Thread: 2019 iMac
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Join Date: May 2004
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2019-03-11, 05:11

OK, so this is mostly a rant about the Surface Studio, which is a little unfair since I think your post is good, but…

Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
Okay, I get it. Microsoft introduced the Surface Studio in October 2016 and caught Apple's iMac team flat-footed.

Because a 28-inch tilting digital easel is interesting? Sure.

Because it has impressive specs? Uhhhh.

Because it sells well? Nooooope.

This idea that the Surface Studio competes with the iMac is silly. The iMac starts at $1,099. The Surface Studio 2 starts at $3,499. And before you go "ahhhh, but it has better specs!": you can only configure it with a laptop CPU.

Now, you might make the case that it competes with the iMac Pro. At that point, it is somewhat cheaper, though actually not by much. The iMac Pro starts at $4,999, yes, but it comes with 32 GB RAM. A 32 GB RAM Surface Studio 2 starts at $4,199. The iMac Pro will also offer you a way, way beefier CPU, while the Surface Studio 2's GPU is slightly better.

Should Apple make an "iMac Art" to compete with this? Perhaps. They're more likely to make a 28-inch iPad Pro, and maybe they're missing the forest for the trees there with their distinction between the Mac and iPad platforms.

(Incidentally, I think neither the Surface line's Windows classic + modern approach nor the iPad's iOS approach quite hits the mark. Both pieces of hardware come coupled with rather meh software.

In the Surface case, you largely end up in an environment that hasn't evolved at all since Windows 7, coupled with an environment from Windows 8 that the user base at large loudly rejected. Microsoft keeps making demos like Paint 3D here and there, but really, the big art applications mostly run in the traditional environment. Microsoft itself seems unsure what if anything to do with modern apps. Explorer still isn't one, nor is most of the Office suite, and it looks like they'll change Edge to no longer be one. Weird.

Meanwhile, on the iPad + iOS side, things aren't that great either. iOS is great for a phone, and fine on a non-Pro iPad, but on the iPad Pro, the starting point is just very constrained, and they got plenty of work to do.)

But as it currently stands, I think your implication that the Surface Studio somehow destroys the iMac is… odd.

Again, it's an interesting product. But it honestly feels more like a design/research study than an actual production machine. If anyone thinks the Mac is niche, well, this product is extremely niche.

Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
Apple pushed out an iMac update in mid-2017, but it was clear to everyone that the Next Big Thing would typically take 18-24 months to show up, and that Apple would have to bring it's A-game.

We're now in March of 2019, and there's still no word on the next iMac update.
I had thought we'd see something by the end of March, and maybe we still might.
It is indeed weird, and arguably just plain bad, that there was no iMac update in 2018. This was the year Intel shipped Coffee Lake and Coffee Lake Refresh. Apple could've brought the iMac to six and even eight (assuming Intel can deliver in volume) cores.

It's possible they made a questionable cannibalization calculation: if they had upgraded the iMac, the couldn't also have upgraded the iMac Pro, because a newer Xeon-W generation isn't out yet (Intel's roadmap is really stupid).

But I think you're right that it's more likely that Apple has been working on a larger iMac update, and they simply aren't done, so they skipped a year.

Which… ugh. These slow Mac schedules are stupid.

Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
But I'm thinking that the release of the next version is either pushed back because there's a form factor change that gives away the design language of the new Mac Pro,
I think that's right.

That, or they'll just change the iMac to match the iMac Pro a little more (especially internally).

Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
or because somewhere deep in the caverns of Apple Park there's a chip that blows the current iMac chips away, and Apple is crazy enough to plan a Fall 2019 launch that will see the flagship Mac lead the transition.
I'm… really not feeling happy with this ARM Mac stuff. But I'm also not very happy with Intel's roadmap, so… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ?

Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
No Touch Bar on keyboard, because no-one is clamoring for that, or for significantly higher prices.
I'm torn on this.

They shipped the iPhone XR without 3D Touch, which they never should have done. It basically communicates, "we don't really know yet where this technology is going, so we might as well leave it out on some models". Which is its death knell. If they do the same with the Touch Bar, they might as well remove it from all models.

But on the other hand, I also don't feel they've gotten the Touch Bar right. Give it haptics, at the very least.

Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
At least one USB port will be easy to reach. (I think this is actually the most unrealistic of my predictions.)

Every time I see a Mac desktop (I'm mostly around laptops), I'm amazed at the poor usability choice here, and that Apple hasn't fixed it in over a decade. Their laptops have nicely reachable ports (remember there was a time when laptop ports were on the back, which was much harder to reach!). But their desktops go all Jony Ive and hide what's important.

Like… throw us a bone here, Apple…

Originally Posted by Frank777 View Post
After that long of a wait, this had better be a spectacular iMac update.
I don't see it. I think they'll make it thinner and upgrade the internals to have the T2 (which, honestly, is hard to communicate as a selling point). Maybe sell that it has twice the cores now. Maybe add stuff like Face ID, like you mentioned…

(No, Apple isn't going to take "but some people tape over their camera" as a counter-argument to that… when the iPhone shipped, it was common for organizations to disallow camera phones altogether. That ship has sailed now. So will the ship of computers + cameras.)