Why did Apple choose to sideline the iMac for so long?

“Maybe there is some technical issue that means Apple hasn’t been able to update the iMac, but it looks more like Apple is delaying the machine for commercial reasons,” William Gallagher writes for AppleInsider. “Apple is very, very good at planning years in advance and all manufacturers need to get their new technology to market while it’s still new. Which means that Apple is choosing to delay the iMac, and it’s been quite a delay.”

“The last [iMac] update was in June 2017,” Gallagher writes. “There are reports now that Apple has been considering whether or not to give a preview of the new Mac Pro at the 2019 WWDC. What that really tells us, though, is that the new Mac Pro won’t be released then. That should mean that Apple has the opportunity to update the iMac in at least the first half of 2019 without treading on the toes of its other machines.”

27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display
27-inch Apple Thunderbolt Display circa 2011

“Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has said nothing about the iMac but he has spoken about competing products —and that doesn’t just mean other Macs. He claims that alongside the new Mac Pro, Apple is going to launch a new [6K3K] display,” Gallagher writes. “The physical size of the [27-inch iMac] is actually 30.5 inches diagonally. This is surely just a bezel or two away from being the same sizes as that forthcoming display. Imagine it. An iMac with a larger 6K display. Now that would’ve been worth waiting for.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Even better, while we’re dreaming, imagine the new 6K iMac with a matching Apple 6K display on your desk! That’d be a dual monitor setup that many, many Mac users would love to have.

Lusting for Apple’s professional 6K display – February 19, 2019
Are Hackintosh users more passionate about the Mac than Apple? – February 19, 2019
Ming-Chi Kuo: Apple to unveil all-new Mac Pro, 16-inch MacBook Pro, 31-inch 6K monitor, and more this year – February 18, 2019


  1. Many reasons, but primarily because Cook wants to take money out of your pocket every month. Working to improve hardware and software good enough to earn repeat sales is too much work. Exploiting the iOS moat and playing middleman gatekeeper is easy.

      1. At least you’ll get some innovation from it! A folding phone, an in-screen fingerprint reader and a 5G version. Regardless of 5G viability, potential fold-gate issues, actual product quality and battery life, it will generate an exciting buzz around these seemingly innovative features. This will fuel the perception they are innovating and Apple is laying dormant and ignoring customers who are screaming for .
        What innovation do we get from iPhone Xs MAX for $1500? A large screen, an Oled display.. things competitors have already done.

    1. Sorry to steal:

      “iMac users, consider yourself lucky regarding refresh times.

      Mac Pro users”

      In any event, one does need to also contemplate just how eye-wateringly expensive an Apple branded 6K monitor with a big 6K iMac will torch on the wallet. Probably about a half Tesla S?

    1. No. Just because they share the same “first name” doesn’t count for anything, they’re different markets entirely.

      You would not consider the (consumer-focused) MacBook updated if Apple only released a new MacBook Pro, after all.

  2. Apple doesn’t care much about 3D graphics, so I believe they are thinking about productivity, photography, video editing and 2D graphics. As beautiful a 6K screen would be many will find a top powerful GPU as important. At least a Radeon VII, but an RTX Nvidia series will play very nice.

    But also a 6K screen on a desktop iMac including a powerful GPU and current 6-core or even an 8-core option will put a lot of pressure on the entry-level iMac Pro.

  3. Back when Apple was “beleaguered” they at least produced good products with only the occasional problem. These days they just aren’t trying. Apple wants to kill the Mac. I can only guess why:

    When they transition to A-Series chips, the MacOS isn’t coming with – those machines will run iOS and only iPhone apps. So they want to drive away the users who won’t be able to use those machines anyway.

    1. I’m not so sure about that. apple.com/jobs still has a number of reqs for the Pro Apps team (Motion, Final Cut, etc). I don’t think they’d be hiring for Mac-only apps if they were uninterested in the Mac.

  4. You can forget nVidia GPUs in Macs going forward. The Radeon VII is not a mobile GPU and there’s very limited numbers worldwide so iMacs will use cut down Vega GPUs at best. But if Apple put a Vega in it iMac Pros will be cannibalised so iMacs will get Radeon 590 garbage instead.

    6k screen is a lot of pixels, I have a 32” 4K screen and I can’t see the pixels and it looks no different to my iMac 5k screen. Timmy is obviously a numbers guy more is better even when it isn’t.

    Intel CPUs and AMD GPUs are just not attractive in a world with Threadrippers and nVidia RTX cards. The iMac is just not exciting anymore.

  5. Apple needs to return to having regular refresh cycles for all Mac lineups. Each new release doesn’t need to be “revolutionary.” They need to keep them up to date so that we don’t suspect that they’re abandoned, and then every few years they can lay down the magic and change the game

    1. I am glad that I found your post. You identified the key issue – regular, incremental updates are important not only to keep Macs near the current state-of-the-art, but also to show that Apple remains fully invested in Macs as a key element of the Apple ecosystem. As you state, these incremental improvements will not be revolutionary…they will include processor speed bumps, additional storage, upgrades to displays, ports, and other components, and will also provide Apple with opportunities to more quickly address latent design issues rather than patching them for a couple of years.

      In parallel, the revolutionary design work is conducted – the next big thing in iMacs, Mac Pros, Mac minis, etc. When the next big thing is clearly ready for prime time, then the previous model can be discontinued and incremental development initiated on the new model.

      Keeping a stable product base that is gradually evolving and improving is the logical and practical approach. Consider the original MacBook Air. It was a bit slow and had a relatively mediocre display – but it showed promise and paved the way for future MBs and MBPs. But the MBA was release in parallel with the existing MB and MBP lineups. The successful design aspects of the MBA were then folded into later generations of the MB and MBP.

      Businesses and pros need stability. Regular consumers value stability, as well. With regular, incremental updates from Apple, consumers will not have to worry as much about buying into older technology just before the next big thing is released. The iPhone and iPad and Apple Watch work this way – you know that a new version is released on a fairly regular basis and can make a purchasing decision based on that fact.

    2. Exactly! And if you are going to go so long without a refresh or update, then you damn sure better be the one out there explaining it. Instead of letting some website speculate what you are doing and everyone standing around debating it.
      We are past the Golden Age of Jobs.

  6. It is like I said: I will believe it when I will see it. They are are too occupied with the iPhone and the iPad upgrading them every year and forgetting the core product that made them, the Mac. Every 2-4 years or more. In the meantime the PC and the ChromeBook market is moving more out in front.

  7. Apple has a set processor it chose for the NEW iMac, so now we have to wait 2 years until THAT processor becomes outdated. And then and only then will it be good enough for Apple to use it in the NEW iMac.


  8. One of the problems with Apple products is that they are designed to last a long time. You don’t have a major upgrade to an aluminum iMac annually. First, I doubts that there would be sufficient improvement in a basket full of component on an annual basis. Second, I can remember the rush to get out new notebooks as fast as possible – nice cheap plastic instead of crafted aluminum made that possible.

    Personally after spending good money for a solid MacBook Pro I’m in no rush to respond good money for a 10% increase in performance.

    I can see Apple moving their design to all component replacement when significant increase in performance makes that attractive to users. The only issue I can see there would be in the area of warranties and there are probably workable approaches to protects Apple in that regard.

  9. Long time Mac user, just purchased my first PC laptop over MBP, first time user of a PC and gotta say I love it! Got it for the 2-N-1 touchscreen capability, this alone rocks and and is something Apple should be adapting. Yea I know MDN, you know what’s best and 2-N-1 laptops are just unecessary and no one will use them, right? You can iCal this, it will become the mainstream and Apple will fall behind if they don’t adapt this. iCal’d. It’s interesting how many 2-n-1s now appear in newsrooms I can flip it in any direction and actually use it on my lap propped up, more ergonomic. MacOS isn’t as stable as it used to be, so using Windows10 isn’t so bad anymore. I’m not using it full time, I have several 2013 iMacs still working very reliably, but if things don’t change soon, I may start moving to the other side. Just got the iPhone Xs Max 512, very fast beautiful phone but I gotta admit, I becoming more and more interested in the Galaxy phones. This may be my last iPhone if Apple doesn’t come out with something seriously innovative. iOS is so dated even compared to what Samsung has on their phones, it’s pathetic. Getting frustrated waiting around for Apple to get back in the game.

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