What Apple’s new iMac lost by getting so thin – The Washington Post

In this Washington Post article, Geoffrey A. Fowler has a lot of complaints about the new iMac, but are they all founded?

Apple’s newly redesigned iMac measures just 0.45 inches thick. That’s a hair thinner than the original iPhone. It’s thin enough to wedge under a wobbly table.

But to make a desktop computer that incredibly slender, something had to go. Unfortunately, left on the chopping block were some capabilities you might actually want in a $1,300 desktop computer.

Okay, so let’s look at them.

Gone are the large USB ports many of us still use to plug in gear.

He’s talking about USB-A ports, which are being replaced on all Macs by USB-C, which is better in many ways. This is the first iMac to have only USB-C ports, but this is a trend that is going to continue. We have moved on from serial ports, FireWire ports, and it’s time to move on from USB-A. USB-C can also be Thunderbolt ports, for much faster data and to connect displays and other peripherals.

Gone, too, is the ability to later upgrade your memory.

This has been the case on the 21.5″ iMac for several years. The 27″ lets you upgrade RAM, and perhaps the replacement for the 27″ will not allow this, because of Apple’s new system on a chip.

This iMac is no longer even an all-in-one computer: Apple had to move the power supply to an external brick like on a laptop.

Seriously? He’s complaining about this? I recall Apple displays that had separate power bricks, but whatevs.

I had been eagerly awaiting this iMac to replace my 5-year-old model.

If he had a five-year old iMac, and it had memory slots, then it was the 27″ model. The last 21.5″ iMac to have memory slots dates back to late 2013. Apples and oranges, as it were.

The arguments for a thin desktop computer are more of a stretch. There may be people who only care that this iMac is cuter. Apple believes it’s redefining the desktop computer into a device that can be at home in a kitchen or living room, or even picked up.

They didn’t make it thin because of any desire to call it thin, they made it thin because it made sense. The iMac is essentially a display with the guts of a laptop. There is really nothing behind the display, all the guts are in the “chin” at the bottom of the computer. Why make it thicker if there is no need to make it thicker?

Now the iMac has an external power brick. Maybe you’ll just throw yours on the floor, or maybe it’s one more thing for your cat to chew on.


Next, Apple cut the ports on the back of the computer. The new iMac only works with smaller USB-C plugs, which can do lots of things but don’t fit many of the cables and devices we already own in a larger shape known as USB-A.

As I said above, we’re moving to all USB-C. It’s not just Apple, this is an industry-wide change. You can get a hub for $20 to connect your USB-A peripherals.

Apple also cut the flash-card reader included in past iMacs, making one more thing photographers need to buy.

This is true. But as more and more cameras have USB-C ports, it’s become easier to connect a camera via a cable rather than take the SD card out; that’s what I do with mine. If not, $20 gets you a good SD card reader. Or you can get a USB hub which has an SD card reader.

Even the basic Ethernet port, used in many schools and offices to hardwire Internet connections, was too big. Instead, Apple stuck Ethernet into the power brick, and charges $30 extra for it.

First he complains about having too many cables on the back of the iMac, now he wants Ethernet there. I think it’s better in the power brick; one less cable to get tangled behind the computer. And a better way to consider the price is that you save $27 (not $30) if you don’t want Ethernet. And this is only on the cheapest model; the other models have Ethernet standard. And, there are lots of USB hubs that also have Ethernet jacks.

What this means is that anybody who plugs things into a computer either has to abandon old devices — for me, including backup drives, a DVD player and a lifetime’s worth of thumb drives — or buy a bunch of unsightly adapters known as dongles. By the time I plugged in mine, the back of the sleek iMac looked like a rat’s nest.

Two words: USB hub.

Also fixed in place: the iMac’s hard drive.

There’s no hard drive in the iMac.

And what about when your iMac inevitably just can’t keep up in six years? As recently as 2014, iMacs could transform into a monitor for another computer. But Apple no longer supports what it calls “target display mode.”

His 2014 iMac was the last model to support target dispaly mode.

Apple’s appliance mind-set is also self-serving, because it means we have to keep buying new stuff. You may already have a box of old iPads and iPhones you aren’t using after upgrading. Now you can add an iMac to the pile.


Source: What Apple’s new iMac lost by getting so thin – The Washington Post

Hands On with Apple’s New M1 iMac and M1 iPad Pro

We’ve finally got the second delivery of Apple’s M1 Macs, after the first salvo, last fall, with updated versions of the Mac mini, MacBook Air, and 13″ Mac Pro. But these models were simply new gets in old clothes; the new 24″ iMac has a totally new design, replacing the older 21.5″ model. This new iMac increases the display from 4K to 4.5K, with only small changes in the computer’s size. We also now have Apple’s M1 chip powering the latest iPad Pro models, both at the same size as previously, 11″ and 12.9″.

Here’s what’s new in these devices.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Apple Announces New iMacs, iPads, AirTags, and More

After the first flurry of Macs running Apple’s own processors, in November of last year, Apple has made another step toward transitioning the entire Mac line to these new chips. The new iMac, announced yesterday, not only features Apple’s own M1 processor, but is the first Mac to benefit from a redesign along with this upgrade. At the same time, Apple announced new iPad Pros, AirTags, and a refresh of the Apple TV 4K.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Why I Downsized from a 27″ to a 21.5″ iMac

The last iMac I bought was a late 2014 5K iMac, the first with the retina display. I tricked it out with the fastest processor, the best video card, and lots of extra RAM. It’s still fine, but for accounting reasons, it was beneficial to me to upgrade.

So I bought a 21.5″ iMac.

I’ve been using 27″ displays for about five years; prior to the iMac, I had an Apple Thunderbolt Display which was the same size. It’s great for having two big windows open side by side, or a bunch of smaller windows. But in the past year or so, I realized that it was just too big; that it took up too much space on my desk, and especially in my field of vision.

A computer is a tool, and is only useful as long as it works efficiently. But I found the size of the iMac somewhat oppressive, as if too much of what I saw during my work day was a computer screen. Yes, this may be parodical, since most of my work is done on a screen, but I realized that I could be more comfortable if I had more space.

The smaller iMac isn’t that much narrower than the larger model; only 12cm. And its height from foot to top is only about 6cm less. But that’s enough to make it feel much smaller. There’s more space between my iMac and my speakers; there’s more room to see the walls behind my desk, to see the items on my desk. There more room in my mind because my eyes see more beyond the screen.

I won’t miss the extra size. The only work I do where I need a large amount of space is photo editing and screencast creation, and I can zoom in when I need to see either of those with more magnification. If I worked all day editing video, then the 27″ iMac would be essential (frankly, if I did that kind of work, I’d want a larger display). But for what I do, it’s overkill. Bigger isn’t always better.

Amazon Discounts the iMac Pro: Save $500

We don’t usually see sales on new Macs. Sometimes, after a while, certain chains will discount Macs, but not by a lot. In recent times, however, this has become a bit more common, though it’s rare to see such a new model discounted.

The new iMac Pro – the 8 core, 1 TB model – is currently $500 off at Amazon. While that’s only a 10% discount, it’s not negligible. There have been a few other retailers discounting this Mac, as much as $1,000, but this is the first major reseller that I’ve seen offering a discount.

It’s worth noting that the iMac Pro currently has no user reviews on Amazon.

Possible 5K iMac Graphics Card Overheating Issue

The iMac’s fan is quite silent; at its default speed of 1200 rpm, I don’t hear it. The only times it revs up is when I’m using Skype for videoconferencing, or when I rip a video with Handbrake. I have a late 2014 5K iMac with the AMD Radeon R9 M295X graphics card.

But in recent days, I’d noticed that my iMac’s fan was running more often than usual. Since I already use iStat Menus, I set up the app to display sensors in a menu. The menu displays temperatures and voltages for more than a dozen locations in the Mac.

At the time, I noticed that the GPU Die was showing a temperature of more than 90 C, even when the Mac wasn’t doing anything. You can see the spikes early in the Last 7 Days graph, when it was over 100 C when viewing a video. It reached as much as 105 C, which is not necessarily a problem, but the fact that it didn’t go below about 90 C was suspicious. (Note that the peaks in the last hour occurred when I was running a GPU benchmark app, which pushed the graphics card to the limit.)

I couldn’t find any conclusive information about this on the internet, so I contraction Apple. The technician checked and said that it certainly wasn’t a normal temperature. He was prepared to set up a repair, but first had me reset the SMC then reset the NVRAM on the iMac.

To my surprise, this resolved the issue. The resting GPU Die temperature dropped to the 50s-60s C range, and the fan no longer runs fast when I’m not taxing the computer.

So if you encounter this issue, try the above steps: reset the SMC, then the NVRAM. Please post a comment if this does resolve the problem, or if it doesn’t.

Additional 8 GB RAM Adds 18% to the Cost of a New iMac

I was looking at the 21″ iMac recently, and I hadn’t realized that the RAM is not user-upgradable. In other words, if you buy an iMac, you had better decide how much RAM you want right away. By default it comes with 8 GB, which is a bit tight; kind of like getting an iPhone with only 16 GB storage. But you can opt for a build-to-order option of 16 GB RAM (the maximum in this model).

However, that 8 GB RAM – which you could buy for, what, $50 or so? – cost a whopping 18% of the iMac’s price! ($200 added to the base price of $1,099.)


Granted, I took the entry-level model; pick the retina iMac, at $1,499, and that $200 RAM addition is only 13% of the base price. So I guess it’s a bargain.

This sort of price gouging is simply unethical.

A Week with the Retina 5K iMac

ImacIt’s been just about a week since I got my 5K iMac (whose official name is iMac (Retina 5K, 27-inch, Late 2014)). I wrote about my first impressions, and it’s time to give a one-week report.

From time to time, a computing device comes along that changes everything. The 5K iMac does just that. Granted, Apple started with other retina devices: first the iPhone, then the iPad, then the MacBook Pro. But bringing a retina display to the desktop is a paradigm shift.

I’d been spoiled working with a retina MacBook Pro for a couple of years, and had been longing for a desktop display of the same quality. I’m not a photographer, I don’t work with video, but I do work with text, and look at my display most of the day. While a retina display is excellent for those working with visuals, I think it’s just as important for those working with text. I find it more comfortable to work with this display, and the crispness of the text has actually allowed me to move it a bit further away from my eyes than before, and still see it very clearly.

Apple promotes the 5K iMac on its website. It is in a category of its own; not lumped in the general iMac category:


This won’t last, I’m sure; in a couple of years, they’ll all be retina, but for now, they do make it stand out, and rightly so.

Compared to the Mac Pro, which I bought in June (and which I’m selling; hey, want to buy a Mac Pro?), the iMac is, for my use, very similar. The only noticeable difference is an audible fan when the processors are working hard. With the Mac Pro, the sound is just a whisper; this is because of the way that computer is designed. It is essentially a heat sink with an exhaust column around it. The iMac has an exhaust vent on the back-center of the computer, so when the fan gets going, it’s more audible. However, in normal usage, it runs at 1200 rpm, and I don’t hear it, any more than I heard the Mac Pro.

Compared to my 27″ Thunderbolt display, the iMac is very cool. The Thunderbolt display gave off a lot of heat – though this may be because of a power supply problem; this was just repaired, and I haven’t unboxed it yet to check – but the iMac is cool, unless, of course, it’s working hard, something it doesn’t do often. Even then, it’s only warm on the back, in the area near the CPU.

But the Thunderbolt display’s exhaust is at the bottom-left of the device, meaning that the heat blows out onto your desk; with the iMac, any heat blows out the back, so you don’t notice it. And I could feel a bit of warmth radiating from the front of the Thunderbolt display, if I put the back of my hand near it. Apple has mentioned how much less power this new iMac users, and much of that power difference may be in the display part of the computer.

The 5K iMac is a premium computer. It’s not for everyone. But if you work with a computer all day, you’ll appreciate how much better the display is. I’m very satisfied with this Mac, and I hope to keep it for several years. If you get a chance, go see this new display in an Apple Store; you’ll probably want to buy one too.