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M1 iMac Review Roundup: Elegant Form. Middling Function

If runway models were PCs…

Apple’s M1 iMac was by far the biggest talking point of their April Spring Loaded event, and for good reason. It’s the first major design update the iMac range has gotten in 11 years, it runs Apple’s still impressive M1 processor and it hearkens to be a sign of things to come for the future of the company’s Mac lineup. But striking and symbolic as it may be, it’s still a computer that people would need to test before they decide it’s a technological masterpiece or just another piece of expensive apple junk. So where does it end up? Find out in the review roundup below.

Chances are the title already gave you a good idea on the general thoughts for this machine but if they didn’t here’s the basic gist. The M1 iMac is a stunning and technologically impressive machine as far as how it looks and how thin it is. This is basically a machine as powerful as 10th i7’s that’s in a frame that’s thinner that’s in a frame that’s slimmer than an Apple Watch and has a screen better than most laptops and desktops (and quite a few TV’s) on the planet. Simply put, it’s powerful, great to look at and has advancements that almost any kind of computer on this planet will envy. That should put it in a good spot, right? Well, not exactly. Because as amazing as this machine looks, it’s actually a quintessential indicator of Apple being well, Apple. Because as great as this machine is to look at and admire, it actually follows short a little when it comes to working on it. How? Well the obvious fact is the ports. Apple’s port situation does not bode well. At all actually. Remember this is a machine that has to be used by a whole family or at least most office workers. Not pro-level IT professionals sure, but almost everyone else. Yet despite this being a computer made for such a large market(especially in a pandemic where computer sales are booming), this machine literally starts with TWO PORTS! Just two. That may make sense for it’s entry-level M1 MacBook Air but it’s kind of a joke for a machine meant to be used by office workers or a whole house’s worth of people. Add that to the fact that this machine’s own keyboard and mouse are wireless and you realise that if both your keyboard and mouse need to charge then you basically can’t connect anything else to your PC(like an external drive considering this thing tops out at 512GB) without a USB hub. And that’s honestly a little unacceptable considering this is a machine that starts at $1300.
Quick Sidenote: The Magic Mouse 2 still sucks. You won’t be able to use your mouse or your 1/2 USB-C ports
Apple themselves probably know it too, considering they priced their MacBook air much cheaper than this, considering that this is a shinier, newer looking machine than the M1 air, despite the fact that the entry level iMac and the M1(along with the MacBook Pro) are almost the exact same machine with minor internally changes based on heating or Speakers in the iMac’s case. There’s also the issue of RAM, which varies based on your mileage to be fair, but there’s of course people who can only buy this machine as far as the new iMac range is concerned and considering how much power the M1 can churn out, expandable RAM would have been pretty great. Of course , in the end, that all varies according to people’s milage and to be fair Apple could optimize even the 8GB RAM  model of this PC to run lighting fast for years, meaning RAM may be more of a power thing as compared to something needed for the machine to actually run well. Then there’s my own personal plight which to be fair, is another choice on Apple that’s not really huge for Mac fans I’m sure, but being someone who plays with both Mac and Windows, it has to be said: put a touchscreen on this thing Apple!
Go ahead, try and tell me this thing shouldn’t be touch
Seriously at this point, having MacOS Big Sur which looks like it’s icons are just begging to be touched ,adding iOS apps because of the M1 processor and now creating an iMac that basically looks like an iPad with a giant chin at the bottom and still you don’t put a touchscreen on it?! At this rate I’m convinced Apple will eventually release a MacOS version with touch likely later this year and refreshed versions of these Macs that do have touch, basically making you wish you bought those instead. Of course, I could be wrong. I mean Apple has been sidelining people with touch displays for years, even though the M1 processor comes with the necessary controllers to support a touch display so essentially all the pieces are there, Apple just doesn’t want to do it (we’re still waiting for someone to hack the M1 iPad and make a touch-based fork of MacOS, but well, that might take a while). And to be honest Apple limiting its machines somehow is kind of a trend this year. The M1 iPad is limited by iPadOS, the iMacs by their ports and processor’s board limitations, and their phones by their 60hz displays . All things Apple can likely get over, but just hasn’t yet for various reasons.

So, is the 24-inch range of iMacs worth it? Well, if you’re for the specific users we’ve mentioned, are a MacOS user and somehow don’t want the MacBook Air or Pro instead, then yeah, go for it. But if you could use literally any other computer, then well the thin frame here and M1 processor might not be (and honestly probably shouldn’t be) enough to jump into buying these. The M1 Mac mini offers the same power if you can provide your own display(though the iMac’s will probably have you drooling if you don’t have your own 4K+ monitor of your own) and if you’re in the windows world well you can still have all this power and more for comparable prices with all your ports and extra. So if you’re an office looking for some good All-in-ones to use, chances are then you’ll still find some easier machines to use on the windows side of things. And if you’re a Mac fan requiring a little more power, well the good part is there’s definitely some more powerful iMacs coming to market soon enough, so you don’t have to give in just yet. Maybe they’ll even have touch, who knows.

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