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iMac – my 1st love & why the affair continues…

I just knew I’d weaken!

M3 iMac

I tried hard yesterday to fight temptation, but I finally gave in late last night and bought another iMac.

I say another as I think this will be my fourth, and of all the Macs I’ve owned and used the iMac is the one that first stole my heart. Post-pandemic my daily workflow changed – where I had always worked from one place now I tend to divide my time between working from home and the studio space.

That change was what was behind the decision to switch last year from using an iMac as my main Mac to a MacBook Pro. Don’t get me wrong the MacBook is one helluva a machine and is the best spec’d Mac I’ve ever bought. In the early days, when I was none the wiser I used to trot into my local Apple Store and just buy a Mac there and then – off the shelf. Of course these days my demands are more taxing and hopefully I’m a little better informed as to what boxes to tick when buying a new Mac.

But why the iMac affair?

iMacs and me

My very first Mac was actually a very early MacBook Air – my gateway drug as it were – and because of that Mac and how much I loved working on it I bought my first iMac in 2012 and I worked purely on iMacs from then through until last year.

The look of it took me – that square chunky boxy, aluminium look of those Ive designed iMacs from that era looked bloody gorgeous and I loved sitting down and working on it every day. Having come from PCs and PC displays, to work on a retina display seemed almost space age – the clarity was something else and the colours popped out at you.

Somehow the iMac screams Mac to me more than any other Mac – and still does. It’s been iconic for all its 25 years and to my remains so. The shape, style, feel, size, and all-in-one design make them just gorgeous machines to sit in front of every day. And to that list of desirable qualities can now also be added colours too…

Timing has a lot to do with my affinity for iMacs. Just after buying that first 21.5-inch iMac, I started my design business and that meant I was leaning heavily into Adobe’s suite of apps. The fact I was learning something new tied me to the iMac even more – I kinda felt it was helping me on my way. Graphic design and Macs fit together perfectly. Emotionally as I think back I can still picture myself sitting there with that Mac on an exciting new journey – new business, new career, new skills and an iMac – yup…great memories…

In a nutshell that is why I fell for iMacs.

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The real deal

That first iMac served me well enough for about 3 years. I’d bought extra RAM – we are talking back in the days when you could do that kind of thing…and swapped out the spinning disk for a larger, quicker SSD. But in that time, my workflow and demands had changed and I needed something with more grunt and more horsepower.

That saw me spec up a Mac for the first time and brought me to the Mac that I still have the most history with – my Intel 27-inch 5K iMac. For the kind of work I was doing by that time, I needed the larger display for one and also the higher spec graphics pack I had on that Mac – and I even chose to have what at the time seemed a whopping 1 TB of storage on it – it was the first time I found out about the Apple tax on storage, but it has been worth every penny. It turns out I bought well – I worked on that Mac for 7 years.

Other memories are linked to that Mac as well – my design company had grown because and with it, there was the day I bought it home from the studio as we went into lockdown, working on it after I’d had a hip operation as I recovered at home and the day I was sitting working on it when I got the call telling me my mum had passed away. For so many reasons that particular iMac will always be the one that I look back at most fondly – similar to how we look back at our first car – it has that kind of feeling attached to for me.

Okay – it wasn’t my first iMac but it’s the one I have spent the longest with – and given what I do now, I’ll probably never spend so long on one Mac again…sad but true.

Although my workflow had grown over that time it managed to grow with me. I’d originally bought it only as a graphic design Mac but I ended up editing audio on it, using it to broadcast from (I used to present live radio – all done from that iMac), leaning heavily into Photoshop with it and even dabbled with After Effects on it too. Pretty much whatever I asked of it, it would happily comply.

The straw that eventually broke the camel’s back was when I started editing video – that was a stretch too far and saw me trying out Apple silicon and seeing if it was as good as everyone was telling me.

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Into the future

We all knew that at the event a couple of days ago we were going to get Macs and Apple didn’t disappoint.

So well established is Apple silicon now that we saw them launch the complete suite of M3 chips on Monday – gone are the staggered releases – now we seem set to get the base, Pro and Max chips all at once. My guess is if they done it this time that will set the precedent for future Apple silicon upgrades.

I’ve been over the moon with my MacBook Pro and there is absolutely nothing to suggest that I should be thinking about changing. For the time being at least I can’t see my demands on it becoming heavier for a while to come and only very rarely do I come close to making it break a sweat. Very occasionally a chunky Premiere plug-in can make miss a beat – but that’s about it.

Forgetting the money side of it, swapping out my main Mac is also not something I don’t do lightly either. There are so many things to import, sign in to and download that swapping it is a bit of a pain. I’m sure I’d notice some very minor, incremental improvements – but not enough to tempt me.

So I have gone the other route – rather than searching out the most powerful M3 Mac, I’ve gone for the most basic and ‘slowest’ M3 Apple silicon Mac out there – but I am, in a sense also returning home in buying another iMac – not gonna lie, I do feel a little tingle of excitement about it’s arrival.

The plans

This new Mac will never take the place of that 27-inch one and I am certainly not looking to sell or ever get rid of it – it stays put.

I think the time has come though to finally lay the old girl to rest. Next week I’ll sign out of Apple Music, iCloud and my email accounts and power it off for possibly the last time – I know it sounds as if I am decommissioning a ship, but it kind of feels like I am saying goodbye to almost a decade of my life – and what a time we’ve had and seen.

As for the new iMac that arrives next Tuesday, well, I wanted the base model for a very good reason…

Although I probably won’t use this new iMac heavily or even that regularly I am super keen to see what M3 is all about – and you know what, I have this sneaky suspicion it’s going to be way more than just a pretty face. I have this odd feeling that as I start to use it next week my M1 Max beast may start to feel the heat from the cheapest, entry-level, most basic M3 Mac out there.

Apple silicon surprised me once – is lightning about to strike twice?

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