If I hadn’t felt the need to check out the new 24” iMac for my YouTube audience, I probably wouldn’t have bought it personally.
Or at least that’s what I thought.
Inside that beautifully designed chassis sits the brilliant M1 chip. As I’ve noted previously, Apple’s new chip is a game-changer and completely redefines computing for many people.
But it isn’t what has got me excited about this new iMac.
I’ve always been a big-screen kinda guy. For years, I’d opt for the bigger iPhone, the largest TV I could fit on my wall and the most sizeable screen for my office.
However, the new iMac has changed my perception of screen size. Just as I’ve switched from the 12.9” iPad Pro to the 11” iPad Air and from the Max-sized iPhone to its smaller Pro counterpart, I now find myself using the 24” iMac more often than any other computer I own.
This is advice I never thought I’d hand out – until that 24” iMac arrived. I’m simply amazed by how much I’m enjoying the smaller screen.
Here are five reasons the smaller iMac will make sense for many people.
1. You’ll find better focus
When I use my ultra-widescreen 34” monitor, I often find myself struggling to focus. It took me a while to work out why, but I think I’ve figured it out.
The great thing about large-screen monitors is that they enable you to fit more stuff onto the screen. You can run apps side-by-side, which is superb for referencing one thing while working on another.
The only problem with this wonderful world of multitasking is that you can get a bit addicted to it. Inevitably, all of that lovely screen estate will result in you attempting to fit as much stuff onto the screen as possible.
Let’s pop Trello to the left-hand side. Then, we can put Safari in the middle. Ooh, and there’s a space for Twitter up at the top-right. Oh, wow, that means I can also slot Discord neatly in below!
Unless you’re a NASA operative, this isn’t great for productivity. In fact, I found that I was spending more time adjusting my gaze to the most appropriate part of the screen than actually getting stuff done. This might be an inherent problem with my own ability to concentrate; I may also be ‘doing it wrong’, but it’s the availability of screen real estate that can be a real productivity killer.
By comparison, that ‘small’ 24” iMac screen only really suits two apps at a time – max. That’s enough. And when you want to just focus on one thing at a time, it’s even better.
2. Your desk will love you
Before I got the iMac, my desk was becoming a bit unruly. This wasn’t strictly the monitor’s fault, but the sheer width of that thing meant I had to push everything as far left and right as possible.
As a result, the desk looked completely unbalanced and cluttered. By comparison, the 24” iMac’s footprint is far smaller, and that has given the entire desk more space to breathe.
I hate clutter, and gaining more visible space on my desk makes it a far nicer station at which to work. That makes a big difference to your mindset and ability to be productive when you’ve got a tonne of work to complete – trust me.
3. You’ll spend less
iMacs aren’t cheap – they never have been. But it gets worse the bigger you go; the difference between the base level 24” iMac and the base level 27” iMac is £500 – just for a few extra inches.
There are many ways to spend less on a Mac, but focusing your attention on the RAM and disk space is often a little shortsighted. It’ll leave you with a computer less fit for the task and, potentially, a purchase you’ll later regret.
What would you rather have – a super-specced-up 24” iMac or a bottom of the rung 27”? The latter will give you a bigger screen, sure, but the former will last you longer, be more powerful and offer much better resale value further down the line.
Bigger screens are worth paying for if you can also buy the computer you want. I’ve never been convinced that it’s worth paying a premium for more screen estate if the experience is hampered by a less powerful engine.
Oh, and I appreciate we’re not comparing apples for apples at the moment between the 24” and 27”… but you get my point.
4. Some stuff looks a bit wonky on big screens
There are some apps which suit big screens perfectly. Video editing suites and music production software are prime examples. The ability to see as much of a timeline as possible results in less scrolling and less faff. This is good.
What isn’t good is most websites on massive screens. They often look a bit silly when the window is maximised, depending on how much attention has been paid by the developers and designers to screens with particularly large resolutions (which, often, isn’t much).
This is why the same website might look a bit weird on your 5K iMac or 34” widescreen monitor, compared to the view you get on a 13” laptop. Designers usually commit to the masses when it comes to screen size, and the same goes for app design.
Large screens suit multitasking – they rarely suit single app use. Therefore, if the latter is what you spend most of your time doing on your computer, a smaller screen will almost certainly be a better purchase.
5. It’s the only one available
If you want a new iMac now and you don’t want to buy the outgoing generation, you have one choice in terms of screen size. More importantly, if you want to experience the brilliant M1 chip in an iMac, once again, you only have one option.
We don’t know when the next large-screen iMac will arrive. Nor do we know how expensive it’ll be and what kind of market it’ll be aimed at. The 24” version isn’t suited to most professional users, but that’s a relatively small market compared to the audience that will fall in love with it.
If you’re a small business owner, independent creative without the need for a big screen or someone who simply wants the best possible all-in-one computer for their home, the smaller iMac will do you perfectly.
I still have my ultra-widescreen 34” MSI monitor, but it has switched roles to become solely a video and audio editing station. As noted earlier, it’s perfect for this task, but I don’t miss it when I switch to either the 24” iMac or my MacBook Air.
Sometimes, smaller really is better.