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iMacs 25 years on – why do we STILL love them?

More than any other Apple device iMacs seem to be the one that steals our hearts…but why?

25 years of iMac

Last year at Apple’s Scary Fast event Apple gave us the next iteration of the iconic iMac. Now packing the latest M3 Apple silicon architecture it has recaptured our hearts all over again.

I bought one – and every time I write about it or make videos about the iMac it always gets people commenting and talking about their stories and love affairs with what is quite possibly the best all-in-one desktop computer…ever.

But what is it about iMac that we love so much?

Showing our age

Now 25 years old iMac has been around long enough to carve out its place in our hearts. Sentiment and memories abound when we think of iMacs and that must be part of the reason for our attachment to them.

Let’s not forget that the iMac played a massive part in resurrecting the fortunes of Apple. The company was just weeks away from financial ruin when Steve Jobs returned as CEO of Apple, and upon that return, there were a couple of pivotal moments that aligned to give birth to the iMac – or the MacMan as Jobs had originally intended it to be called.

One of those moments was Jobs intention to slim down the rather bloated and confused Apple line-up. The iMac summed up his vision of what he wanted the new Apple to be – inventive, intuitive and above all consumer friendly. The other moment that created’ the iMac was when Jobs first met Brit Jony Ive – Apple’s design lead. It was the perfect storm.

History tells us that they went on to create iconic devices together including staples of everyday life such as the iPhone & iPad.

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Never afraid to be different

When the iMac was redesigned in 2021 the design still continued to create headlines.

The chin remained – which seemed to offend it had white bezels which equally upset many pundits and some berated the lack of ports.

But you see iMac has never been afraid to be different. When it launched many were surprised that it eschewed the standard issue floppy disk drive and instead decided to use a CD-ROM tray. iMac was also the first consumer-grade computer to use USB-C ports.

As innocuous as the iMac at first seems it has always been a groundbreaking machine, and proving that Apple had a heart when the Apple silicon iMacs were launched colours were brought back with a sentimental nod to its heritage.

Designed to be used

It’s always assumed that iMacs are pretty pretenders – sitting on reception desks or in kitchens at home – but to think that the iMac can’t do the heavy lifting of a daily workflow would be a mistake.

Part of the reason that iMacs have lasted so long is that they are the Mac for everyone. If you just want to watch some content or surf around a few websites it’s more than happy to rest on its laurels and play that role for you – but on the other hand, if you want to crank out some hi-end video work your iMac can step up and perform for you.

One of the first things I fell in love with when I bought my first iMac was the display. iMacs have always had stunning displays. Over the years it’s been one of their USPs. Apple knew it too and in 2015 upped the game by releasing the first Retina display iMac with the 27-inch iMac having a 5K panel and the 24-inch model having a 4K panel.

And when I first unpacked and started to use my new M3 iMac that display is still the main attraction. I’m used to working on either a 16-inch M1 Max MacBook Pro or a Studio Display – both of which are stunning, but somehow sitting in front of the iMac feels more – I don’t Apple-ie if you know what I mean.

Happy to help

Many iMac lovers recall the heady days of the iMac Pro that debuted in 2017.

It came out at a time when the Mac Pro had lost its way and Apple needed to buy themselves some time while they sorted that fiasco out.

So, their answer was to take the existing 27-inch iMac frame, add some more cooling, beef up the RAM and throw in a Xeon processor and fast SSD storage. It was the most expensive iMac ever and was a ‘one-and-done’ deal never getting an update. Its retirement coincided with the release of the M1 iMacs in 2021.

Many of the comments I’ve had both here on my stories and on YouTube centre around the love of those larger iMacs and a desire for them to return to Apple’s lineup.

No one knows for sure whether or not Apple will ever make a large iMac again – but I would guess that it’s unlikely.

While they could theoretically plug the required internals in the Studio Display and give us a 27-inch iMac that way, I don’t think the current Mac line-up allows for or needs it.

It’s our emotions running away with us again – it’s the love of iMacs from years gone past interfering with rational decisions. As performant as the new, latest iMacs are, Apple is happy for them to be seen as the consumer-grade Macs.

Yes, a spec’d M3 iMac will be more than powerful for most people but one of the most important facts about iMacs and one of Jobs’s core visions, was for it to be simple to use. That is as true today as it’s always been – anyone can buy one and have it up and running in next to no time. Everything you need is in the box and no expert knowledge is needed.

The iMac needs to remain an iMac.

Apple users and fans are spoiled rotten right now – the current Mac line-up is pretty much perfect with a Mac for everyone, of every need and every budget.

Apple silicon changed the rules.

The cheapest MacBook Air starts at £1000 and even that will be more than powerful for most users. But after that, we now have M3 MacBook Pros in two sizes, the Mac Studio, Mac minis and Mac Pro and of course the M3 iMacs. There are even two displays available to choose from as well – has there ever been a better line-up?

Into the future with iMac

But what future is there for the iMac?

Not only is Apple’s line-up formidable, but our needs, and their customers’ needs have changed.

Being chained to a desk 8 hours a day is no longer appealing or required and with Apple silicon, the ability to work anywhere is now a reality. Post COVID desktop Mac sales are falling but even so Apple seems happy to get behind its old friend the iMac.

Another problem faced by Apple, particularly with the iMac is its longevity – they just last and last. I’ve lost count of the number of comments from readers and viewers telling me they’re still using 2017 or 2018 iMacs – and they are still up to the task.

iMacs are built like tanks and anyone lucky enough to have an M series iMac will not need to think about changing for years to come.

Nothing will stop me from loving iMacs – I just hope Apple has enough sentiment left in its corporate bones to let it live on to fight for a few more years. But if you are still using an Intel iMac – help the cause – go grab yourself an M3 iMac.

Not only will you have bought yourself an amazing machine – but you’ll help prolong the iMac legacy too.

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