So… Should You Buy A New iMac?

Earlier this week, Apple did a spec bump to their iMac lineup. The new 27″ iMac got these changes:

  • They now use 10th Generation Intel processors
  • SSDs are now the norm as spinning hard disks and Apple’s half spinning hard disk, half SSD Fusion Drive is dead.
  • You get a multitude of graphics chip options from AMD
  • Apple finally figured out that Zoom video calls is a thing and updated the webcam to 1080p.
  • The microphone and speakers have been improved.
  • Apple’s T2 security chip is now on board.
  • You now have the option for a nano texture display to cut down on glare. There is a similar option on the $5000 USD Pro Display XDR.
  • Up to 128GB of RAM, compared with up to 64GB with the previous generation.
  • Up to 8TB of SSD storage, compared with up to 2TB with the previous generation.
  • An option for 10GB Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 5.0

And the 21″ iMac should just be completely ignored. Why? The updates on that are pretty minimal. The 21″ iMac now comes standard with SSDs across the line for the first time. Customers can still choose to configure their 21.5-inch iMac with a Fusion Drive. Why you would do so is beyond me.

Then there’s the iMac Pro. It is bizarre the only real change is the base configuration now comes with the 10-core 3.0 GHz Xeon W chip that was previously an upgrade option. None of the options that are on the new 27″ iMac appear on the iMac Pro, some of which are pro quality items like the new speakers, microphone and nano texture display aren’t available. I don’t get it.

Now the 27″ iMac is a pretty compelling product. But let’s deal with the elephant in the room. Why the hell would you buy one with Apple Silicon Macs coming out later this year? I am sure that Apple considered that this iMac may become a victim of the Osbourne Effect. So I am guessing that this is why they took the 27″ version and made it so compelling that this conversation was bound to happen. Now I did do a story on this when the transition to Apple Silicon was announced, and I said this:

Now I am sure that the reason Apple said that they have new Intel ready to go, and that they will be supported “for years to come” is that they don’t want Mac sales to fall off a cliff. But take it from me. Buying any Intel based Mac is a really, really bad idea.

My thinking is that unless you need a new Mac right now because you need a faster Mac for your workflow, or your Mac is about to die, then it makes the decision easy. You’re buying this Mac. But if you can wait and see what Apple Silicon has to offer, then I would do that. The fact is that nobody really knows what “for years to come” means when Apple says that. The last time Apple made a transition like this, which was PowerPC to Intel, it took 210 days to transition the hardware, and the last version of macOS that supported the PowerPC came out six years after the transition was announced by Apple. So to maximize your investment, I would be waiting for an Apple Silicon Mac.

One other thing, the prices Apple charges for RAM are a total rip off. There’s no other way to put it. So here’s a pro tip. Order your iMac (Specifically the 27″ model as the 21″ doesn’t have user upgradable RAM. Which means that you’re forced to pay the ridiculous prices that Apple wants if you want a 21″ version) from OWC and save a bundle of cash. Full disclosure: I am not sponsored by them nor do I get a cut. But I have never paid Apple’s pricing for memory and you shouldn’t either. Thus I’m lending a hand to help you save some cash.

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