The all-in-one PC is perhaps the epitome of Apple design principles. The form factor pushes elegance and simplicity to the extreme. It accepts that some tradeoffs are necessary, and rejects trying to satisfy every little edge case demand, in order achieve the ultimate outcome for a certain mainstream customer. The end result is an iMac, a really great desktop computer. I am not the biggest fan of the aesthetics of the 2021 iteration, but that is beside the point. The iMac is great for what it is.
However, the market dynamics are not in the iMac’s favour. Portable laptops dominate everything these days, and frankly Apple Silicon has minimised many of the traditional disadvantages of choosing a laptop versus a desktop.
The iMac is not a dead end product line, but it naturally warrants far less company resources than the MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. I think we can all observe that the iMac is on a development cadence that sees it receive significant changes once or maybe twice a decade, subsequently upgraded with new more powerful chips every one to two years. The 2021 iMac was the big uplift, the 2023 revision is the example of the spec bump.
The base iMac is clearly set as is, with a 24-inch inbetweener design meant to split the difference between the previous Intel lineup of 21.5-inch and 27-inch sizes. That’s what Apple’s on-the-record press statement is affirming. But just like Apple offers both the Mac mini and Mac Studio, I do think it would be a shame if the company can never justify making a higher end iMac ever again. A true Apple Silicon successor to the iMac Pro could be very compelling, even if not a big seller.
It would make sense for this hypothetical machine to sport an even larger screen size, perhaps 32 inches to rival the Pro Display XDR. To further differentiate from a Studio Display setup, the screen could feature significantly higher display resolutions at 120Hz ProMotion frame rates, taking advantage of the fact that the bandwidth of an internally integrated display controller can far exceed what is supported by external HDMI or DisplayPort cables. The chassis would obviously be designed to house the hungrier Max/Ultra Apple Silicon chips, and — going out on a limb — I’d hope they’d choose an industrial design that can remove the chin bezel underneath the display for good.