What's your next dream Mac? Find out!

What's your next dream Mac? Find out!

There are rumors of a Retina MacBook Air, of a 4K iMac or 4K Thunderbolt 2 Display, we're still waiting on the Haswell Mac mini and some even hold-to-hope for an iOS MacBook Air that can detach into an iPad Air. So far this year Apple has only done minor processor bumps and price cuts to their existing Mac lineup. But what happens when we get whatever is coming next? That's why we asked the question — What's your next dream Mac?. Well, here's what you answered!

Turns out, as of publication time, the largest number of you wanted a convertible MacBook Air/iPad Air combo device — something that likely only makes Microsoft sadder about the lack of Surface sales. (Or maybe they simply learned that such devices currently work better in our dreams than in reality?). With several thousand of you voting, here's the breakdown:

Dozens of you took the time to elaborate on your votes as well. For the ones who want the transformable MacBook Air/iPad Air, good news — you can pretty much have that today with the existing iPad Air and a good keyboard case. Though that clearly won't satisfy everyone:

I'm still holding out for my MacBook / iPad hybrid. :) But it has to be able to do everything I want it to do. I need the full *nix-based OS X when I need it, and I want iOS when I want it. ;)

And hell, if I can run iOS apps inside OS X when it's in OS X mode that would be pretty fantastic Apple. :D

I am willing to pay a fair (near what the combined price for a MacBook / iPad is) for this magical device filled with rainbows and unicorns.

The Retina MacBook Air still fascinates a large amount of people as well, even if expectations can run too high at times:

I honestly think a MacBook Air with an IPS screen, slightly better graphics, support for dual monitors and that doesn't overheat would be a pretty perfect computer. The Air gets way too hot when gaming. I hate the viewing angles but don't mind the resolution of the screen. The graphics are descent but no where near dedicated. I don't expect integrated to be as good but just a little closer would be nice. And I hate only being able to run one external monitor. An extra Thunderbolt port or HDMI/DVI port would be such a huge deal for me.

If all of these things were true I could probably get rid of my desktop altogether.

Not many seemed into the idea of 4K iMacs or displays, but some did want them for detailed graphics work:

'd rather a iMac 4K display cause I would like to use it to see every detail on my drawings 3D modeling etc. though some kind of MacBook/iPad hybrid (not quite Air/iPad Air but like Pro/iPad) but that maybe asking a lot

Others feel 4K from Apple isn't likely anytime soon:

It's tricky. Looking at the panel market, high quality 4k panels (and a 2x 27" iMac or TB display would be even more than 4k) still go for more than $2.3k, and that's only the panel. The cheaper 4k displays all compromise on something (gamut, refresh rate, viewing angles etc.). So, we look at either something extremely expensive, or something below current standards. I guess the device everybody would want (somewhat affordable and high quality) is still not in the cards there. A Retina Air with acceptable battery life will have to wait because of Intel...

Somehow the recent MBA and MBP price cuts / spec improvements make me believe that we won't see much in terms of Macs for most of the rest of the year.

The Mac mini is still a favorite, desperately so:

Mac Mini!!!!! Where are you????

I'm good with the current size and shape. Don't mess with that because there are those who have rack mount solutions in place for these as they are used as servers.

  • Add PCIe capability to it (that's fine), but I can continue to live with SATA-III SSD.
  • I actually use BOTH drive bays currently in my 2011 model, but having two PCIe slots would be a performance boost (awesome).
  • A better graphics chipset option so that we can play games at higher frame rates and resolutions (AMD or NVidia) which would also support UHD.
  • Latest Intel processors
  • Support for 32gb ram or 64 (for those folks who need this) << Makes for a great DB server

On a "like to have" note. Perhaps offer it in two colors (same as iPod Classic: Black or Silver).

And some even want a Mac mini maxi:

What about a "Mac Medium"?! Mac Pro chassis, mobo/daughter boards, "thermal core" & connections but with i7 instead of Xeon & desktop GPUs instead of workstation? I would also accept "classic" SATA SSD & non-ECC ram.

As long as the next Mac Mini checks off that wishlist I'll be happy. It would be nice if the soon to be announced Mac Mini had broadwell, but that's not Apple's fault.

Either way, I voted for Mac Mini. My 2010 Mac Mini is really hurting these days, and it's sole purpose in life is iPhoto & iTunes. (Upgraded RAM & SSD)

My guess remains we'll see the Retina MacBook Air-style machine when Broadwell materializes. I'm not sure what the holdup is with the Haswell Mac mini, but I'm waiting just like everyone else. 4K will come when panel cost and yield fit within Apple's requirements. Whether that means they ship first in the iMac, as usual, or Apple switches things up and goes for Thunderbolt 2 Display for premium Mac Pro customers first is harder to say.

As for hybrid iOS/OS X machines, 5 or 10 years from now that'll seem like an old-fashioned idea, won't it?

If you haven't voted yet, go vote now and check out the other comments while you're there. Then let me know — is there a Mac, any Mac, that if Apple announced it tomorrow you'd order it immediately?

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

What's your next dream Mac? Find out!


Don't think I don't detect your snark about my dreams of an iSurface hybrid. ;)

(I'm honestly quite surprised it got that many votes. I wonder if the readers are starting to troll you guys.)

Seriously, however, I have a question:

*IF* Apple refines a Retina MacBook Air optimally with great resolution, battery life, heat efficiency, etc...where does that put the low-end of the Retina MacBook Pro 13".

Your analysis about the trade-offs for a Retina MacBook Air are interesting and great points. If they can make this happen, it really does blur the lines between the MacBook Air and the MacBook Pro lines.

I understand that Apple is perfectly fine with their own products cannibalizing themselves. But do we now see a variety of Retina MacBook Air models at the 11" / 13" (or fabled 12") screen size. And we see MacBook Pro return to 15" / 17" size models.

It just seems a bit odd to me that they would have so many similar models in the lineup. When I was trying to decide between the MBA 13" and rMBP 13" it came down to screen vs price. And I caved and went cheap for my first Mac in over a decade. I don't regret it, the Air is a wonderful machine. But without the resolution tradeoff there would have been no contest for me. I wouldn't even have considered the higher-priced rMBP.

(I'm already planning on spending more on my next MacBook. If the situation hasn't changed drastically by the time that purchase comes, I think my dilemma is really going to be 13" vs 15". And I think the 15" is going to win.)

Would be awesome to see a Macmini Pro, with a graphics card setup in it same as a top spec iMac maybe, but I'm guessing cost wise, this would probably never happen.

Same. Next Mac mini (Mac Medium!) = iMac specs in a desktop. Rather than (underpowered) laptop specs.

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My dream mac is rather simple: the non-retina macbook pro is upgraded to haswell.

I have a retina macbook pro and it's great - but i've had failures on the drive and ram issues. Even though i have a business account I am required to go to an Apple store to get that all sorted. Sure, I do not have to queue but it is still a pain. The drive - fine, they do fail and yes, I have a back up. The guys were brilliant and literally swapped the part out. The confidential nature of the work means no cloud or any of that malarky. So i go home and rebuild. The ram - soldered. Again, a swap out.

I just love that I still have a 2013 non-retina macbook pro that I can do what I want with - it sits pretty with a samsung evo 840 pro and 16 gb of ram. Yes, the pcie ssd options are slightly faster but still, having the ability to get myself going when I need to, and to swap out drives (no way I would want to take the drives anywhere out of my sight (in the brief time the machine worked, with the ram issue, I bricked the drive - Apple were kind enough to give it to me, for a price, to keep!) and have control over my devices.

That is what I see as being a professional device. I have seen write ups arguing how crazy it is to have that dinosaur but you know what? That is a proper professional device. Just get haswell in there and upgrade the parts. I don't need a superdrive but a dedicated gpu wouldn't go amiss.

Though, ultimately, haswell is all that thing needs.

I really need to update my mac, and really want a mini, but can't justify buying the current model.
Please intro a new one soon!

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Why you only provided us with a choice of a hybrid macbook air when the better choice would have been a macbook air with retina display and a touch screen. To me this is the ultimate computer. Forget the detachable keyboard like the one on the Surface. What do you do with the keyboard when you detach it? You still have to keep it close by. Retina macbook air with touch screen and excel. Please let me buy one.

I don't know why someone would want a laptop with a touch screen. Unless the monitor was a detachable tablet. I would prefer a tablet macbook. A mac in a tablet form. With a detachable keyboard. Built in keyboards get gross after a while. And it's not easy to replace them.

Maybe you should ask the millions of windows laptop users that have recently purchased a laptop that all seem to have touch screens?

What apps do you use in OS X that would be appropriate with a tablet?

I use Splashtop to connect to my Mac mini when I'm downstairs watching tv, but only to monitor a process or something. It's fairly difficult to operate OS X as it is via touch screen. Splashtop has a trackpad/cursor mode, but that gets old, and it is nowhere near as good as a real trackpad (which is nowhere near as good as a proper mouse). So, I would assume in order to get OS X to work on a tablet that it and all the apps would have to be revamped for touch, that's what the ipad is already. That being said, having the OPTION for touch screen OSX laptop would be handy at times, like another tool in the box. Rather than the only tool.

The best case scenario for a hybrid is a full powered OSX machine that has to be able to run iOS apps. Now we're in Windows 8 territory. I have a desktop & laptop Win8 PCs, running "metro" apps alongside of full desktop apps isn't terrible, but it's not that great. I almost bought a Lenovo Yoga 2 over the iPad Air, but I looked at the battery life & weight of the yoga, and I just couldn't imagine using that as I had used my old iPads, hand held browser, reader, video player etc.

I'm happy with seperate OSX & iOS, and trying to merge then would only be painful, like Win8.

"Aero Snap" I think is what they called it in Win7. There are several apps for OSX that perform this same function. Cinch is what I use, but a friend told me there are others for free.

Expose ftw. I use Dexpot on my Win8 machines. It isn't as instant or seamless as Expose, but it's free and also does "spaces" and you can show all windows in all spaces with on key-combo.

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I don't think we'll ever see retina Macbook Airs. Or at least, we won't until there's something else to differentiate the Air from the Pro. I have and love the 11" Air, but if Apple made an 11" Pro retina that could drive a retina/4K external display I'd happily sacrifice the extra 1lb or so and use that.

Likewise, if I were using a 13" Air now, I'd be very tempted to get the Pro Retina as the next machine. it's almost as light, almost as thin, more powerful and with a better display. The price is not much more, either. In fact, I kind of wonder why the current 13" Air will continue - you give up quite a lot in terms of power and display and all you gain is a couple hundred dollars and about a pound in lightness.

I thought the kb on the Air & Pro were the same, except for some special keys like the Function keys, etc

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Are you referring to the keyboard in the picture of the article? That's a bluetooth keyboard for an iPad.

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