on 20 April 2021 - 12:43 PM, said:

Most importantly the chin has survived another generation and will be around for years to come. I don't hate the chin but seeing as the logic board is around the size of a RAM stick, they could have 100% gotten rid of the chin somehow. I guess they consider it to be a part of the iMacs design DNA or something.
Might also be thermal reasons. Without the "chin", the logic board would have been placed behind the screen backlighting, which also creates heat (at least some). Considering that the M1 Mac mini already can be pushed to operate at the thermal limit, without that extra heat source, this might have posed some limitations.

I'm very disappointed with the connectivity: only two TB 3 ports in the base model and two extra USB(-C) 3 ports in the larger ones (plus that weird Gigabit Ethernet in the power cord) is rather lackluster.

View Postozzy, on 20 April 2021 - 01:15 PM, said:

I wonder if they are going to re-introduce a more powerful version as an iMac Pro when they have the next more powerful chipset available.
More powerful, larger version almost for sure, but almost for sure not as iMac "Pro". That concept was a stop-gap solution and is dead and buried. I guess that beefier version will come whenever the 16" MBPs are ready with the same chip.

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#4 RGoulder

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 01:22 PM

I just find the chin to be an odd choice when Apple removed the Apple logo from the front. It's just this big blank, now potentially colored, space. Good I guess for post it notes or stickers... But not sure what the point of the chin is.

The major flaw though is the size, 24 inches if you read the small print on Apple's website, "Actual diagonal screen size is 23.5 inches" that's a downgrade. I would have to go back in time to the Apple iMac 24-Inch "Core 2 Duo" 2008 to feel comfortable with that size screen. If this was the replacement for the 21.5 inch iMac fine but for now anyway it really replaces both.

#5 ozzy

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 01:25 PM

If you check apple.com they are still selling the 27" iMac Intel one (but not the 21.5" iMac Intel) so this is clearly a replacement for the 21.5" and not the whole lineup. So at some point we will get a 27" replacement (whether that is 27", 32" or something else).

#6 Cougar

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 01:46 PM

Don’t love the chin but very disappointed they didn’t take advantage of the redesign to add height adjustability. If there’s one function (rather than pure aesthetics) to make it so thin and light, it’s to support a flexible iMac lamp-like  stand…yet they didn’t do it.

No product red iMac, either. The pink one looks red on the back, but the pink ruins it.
Or black one… probably saving that for the 27”, but I really hate screens with white bezels.

Cool surprises: Touch ID in the Keyboard (hopefully they release this separately). Magnets in the power cord, which lends credibility  to rumors about MagSafe returning to MBP.  Braided power and lightning cables… hope these become standard.

#7 nick68k

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 03:09 PM

Hm...boringly, I don't have any strong feelings either way for this. Design-wise, I'm ok with the chin, although it seems a little spare without an Apple logo on it. And I agree that it's a pity that we still can't raise the screen height, but that's what mass market paperbacks are for, right?

As for the RJ45 socket in the power supply, giggles. It would have been courageous for Apple to stick a couple of USB ports in there, no? (And at least it still has a headphone jack!).
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#8 Tetsuya

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 05:35 PM

This is utterly underwhelming.  

The iMac really needed something better than the M1 to make it worthwhile over the Mini + a much better external display than the iMac.  It basically being the Mini-in-a-monitor with all the non-upgradeability that implies is just weak AF.  

The Non-upgradeability, for me, is just an absolute dealbreaker.

Edit:  

And, yeah, the giant chin is just.. ugly.  This is not an attractive machine with that giant chin.  They could simply have made the center of the back thicker (where the arm attaches) and put the guts in there.

#9 Tetsuya

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 09:45 PM

After further thought, i think they missed a huge opportunity for a revival of the Flowerpot concept.  Not necesssarily as large a base as the old one, but they could have had a compact base (think.. a cube, slightly smaller than the mini in footprint (x,y)) but a full cube for weight and extra internal space...  with a fully poseable arm and that same display with tiny bezels on all 4 sides.  

Give me one of those in an 8/4 or 12/4 or 12/6 core AS config with swappable RAM and a usable M.2 slot (either for the included drive so you can replace it, or keep the soldered-down main drive but let me add one) and id have ordered it so fast the sonic boom of my money leaving my wallet would have shattered windows.

#10 nick68k

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 10:03 PM

View PostTetsuya, on 20 April 2021 - 09:45 PM, said:

After further thought, i think they missed a huge opportunity for a revival of the Flowerpot concept.  Not necesssarily as large a base as the old one, but they could have had a compact base (think.. a cube, slightly smaller than the mini in footprint (x,y)) but a full cube for weight and extra internal space...  with a fully poseable arm and that same display with tiny bezels on all 4 sides.  

Tetsuya, I love you man (well, not really, you've never even bought me a drink), but that sounds like a terrible concept. You're going to need a large base to act as a counterweight for the screen, agreed...but, other than ballast to stop the damn thing toppling over, what are you going to put in there? It sounds like it'd mostly be empty space and a waste of materials. And shipping costs.
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#11 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 20 April 2021 - 10:08 PM

It is replacing the 21.5 iMac, which was mostly garbage for specs anyways so it is still a substantial upgrade in that regard (compared to the model it replaces).

As others have mentioned, they are still selling the 27 Intel iMac so that means they likely have a replacement for it coming soon. The 27 iMac was actually an extremely powerful machine, packing up to a 10 core i9 and a 5700XT with 16GB of VRAM. I’ve bought several of them for some clients who do CAD work that want to stay on macOS but don’t want to shell out for a Mac Pro.

They almost certainly have a higher end iMac and higher end MBP coming with a M1X/M2 chip.
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#12 Thain Esh Kelch

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 12:22 AM

I like it. Bigger screen, much faster, gorgeous colors, same price!

I don't mind the chin at all, but I do miss the Apple logo. :) Machine is pretty ugly from the side, but there's a limit to what you can do with a machine this thin of course. And you won't be looking much at the side anyway.

I look forward to see what they do with the 27-30" model, as that is clearly going to be the power house, as before.
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#13 Camper-Hunter

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 02:28 AM

View Postnick68k, on 20 April 2021 - 03:09 PM, said:

As for the RJ45 socket in the power supply, giggles. It would have been courageous for Apple to stick a couple of USB ports in there, no? (And at least it still has a headphone jack!).

The fact there is an external power supply in the first place boggles the mind, only to be able to make the iMac thinner. Apple must get professionnal help to cure their anorexia on desktop machines, which is getting ridiculous. And this won't help with clutter: having one less component lying around seems more useful to me than saving some iMac depth.

#14 Sneaky Snake

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 07:37 AM

Quote

Give me one of those in an 8/4 or 12/4 or 12/6 core AS config with swappable RAM and a usable M.2 slot (either for the included drive so you can replace it, or keep the soldered-down main drive but let me add one) and id have ordered it so fast the sonic boom of my money leaving my wallet would have shattered windows.

That would be amazing, although I'm not sure the swappable RAM is possible now that they have moved to a full SoC setup. RAM is built directly into the chip and is shared by both the CPU and GPU. Gives huge performance gains over normal RAM, but also means no user swappable RAM. I'm really curious how they will address the swappable RAM thing when it comes to the Mac Pro when that gets an Apple Silicon update.
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#15 Matt Diamond

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 02:02 PM

Is 8 GB RAM the only amount available?
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#16 Janichsan

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 03:09 PM

View PostMatt Diamond, on 21 April 2021 - 02:02 PM, said:

Is 8 GB RAM the only amount available?
16 GB are available optional. For the usual Apple fee.

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#17 Frost

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 03:41 PM

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 21 April 2021 - 02:28 AM, said:

The fact there is an external power supply in the first place boggles the mind, only to be able to make the iMac thinner. Apple must get professionnal help to cure their anorexia on desktop machines, which is getting ridiculous. And this won't help with clutter: having one less component lying around seems more useful to me than saving some iMac depth.

The Mac mini I could excuse having an external power brick — and it doesn't need one! The iMac having one though is just plain goofy.
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#18 Tetsuya

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 06:51 PM

View Postnick68k, on 20 April 2021 - 10:03 PM, said:



Tetsuya, I love you man (well, not really, you've never even bought me a drink), but that sounds like a terrible concept. You're going to need a large base to act as a counterweight for the screen, agreed...but, other than ballast to stop the damn thing toppling over, what are you going to put in there? It sounds like it'd mostly be empty space and a waste of materials. And shipping costs.

The PSU for one thing.  Instead of a stupid-AF power brick.  Oh, and they charge extra for the one with the Ethernet plug in it.  WTF Apple.  

If they made it a 6” x 6” x 6” cube, and put the PSU in the unit and (if necessary) a simple stainless steel plate on the bottom, itd work just fine.  Then the ports could be accessible (that back-of-the-monitor crap is awful and always has been).  And these days they could use a completely poseable arm, not just the two points of motion like on the old Flowerpot (i still need to find someone who isn’t bad with a soldering iron so i can make my 20” flowerpot into a modern Mac).  

As much flak as Microsoft gets most of the time, the Surface desktop thing with the display that lays nearly flat was the direction that the iMac should have gone.  That base is smaller than the cube im suggesting and supports that entire monitor and arm assembly.  



#19 Tetsuya

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 06:59 PM

View PostCamper-Hunter, on 21 April 2021 - 02:28 AM, said:

The fact there is an external power supply in the first place boggles the mind, only to be able to make the iMac thinner. Apple must get professionnal help to cure their anorexia on desktop machines, which is getting ridiculous. And this won't help with clutter: having one less component lying around seems more useful to me than saving some iMac depth.

They didnt even have to make the whole thing thicker.  If there was a 7”x7” square bump out in the middle of the back (rounded corner design language included) that was just twice as thick as the rest of the monitor (which would still make even that part insanely thin) it would still look good, would likely eliminate the chin (though LTT seems to think The Chin is there for the speakers) and likely eliminate the need for an external brick.  

And you wouldnt have the cables for anything you plugged in just hanging down off one side of the display - they could be run down the support arm.  

View PostSneaky Snake, on 21 April 2021 - 07:37 AM, said:

That would be amazing, although I'm not sure the swappable RAM is possible now that they have moved to a full SoC setup. RAM is built directly into the chip and is shared by both the CPU and GPU. Gives huge performance gains over normal RAM, but also means no user swappable RAM. I'm really curious how they will address the swappable RAM thing when it comes to the Mac Pro when that gets an Apple Silicon update.

If that’s “the way” going forward, then likely thatll be the end of Macs for me.  

The one upgrade that has added longevity to every machine ive had (down to the point of just retiring a Core 2 Duo Mini from HTPC duty ~18 months ago only because it couldn’t output 4k) is a RAM upgrade.  

Locked-in RAM and/or paying Apple’s mind-shatteringly high prices to upgrade it well past what is necessary when you buy it (like, the only way to deal with it would be if i could get 32GB of RAM on a machine now - oh, but you cant!) is a deal killer for me.  

Id love it if my Apple products weren’t artifically-shortened-lifespan’ed eWaste waiting to happen.  (One reason im not really thrilled with iMacs is because the display will LONG outlive the machine and you can no longer re-use the display as you could in the past).  I dont want my upgrade path to be “throw it away and buy a brand new machine”.  

If thats what Apple wants from me as a consumer, then i guess ill be reduced to using just an iPad until ChromeOS finally does the two things i really need it to do as well as an iPad.  (‘Cause it already does all the other things just as well).  

Its increasingly obvious to me that Apple no longer wants me as a customer.  They want people who will mindlessly just dispose of the old one and buy a new one every few years, and that aint me.

#20 nick68k

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Posted 21 April 2021 - 08:45 PM

View PostTetsuya, on 21 April 2021 - 06:59 PM, said:


Its increasingly obvious to me that Apple no longer wants me as a customer.  They want people who will mindlessly just dispose of the old one and buy a new one every few years, and that aint me.

Yeah, I dunno. I can't speak for your experiences (obviously!), but I usually get 5-7 years of useful life out of Apple desktops and laptops as daily drivers. Then I hand them on to someone else who can make good use of them (in the past a parent, but nowadays friends or local organisations). But I concede your point; the days of easily upgradeable, consumer-level Apple hardware (external storage aside) are probably long gone. That said, the forthcoming ARM Mac Pros could be very, very interesting machines.
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