While the March Apple event was full of product announcements and excitement, something sinister happened yesterday to a beloved Apple product. Apple killed the 27-inch iMac. That's right, the beloved big all-in-one Mac is no more.
Now, Apple killing older products or services is nothing new. Heck, the iMac isn't the only thing Apple dismissed at the event, but it seems that the 27-inch iMac didn't have to die, thus making its untimely demise feel so wrong.
The crime: Murder of the 27-inch iMac
If you weren't aware, Apple is no longer selling the 27-inch iMac. Apple was swift in its takedown. Almost immediately after the event, the 27-inch iMac disappeared from the Apple website, and only the 24-inch iMac (2021) remained.
At first glance, this may seem pretty innocent. After all, Apple hasn't updated the large iMac since 2020, and we know that Apple is trying to get its entire lineup of Macs running Apple silicon as fast as they can. Naturally, the Intel-based 27-inch iMac wouldn't hang around forever, but usually, when Apple kills a product, the murder weapon is far more conventional.
The murder weapon: Mac Studio
As I recall the events, it was indeed the Mac Studio that killed the 27-inch iMac, and that's why this crime is so brutal. The iMac wasn't replaced with a newer model featuring an M1 chip, but rather a new independent Mac that couldn't be further from the all-in-one design of the iMac if it tried.
I can't believe that Apple spent time during the Mac Studio portion of the event calling out about how the M1 Ultra Mac Studio is so much better than the 27-inch iMac. It felt odd when I heard them compare the two Macs because, of course, the M1 Ultra (the most powerful M1 chip) will beat a Mac that hasn't been updated in two years. But it didn't just stop with one throwaway line. They mentioned the performance of the Mac Studio compared to the 27-inch iMac a few times — both CPU and GPU performance was compared. I know they also compared the 10-core i9 iMac to the M1 Max Mac Studio (less powerful than the M1 Ultra), but I'm left wondering why they were comparing the two devices at all.
The 27-inch iMac has been around in some compacity since 2009, and it's the bee's knees when it comes to all-in-one computers. I would venture a guess that the people who have all-in-ones have them because having a separate monitor doesn't work for them. Perhaps they have limited space or just prefer to be minimal, but it's absurd to expect 27-inch iMac fans to embrace the Mac Studio with open arms.
The motive: Unclear
Tim Cook — and a few select others — are the only ones who know why Apple does anything, but the inspiration to kill off the 27-inch iMac and seemingly replace it with the Mac Studio could come from many places.
Perhaps because of the power of the M1, Apple thinks that the 24-inch iMac is enough to satisfy the all-in-one fans and that a new 27-inch model wouldn't offer any significant update. Although I struggle to see how throwing an M1 Pro chip in a larger iMac wouldn't have its appeal, I could be very wrong.
It's entirely possible that even with rave reviews, the M1 iMac just hasn't sold to Apple's expectations. I would argue that the 27-inch iMac was more popular than the 21.5-inch and that perhaps, a new larger iMac would sell better, but that's mostly conjecture, speculation, and observation. Those 27-inch iMacs seem to litter small businesses, startups, design firms, and many other offices around my city, but perhaps that's just because I'm such a big fan that I notice them.
Not a lot of hope for a 27-inch iMac the future
If you are holding out hope for a 27-inch iMac in the future, what Apple said right near the end of the event probably cut you like a knife.
While a 27-inch iMac may eventually be released, this certainly seems to indicate it's not in development as of right now, and, I worry, it may never be again.
Luke Filipowicz has been a writer at iMore, covering Apple for nearly a decade now. He writes a lot about Apple Watch and iPad but covers the iPhone and Mac as well. He often describes himself as an "Apple user on a budget" and firmly believes that great technology can be affordable if you know where to look. Luke also heads up the iMore Show — a weekly podcast focusing on Apple news, rumors, and products but likes to have some fun along the way.
Luke knows he spends more time on Twitter than he probably should, so feel free to follow him or give him a shout on social media @LukeFilipowicz.
Consider their goal to move entirely to Apple Silicon by the end of this year. To do that they would have to upgrade both the Mac Pro and the 27" iMac this year. Maybe that was a bridge too far. However, just doing one, would have them failing to meet the goal. So, maybe drop one temporarily (hopefully), meet the goal, and bring it back next year. Why do it now, instead of at the end of the year? That would have been seen as bit too obvious a ploy to meet the goal.
All the talk has been the Pro, Studio and Workplace people that are losing the 27" iMac, what about the home user that has the entry level iMac. I bought my 27" iMac during a crazy Black Friday Costco sale in 2019 that put the sale price at a mid-range 21" iMac. The first 27" iMac I saw was in 2013, I fell in love with the screen immediately. The 5K resolution gives a vividness to pictures that the smaller screens just could not match and the text quality allowed me to read a magazine online at full size with perfect text as good as the print version. I hope to keep my 27" iMac for five more years. Buying the current new version with the new studio monitor and a modest Mac mini is twice what I paid for my current configuration. That is not progress....
It does seem rather strange to only have one iMac and I hope this does not remain the case. Like you Luke, I always seemed to see more 27” iMacs vs the 21.5” ones. Also as hhamanishi mentioned, having to pay for a computer and monitor separately is going to cost more. Not to mention the fact that the Mac Studio doesn’t even come with a Mouse, Trackpad, or Keyboard.
I prefer this Mac + Display scheme to an all-in-one system. They should make a 24" Studio Display because I absolutely adore the new M1 iMac 24" screen. I would gladly pay $1200 for it even though the entire computer costs only $100 more.
Luke my man you certainly didn’t hold back in your assessment of the Apple event and what Apple seems to have done with the old 27 new iMac.
And you know what I absolutely agree with you on everything you have said, yes I know that Apple wants you to move onto the next big thing, which is the Mac studio, but the delete the delete that
I love my loaded late 2015 27" iMac, but as it has aged the great 5K screen is dragged down with the dated system. My particular model ended up without target mode and I will probably buy a luna display add on device to use the screen as a monitor for my new MacBook Pro at some point. Living through this gives me an appreciation for this new direction that allows for more flexibility by having a separate high quality display that will have a full product life without out dated system capabilites packaged with it. I spent most of my life working for another company that made way too many products and over burdened themselves with the cost and support of thousands of products. Apple keeps it simple and make hard choices that don't always fit my preferences, but they are still thriving in comparison to most others.
Apple confirmed to Ars Technica that the 27" iMac is no more. There will not be a replacement. Can't say I'm sorry. I was thinking about getting one myself. But with the Monitor and Mac Studio being separate units, I'm much more comfortable investing in such an expensive tool. Sure, it's a lot more than an iMac, but having the Mac being separate from the display, I did not hesitate for even 10 minutes. I ordered it before I went to lunch after the event on Tuesday. And it will be here a week from today!
Fantastic article! It's completely absurd to for apple to discontinue a larger iMac, the best desktop computer for the vast majority of people. It's simple: separate monitor + computer is great for people on a budget (mini) or pros, the all-in-one is the perfect computer for just about everyone else, even more so now, with what appears to be a very future-proof M1 chip available. I know I'm not the only one that held out buying the 24", expecting a larger version to come in due time. Now, the only option is the 24", which, I wouldn't be particularly upset about if not for white borders being the only option. Seems like a terrible design move, since there's still a jarring, ~2mm black border between the pixels and the white border. Not to mention the fact that when the computer is off, we're left with an awkwardly-framed black rectangle in the middle of an otherwise amazing-looking computer (I LOVE everything else about the design). On top of that, it's asinine for Apple to push the studio monitor + computer as a replacement; not only do we lose the simplicity and elegance of an all-in-one, but at a minimum it costs about $1k more than an equivalent 24", even with the cheapest option of using a mini (after factoring in cost of mouse and keyboard). Further, the studio monitor is *thicker* than the 24", and only comes in one color. Some replacement. Thanks a bunch, Apple.
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