Once you’ve owned an iMac, you won’t want to use any other kind of desktop computer ever again.
Apart from a Mac mini, maybe.
As a complete all-in-one package, I think it’s unbeatable. The combination of super-fast internals, sleek design, and drop-dead gorgeous screen make the iMac an unlikely bargain.
That’s why the 24” M1 iMac couldn’t fail. Everything was set up for it; Apple’s screen tech is now lovely by default, and the M1 chip has revolutionised their Mac lineup.
Put the two together, reduce the size of the casing to near-impossible levels, add a splash of colour, and you’ve got the perfect next-generation iMac.
I’ve been using mine for nearly a year now, and this is what I’ve discovered.
1. That ‘smaller’ screen really is big enough
I never entertained the 21.5” iMac. It just looked way too small in the face of the giant, aspirational 27” version.
It was for kids’ bedrooms, or people who simply wanted to spend the least amount of money possible on an iMac, I thought.
That was probably a little unfair. The 24” M1 iMac is, of course, a little bigger than the Intel version it replaced, but it’s still a fair bit smaller than my 27” iMac.
It doesn’t matter, at all. Those 24 inches of screen estate are plenty for most daily computing duties. As I’ve said before, if you’re concerned about screen size with this one, don’t be – it’ll fit the bill perfectly.
2. The base spec is the ideal office machine
I bought the base spec 24” iMac for two reasons:
- I wanted to get an idea of the M1 chip’s baseline performance in this form factor; and
- I had a feeling I didn’t need anything more powerful.
Firstly, in terms of the performance, it is identical to every other M1-based Mac I’ve used for ‘normal’ computing tasks (and by that I mean tasks that don’t stray into video editing, audio production, or software development).
There’s just one fan in the base spec version, but the only time I’ve ever heard it kick into gear was when it began decoding a long Zoom video recording. I have no idea why, but it didn’t bother me one bit; this isn’t exactly a common task, and it allowed me to crack on with other stuff without issue.
Indeed, the stellar performance of that base-spec M1 chip in the new iMac confirmed my suspicions that I didn’t need anything more.
I’m lucky enough to have another device for video editing duties, therefore this computer is my business workhorse – a role which it smashes on a daily basis.
3. I wish I could see the back of it
Mark my words – this is a very attractive computer. It looks great in Apple’s product photography, but it’s even better in the flesh.
There’s just one huge issue with the new iMac’s design: most people will never see the best part of it.
If you place your iMac against a wall, that gorgeous rear of the device will be hidden from view. This is ironic when you consider that it’s the only part of the iMac which is adorned with the colour you chose (bar a muted hue on the ‘chin’).
This isn’t a slight on Apple at all. It’s just a bit annoying.
Although, it’s also why I’m in the process of engineering a spot for the iMac in my new studio where that deep blue colour will be one of the first things I see every time I enter the room.
4. The big one needs to be pro-focused
I’ve gone back and forth with my thoughts about the next big iMac. I’m also conscious that a lot of people are eagerly awaiting its arrival.
However, I’ve come to an interesting conclusion. My experience with the 24” iMac has taught me that both the screen size and performance on tap from the M1 chip make this particular version ideal for 80% of people. Maybe more.
The remaining are, as you might expect, professional users. Or, at least, hobbyists with plenty of disposable income and a desire to own the best of the best. But they really are in the minority.
This is why the next big iMac needs to be entirely pro-focused. The screen is likely to be huge (as big as 30 inches, according to rumours), and if the new MacBook Pros are anything to go by, the peak performance will be unattainable for most of us mere mortals.
I like the idea of this. It provides the differentiation needed within the iMac lineup to make buying decisions far easier.
5. There’s one glaring omission
There’s barely anything wrong with the 24” iMac. You get an awful lot of computer for your money, and a machine that will really last the tests of time.
But there’s one omission that I think needs addressing in the next update. It needs Face ID, or, at the very least, Touch ID by default.
Touch ID is available for the 24” iMac via its bundled Magic Keyboard, but only if you spend an additional £200 to upgrade from the base spec version. Alternatively, you can add the Touch ID enabled keyboard for an extra £50 during checkout. Fancy buying one later on? Well, you’ll need to stump up either £149 for the standard model or £179 for the one with a numeric keypad.
Just include it as standard, please, Tim. There’s no reason to skimp on what is now an essential security feature. The £50 surcharge reveals how silly a tactic this is from a company that has been flirting with a $3 trillion market cap over the last couple of weeks. It’s a needless instance of friction during checkout, which many people will unknowingly skip over entirely.
Of course, this could be solved by simply adding Face ID to the iMac. The thickness of this computer has been reduced to such an extent that it may not be possible in the current chassis, but I would personally forgo a few millimetres if it meant we could have Apple’s most convenient form of biometric security finally on a Mac.
There’s very little, if anything, not to like about the 24” iMac.
It was the easiest Apple product to review last year, simply because it delivered exactly what everyone wanted in virtually every single area. All the silliness surrounding the presence of the ‘chin’ (without that, it ain’t an iMac), and the concerns over white bezels literally evaporate once you start using it.
I’m eagerly awaiting the arrival of the big one, but the 24” version really is the perfect sweet spot for the vast majority of users.
If you’ve been hanging on – go buy yourself one now.