I buy a lot of Apple stuff.
I even bought the £35 lightning to 3.5mm audio cable for my AirPods Max.
But I never once felt like buying an iMac Pro. And don’t get me wrong, I should have been in the market for that machine when I needed to upgrade from my dog-slow 2016 13” MacBook Pro.
Back then, I needed a machine that could cope with the increasing amount of video editing I was undertaking. I also lusted seriously after that 27” 5K screen on the iMac.
Surely, the obvious upgrade path would tempt me towards the iMac Pro?
Nope. That computer did not interest me at all. Instead, I bought a ‘standard’ iMac and specced it up a bit.
Fast-forward several years, and Apple seems to have lost interest in their top-of-the-line iMac, too.
This is extremely good news.
So, are Apple killing off the iMac Pro?
They haven’t said so, explicitly. But the clues are there, and I’m not the only one to notice them.
The first whiff I got of the iMac Pro’s inevitable demise was from an AppleInsider article earlier this month. It turns out that Apple is now only offering the single configuration iMac Pro “while supplies last”.
I don’t think I’ve seen that message before on the Apple Store, and it’s a curious admission that the iMac Pro isn’t long for this world.
This is completely unlikely Apple. They’ll squeeze every last dollar out of every single product they have and then callously swipe the rest from the shelves to make room for the replacement. This usually results in buyer’s remorse and a flood of second-hand units on Apple’s refurb store.
But the decision to illustrate that there aren’t many iMac Pros left not only reveals it’s the end of the line for what was once the most powerful iMac you could buy – it actually creates some scarcity and, I suspect, demand.
Obviously, they’ll sell out.
Clever stuff, Apple.
Why is the death of the iMac Pro good news?
I could never understand why the iMac Pro existed. When it was launched back in 2017, there was a big play on better thermal performance (the bane of Apple’s life until now), and “Workstation-Class Performance in an iMac Design”.
I genuinely have no idea what that means, but I appreciate that it will have resonated with a specific (albeit tiny) subset of users.
That was the iMac’s target market; a small group of creatives who loved the iMac but who had always felt let down by its performance and limited configurability.
We should remember that the iMac Pro arrived at a time when Apple was on the pointy end of a significant backlash from the professional community. That group felt ignored by Apple and pointed towards the latest iteration of the MacBook Pro and its inability to go beyond 16GB of RAM (that feels rather ironic in this M1 world, right?) as proof that the company had turned its attention almost solely towards regular consumers.
There was no Mac Pro worthy of anyone’s attention when the iMac Pro was launched, either. They were still peddling the ‘trash can’ version of that computer, which remained a thorn in Apple’s side due to some ridiculous design-over-function decisions that led to poor thermal efficiency and poor upgradability.
Some argued that the iMac Pro was proof of the Mac Pro’s inevitable demise.
And then the new Mac Pro was announced. And, a couple of years later, it arrived and blew everyone’s socks off.
Then, newer iterations of the regular iMac arrived, and it became possible to out-spec the iMac Pro.
Oh, and then a little chip called ‘M1’ arrived, and everything changed again.
The world is better off without the iMac Pro
The iMac Pro was a nice little experiment for Apple, although I suspect that its user base might be – understandably – feeling rather toyed with at the moment.
Those computers were a big investment, and while I’m sure they’ve delivered a return for plenty of creators and businesses, the fact that Apple so rarely treated the platform to an upgrade and cannibalised it with the non-Pro iMac is a bit of a kick in the teeth.
Worse still, it created something which I really can’t stand: buyer confusion. Apple still makes it difficult to buy the right product. I know this because I’ve spent the last few months attempting to help my audience on YouTube pick between 8GB and 16GB of RAM on the new M1 Macs.
With the iMac Pro – hopefully – gone, choosing a new iMac (when it arrives) should be a far easier process.
We don’t need a separate ‘Pro’ machine in that line-up, simply because the new M-series chips are so astronomically powerful and thermally efficient. The choice should come down entirely to budget and the type of user you are. Removing the word ‘Pro’, as I’ve noted recently, will also completely rid the iMac market of the pretentiousness which is often attached to that naming convention.
Should you buy an iMac Pro?
Scarcity or no scarcity, I think the answer to the above question is a resounding “no”, regardless of how good the deal on the table might appear to be.
We’re probably only weeks away from seeing the next iMac which will be free from the shackles of Intel and the associated thermal performance issues. It’ll also have a much-needed new design and, I’m sure, one or two surprises.
So, don’t be tempted by what is now a legacy machine with, arguably, nowhere near the right level of a cult following to make it G4 Cube collection-worthy. Instead, wave goodbye to the iMac Pro and wait patiently for what is likely to be a whole new world for Apple’s all-in-one.
I can’t wait.