Yes, I am disappointed.

My M1 iMac (2021) has been my daily driver for the past couple of years. It’s the machine that brought me to the macOS side, and I have never looked back.

I love its performance, the all-in-one form factor, its quirky design with the white bezels, and everything else.

A perfect setup

So, it’s no surprise that I was excited when I saw an Apple Event tease for the 31st of October, named “Scary Fast”. All rumors pointed to Apple launching their M3 silicon, new MacBook Pros, and, most important to me, a new iMac!

I was so ready to upgrade.

The M1 is a wonder in itself, but having tasted a more recent processor (M1 Pro) on my MacBook, I can see the difference, especially in intensive tasks, like working on a larger project on Android Studio or XCode.

Also, a few weeks ago, I spilled liquid on my Magic Keyboard, and its Space bar key is now beyond repair. When I saw the Apple Event announcement, I decided to hold on replacing it, since I may opt for an upgrade. I manage by swapping it for the right Command key, which is not ideal, but it works.

And then, the event came along.

When I noticed that the iMac section was only 5 minutes long, disappointment started settling in. In this short time, we found out that the new iMac simply gets the base M3 chip, and that’s all.

That’s all! After two and a half years, the only change was putting in the M3 chip and calling it a day.

All other Mac products have evolved by leaps and bounds during this time: the turn to USB-C, removing the touch bar, changing the shape and ports of MacBooks, adding a new color, etc.

But not the iMac.

Here is a non-comprehensive list, of what Apple could include for the iMac 2023 refresh:

  • USB-C connection for the peripherals. This is so confusing. The move to USB-C ports on the iPhones has been one of this year’s major features, and other Apple products are getting the same treatment (AirPods, Apple Pencil). How can it be that the Magic Keyboard and Mouse are still on Lightning?
  • Improved base configurations. It’s embarrassing to be selling 8GB RAM/256GB SSD version as the base one in 2023. I get that the 8GM RAM could be enough for most people, supported by M3’s impressive performance output, but the price point is too high, and adding more RAM/SSD to the configuration is unjustifiably expensive.
An acceptable orange iMac configuration of 16GB RAM/1TB SSD brings the total to $2,129 (and even more in non-US stores, like here in Greece)
  • A new color. Come on, even the MacBook Pro got a new Space Black color, which looks sleek, provided it has some fingerprint/smudges prevention coating now. We could at least do with a new color to spice up the iMac refresh. Having to pay $200 extra for the yellow, orange, and purple seems exorbitant, too.
  • More ports. Again, we have come from the Jony Ive era’s minimal port selection (dongles everywhere!) to the latest MacBook Pro having three Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports (!), HDMI port (!), SDXC card slot (!), and a headphone jack (!!!).
    And what does the iMac 2023 bring to the table? Just two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, and then, if you get the middle/top configuration, another two USB 3 ports. Just abysmal.
*Cries in all the ports that could fit there*
  • An upgrade to the peripherals. Apart from the non-USB-C debacle, having a backlit keyboard (like the one that MacBooks come with or other third-party options) would be useful. Also, I can’t understand how the Magic Mouse still exists, and it’s not the awkward charging setup I am referring to. It’s simply one of the less ergonomic mouses I’ve ever used, with its small size, weird shape, and awful click travel.

At this point, the current Mac lineup feels a bit unbalanced.

I mean, the MacBooks are simply beasts, and their combination of design, portability, connectivity is the best it’s ever been. I still think that my M1 Pro MacBook Pro is the best laptop ever made, in terms of performance and value-for-money.

However, if you prefer a desktop setup, like me, you are left with a few choices:

  • You can get the Mac Mini. It provides great value for its specifications, but you still need to bring all the peripherals (display, mouse, keyboard). And if you want to get a display from Apple, the Studio Display (which looks great!) starts from $1599.
  • There is the Mac Studio and Mac Pro, but they are so overpowered and, subsequently, expensive, that I imagine that only a miniscule portion of professional users can even justify getting them. And you again have to bring your own peripherals.
  • So, we are left with the iMac, which caters to a more regular user base, and is the only all-in-one computer that Apple offers. It features a great display, and also offers the keyboard and mouse in the package. I personally cannot justify the upgrade from M1, but, even if I was out for a new Mac today, I would feel a bit sour about all the drawbacks mentioned above.

So, yes, it was such a disappointing update. At this point, it makes no sense to upgrade just for the M3 chip.

My M1 iMac can handle tasks without breaking a sweat, except when I have 20 browser tabs open, 2-3 Electron apps on the background, and I am also compiling and debugging my apps with Android Studio/XCode/VS Code.

In the end, I yesterday ordered a Magic Keyboard replacement (TouchID, black keys).

I intend to keep my trusty M1 2021 iMac for now, at least until a better offer comes along. Maybe there is still a possibility for a 27-inch iMac or another all-in-one machine from Apple? Let’s hope.