Apple on Tuesday discontinued the 27-inch iMac, leaving the 24-inch machine as the only iMac option. So what fills that gap in Apple’s Mac lineup?
Today, a buyer in the market for a 27-inch iMac would be looking at a Mac mini with a 27-inch Apple Studio Display.
In August 2020, Apple last spec-bumped the 27-inch iMac. $1,799 got you a hot to crawl 6-Core Intel Core i5, 8GB of DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD storage, AMD Radeon Pro 5300 (4GB GDDR6) graphics, and a built-in 27″ 5120 x 2880 IPS Retina 5K Display.
That machine cost $1,799. Options such as CPU, storage, RAM would bump the price higher, of course, but the base model comparison serves our purpose here.
A base model Mac mini offers a much better Apple M1 chip with an 8-core CPU, 8-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine along with faster 8GB unified memory and the same 256GB SSD storage. It costs $699. The Studio Display is a 27-inch 5K Retina display. It offers a much better camera than the iMac (12MP Ultra Wide camera with Center Stage), plus studio-quality mics, and six-speaker sound system with Spatial Audio. It costs $1,599.
Add them both up and yes, you’re paying $499 more ($2,298) to start, but you’re getting a much more capable Mac setup than you would with the former 27-inch Intel-handicapped iMac.
Price-sensitive and/or chin-loving users have an option: the 24‑inch iMac with an Apple M1 chip with 8-core CPU, 7-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine, 8GB unified memory, and 256GB SSD storage for $1,299.
You save $500 vs. the old 27-inch iMac, but you lose 3-inches diagonally on the display (which is significant area, but not nearly as cramped as the old entry-level 21.5-inch iMac). You do get that chin, albeit blank (Apple logo stickers can be applied). Bump up the unified memory to 16GB and SSD storage 512GB and the 24‑inch iMac comes in at $1,699.
Of course, there are still 27-inch iMacs to be had at Apple resellers, but those machines are the past. Intel-handicapped. I wouldn’t buy Mac with an Intel snail inside today any more than I’d buy a Dell.
A future-proofed and significantly better-performing Mac contains Apple Silicon.
SteveJack is a long-time Macintosh user, web designer, multimedia producer, and contributor to the MacDailyNews Opinion section.