It's a disgrace that Apple still sells an iMac with a 5400rpm hard disk

iMac
iMac (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple's cheapest iMac is the 21.5-inch model at $1,099.
  • It comes with 1TB of storage.
  • But that's a 5400rpm hard disk.

When you think of Apple's iMac, you imagine the huge 27-inch monster. Or maybe your mind's eye takes in that Space Gray iMac Pro that would look so good on your desk. But at the other end of the range, there's the 21.5-inch iMac. The one that usually finds itself on reception desks at companies that try to look swish. That's fine, but what isn't fine is the 5400rpm hard disk that sits inside it.

That computer – the entry-level iMac – costs $1,099 (opens in new tab) as of writing this. It comes with 8GB of RAM and a 2.3GHz dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor. It won't break any speed records, but it's more than capable for most people. And it's being held back by that hard disk. A hard disk that would probably have looked much more at home in 2010. And in something costing a lot less than $1,099. Probably something with an Acer logo on it.

Imac Storage Options

Imac Storage Options (Image credit: iMore)

But this is an iMac. The computer that is Apple to most people. Sure, you say the word "Apple" to people and they think of an iPhone. Tell them to think of a computer though, and it's iMac all day long. Nobody thinks Mac Pro. Nobody even thinks about the MacBook lineup, even though it's Apple's best-selling collection of Macs. They think iMac, and if they make the mistake of buying one they could end up with a machine that beach balls every other minute. And that's just bad for business.

The chances are pretty good that anyone buying this "cheap" iMac is buying their first Mac. Does Apple really want someone's first experience of macOS to be a bad one, on a computer with a spinning disk? And one that spins slowly, at that! When they wonder why it's slower than their 10-year-old Windows notebook, how are they going to feel?

That's how brands erode. How people don't buy a Mac the second time around. And it's all because Apple wants to charge an extra $200 to get you into an SSD. You can pay an extra $100 and get a Fusion Drive, but that's hardly any better. And don't get me started on the $1,799 27-inch iMac that comes with that thing as standard!

Come on Apple. It's time that "1TB Serial ATA Drive @ 5400 rpm" went the way of the headphone jack. And you wouldn't even need any courage to do it.

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

4 Comments
  • Gotta agree. As an individual I can buy a Crucial BX500 1TB 3D NAND SATA 2.5-inch SSD for $100. Quantity 1. In bulk, as OEMs buy, should be a 'bit cheaper'. No reason this couldn't be standard, and charging $200 for a 256G is just chutzpah.
  • Absolutely no reason for Apple to sell any product with a mechanical HD.
  • Agree. Both the new Playstation and Xbox are going to have SSDs, buying a computer with a hard disk drive in this day and age is like buying a DVD player, unless it's a server which requires a very large amount of disk space
  • Yep and internal storage is over rated on a desk top rig. With external drives costing so little there is absolutely no reason to dump a ton of money on internal storage. Apple could at least give the option of either a large HDD or say a 256GB SSD for the same price.