By Jason Snell
February 16, 2022 5:47 PM PT
A next-generation iMac wish list
We’ve been in the Apple silicon era for 15 months now, and I’m tired of waiting.
My last two primary Macs have been 27-inch iMacs. First the original 5K model, then the iMac Pro. As much as I have loved using this iMac Pro for the past four years, I’m over it now. I’m ready to enter the Apple silicon era. And Apple has, thus far, failed to oblige.
Will Apple announce a new, large iMac at an event next month? “Reply hazy, ask again later,” said Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman. (Or at least that was my interpretation of his reporting.)
What I’m saying is, if the next new Mac to be announced is a faster Mac mini or an upgraded 13-inch MacBook Pro, I’m going to treat them fairly and evaluate them properly… and the entire time, I am going to be grumbling. Because what I want is a new big iMac.
So to pass the time while I’m waiting, I’m going to do what they taught me to do as a kid and enter the land of the imagination. Here’s what I want to see in a new, big Apple silicon-bearing iMac.
Don’t make it too big. As much as I have loved the screen on my 27-inch iMacs, I’m not sure more is better. Occasionally I find myself dragging windows in from the far-off corners of my display because it’s uncomfortable to focus on them unless they’re a little more central. Then again, there are times when I have to switch to “more space” mode to fit more on the screen. I contain multitudes.
However, the 24-inch iMac expanded the screen of the smaller iMac without making it feel huge. Apple has done some similar expansions with the MacBook Pro recently. So if Apple could take a 27-inch iMac and transform it into a 30-inch model without making it seem ridiculous, I’d go for that. But that’s all.
More ports than other Apple Silicon Macs. The 24-inch iMac comes with two or four ports, some of them Thunderbolt and some USB. That won’t cut it on the larger iMac, which needs to offer Thunderbolt ports, at least a couple of USB-A ports (you heard me!), and an SD card slot. (Just for perspective: my current iMac Pro has four USB-A and four Thunderbolt ports on the back, as well as an SD card slot! And I use them, frequently! This sort of Mac should not be limited by its ports.)
A better webcam. I will continue to hold out hope for Face ID on the Mac because it makes a lot of sense—but it hasn’t happened yet, so it’s a bit of a stretch. Still, at the very least, the new iMac should offer a webcam more in line with what’s available on the iPad line. That means a 12-megapixel camera with support for Center Stage, a feature that feels like it was built specifically for the iMac. I’m tired of Apple releasing Macs with 1080p webcams and declaring them the best Mac webcams ever. Compared to the iPad and iPhone’s front-facing cameras, they’re a joke. It’s time to change things, and this is the right place to start.
Better ergonomics. If I’m being honest, the 24-inch iMac’s stand seems a little short. And since it’s not adjustable, if you need to get it to the proper height, you’ll need to put that cute little iMac on a riser or dictionary or leftover cardboard box. That’s not great, and I hope Apple puts a bit more effort into the ergonomics of the larger and more expensive iMac model. I don’t think we need a $1000 stand in the vein of the Pro Display XDR, but users should be able to make their iMac taller or shorter as needed.
Everything the M1 Pro and M1 Max deliver. I’m expecting Apple to offer the new iMac in both M1 Pro and M1 Max chip configurations, as they have with the MacBook Pro. (If, as rumored, Apple is working on a dual-Max configuration, I’ll have that as well!) This means that, as on the MacBook Pro, the M1 Pro models will be configurable up to 32GB of RAM, and the M1 Max models will reach up to 64GB. Yes, please.
A better power brick. I assume the new iMac will have the same power brick as the 24-inch model does, complete with an Ethernet jack. That’s a great feature, but speaking as someone who has a USB hub velcroed to the bottom of his desk, I’d love it if Apple also offered a brick with additional USB ports. I doubt that it will, but what’s the harm in asking?
A better display. I don’t know if Apple is ready to ship a 27- or 30-inch micro-LED display, but I’d love one. The display on the new MacBook Pro models is something to behold. I’d love that same high-dynamic-range display in a big iMac. (And while we’re at it, Apple, don’t forget to keep the glare-resistant nanotexture coating option that you currently offer on the high-end Intel iMacs.)
Nice colors. I don’t expect that Apple will release larger iMacs in the same bright colors as the 24-inch models. These are likely to be expensive iMacs—probably with “Pro” in the name—and if the iPhone has taught us anything, it’s that professional products don’t come in bright, bold colors. I’ll take a dark blue or dark green iMac, though, if that’s all the choice that’s open to me. I’d just rather not be stuck with Space Gray again if I could help it.
Announced March 8, orders March 11, shipping March 18. This is my list, and like I said, I’m tired of waiting. Let’s make it happen, Apple.
If you appreciate articles like this one, support us by becoming a Six Colors subscriber. Subscribers get access to an exclusive podcast, members-only stories, and a special community.