“Oh, and we’re also upgrading the iMac. It’s got an M3 chip now. Whatever.” OK, Apple didn’t quite announce the new iMac M3 upgrade like that during its ‘Scary Fast’ event )(where we also got new MacBook Pro laptops).
But it might as well have. Long-time fans of Apple’s all-in-one have long hankered after a new and exciting ‘pro’ unit. They want a bigger screen! Higher-end chips! A moody dark enclosure that screams business! They didn’t get those things.
In fact, they didn’t get much else either. Even the accessories haven’t changed. While Apple reluctantly shifted its iPhone 15 series over to the hallowed ground of USB-C this September, its desktop keyboard, trackpad and mouse are still lumbered with Lightning. And the not-so-‘Magic’ Mouse still needs to be upended like a stranded turtle to charge the thing.
Despite this, the M3 iMac feels perfect for me. I used to own a powerful 27in Intel behemoth. I fretted about downsizing to a ‘mere’ 24.5in display. I was concerned the white bezel would be a distraction. I thought the colours were weak. Then I got a purple one in for review and was smitten to the point I bought my own.
iMacnificent M3 upgrade
The M1 iMac has been a great machine. It’s been solid enough for everything I do, from smashing out words to making music with more virtual instrument tracks than strictly necessary. It looks great. The camera’s a billion times better than the one in the Studio Display. And now this new one’s twice as fast, no more expensive, and in the same colours. No Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian for this iMac. (Yet.) I’m itching to upgrade.
But is the iMac M3 upgrade perfect for everyone else? Clearly not, given how some folks are angrily ranting online about the ‘missing’ iMac Pro. So how about another question: Is the iMac M3 upgrade perfect for most people? There, I think the answer is yes. And in the current market, I wonder whether Apple’s single-model focus for the modern iMac is the reason it exists at all. And if this gives the iMac a fighting chance of longer-term survival.
It’s easy to forget the computer that arguably saved Apple – the original iMac – existed in a very different world. In 1998, most computers were ugly beige desktops. The iMac was a capable, friendly alternative that didn’t look out of place in your home. You didn’t want to hide it away.
iMac to the future
These things are equally true for the current iMac – but it exists in a world of portables. People today are far more likely to own a MacBook than a desktop. If they need a larger display, they’ll connect one, rather than buy a large display and computer as a single entity. This means the iMac represents a portion of a smallish fraction of total Mac sales. It might be the world’s best-selling all-in-one, but all-in-ones are an increasingly rare breed.
There are other possibilities. Perhaps the M3 upgrade just made sense in terms of Apple resources. Or maybe the lack of change should instil fear, inferring the iMac has no future after this revision. After all, Apple is not a sentimental company – it eradicates even the most famous brand if it no longer makes sense. That thought gives me chills.
For now, though, the M3 iMac works for me. Or at least it will do when I buy one. Just don’t tell my M1 iMac – I don’t want it gaining sentience and leading all my other ageing technology in a revolt that leaves me having to write my next column on a rickety chalkboard propped up in the Stuff editor’s front garden.