Apple has literally changed the whole computer industry with just one product — the M1 chip. And I’m not talking about a small incremental change. I’m talking about transitioning away from the Intel x86 platform to a completely different architecture.
Apple M1 Processors. I was wrong about those. Here is Why
Your mileage may vary, as they say
However, it all felt incomplete until Apple announced iMacs on the M1 chip. Before that, the lineup seemed incomplete and fragmented. Now we have Mac Mini, MacBook Air, Macbook Pro, and iMac.
Are they are running essentially the same processor? Yes, that’s the case. The only real difference those chips have is the number of GPU cores (7 or 8) and the lack of a CPU fan in the MacBook Air model.
Let’s talk about iMac specifically. What are the things that you should be aware of?
This is a big one. There is finally a 1080p camera on M1 Mac. All other models at this moment still have the 720p camera. I think it would be important for people who want to record videos straight from their camera and it would be good enough for YouTube or any other video platform.
It’s probably not a big deal for Skype calls or video conferences, but the enhanced quality is never a bad thing.
Yes, if you need a better quality you probably still need to purchase a separate camera, but for most users, the quality would be just great.
Display: 24-inch, 4.5K Resolution
Another important factor if you are considering purchasing the iMac would be a gorgeous 4.5K display. It seems like this would be an important selling point for people who work with pictures and perform video editing.
Having a great display and knowing that this whole screen is driven by a built-in graphics card is a refreshing feeling.
Ports and Power
And now we are approaching the interesting part of a discussion regarding the ports. This is the part where M1 Macs are typically lacking due to the novelty of the platform and possible technical limitations as well.
First of all, the power “brick” is now outside of the computer itself. iMac used to have the power adapter integrated into the case. Nowadays, there will be a power adapter outside and it doesn’t look that great in that sense.
Second of all, I don’t see a slot for SD cards. I think that a desktop computer should have it available. But it means that the adapter should be used instead. Not a big deal, but I wouldn’t mind having that option.
Finally, an Ethernet adapter is located on a power brick and not on a computer itself. This seems like an odd solution. However, it might actually be beneficial in terms of cable management. This might be a good solution, indeed.
This is the main point here, in my opinion. Technically we have 4 computers on the same chip right now. There is no noticeable performance difference between MacBook Air, iMac, Mac Mini, and MacBook Pro. Well, even iPad.
Actually, this new iMac makes me think that this is an iPad with a stand. It feels like a computer because it runs Mac OS, but under the hood, it’s practically a small chip that has a potential of a performance power-house.
Is this impressive? Oh yeah! When M1X will be released it will feel even more surreal.
Should you buy an M1 iMac?
It depends. If you have a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or Mac Mini on M1 I don’t see any particular reason why you would want to purchase an iMac on this chip. If you need an external display — you can always plug one in.
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The only real case for purchasing an M1 iMac I see is the quality display and visually appealing case. But if you need portability look no further than MacBook Air or MacBook Pro.
Mac Mini is almost twice cheaper and also a desktop computer. Yes, you would need to purchase a separate display, keyboard, and mouse, but at the same time, you get more flexibility and a better bang for your buck.
Also, don’t forget that you can shop around for older iMac models. This iMac has not replaced the 27-inch Intel model that you can still purchase, possibly with a good discount.
The new iMacs are great and powerful. The current Mac lineup seems a bit bleak (in my opinion) because there are not many customization options available. However, all those are capable devices and at the current stage will provide enough power to help transition from Intel x86 platform to Apple Silicon M1 (ARM).
I hope to see some upgradable parts in the future, at least on a Mac Pro model once it gets released. It will probably be the Mac Pro model, but maybe we will see some other surprises along the way.