Question for iMac owners: What do you use for portability?

PatriotInvasion

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Jul 18, 2010
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I'm a huge fan of my 27-inch iMac. I have a Late 2013 Haswell and before that I owned a 2010 model. I really enjoy having a big display at my desk, but inevitably the lack of portability becomes an issue, so wondering what other iMac owners choose to go with for their portable computing needs to get a sense of what is most prevalent.

I always thought a MacBook Pro connected to a Cinema/Thunderbolt Display was my best solution, but Apple's display releases never quite synced up with when I was ready to purchase a new Mac (the current Thunderbolt Display is a disgrace at the $999 price). So, for years I've gotten by with an iMac and some form of iPad (2, Air, mini 4). Unfortunately, there are so many scenarios where the iPad can be very limiting and generally a pain to use (typing anything longer than a sentence, file management, etc).

So, since we are probably still a year+ away from a 5K Thunderbolt Display (if ever), I decided to go with a 12" MacBook to replace my iPad mini 4 and can't believe I didn't consider doing this sooner. I suppose the shear cost of this setup was a natural deterrent, but I likely was also scared of managing two file systems in the pre-iCloud days. I'm thinking this may be the ultimate Mac setup for many - a quad-core powerhouse at the desk and an ultraportable, yet ultracapable OS X running Mac for when you're away. Curious how many others own a MacBook in addition to an iMac and some reasoning for your investment in this setup. Thanks.
 

redheeler

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Oct 17, 2014
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27" Retina iMac + 13" Retina MBP. For me this is the perfect combo, the Retina MacBook is nice but a bit limiting with ports and screen res.
 
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zone23

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May 10, 2012
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Well I have a Macbook Air i7 and a iMac. I needed the Air because of the CPU and running AutoCAD in Bootcamp. It works pretty well although a spec update (retina) would be nice.
 

r6mile

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Feb 3, 2010
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I have a 27' iMac (2010 i7) and a 2013 13' MBA, and the setup works very well for me. Since I got the iMac the MBA has been relegated mostly to watching shows and browsing the internet in bed, although when I travel it's nice to have a machine that can do everything I ask of it.
 
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CWallace

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Aug 17, 2007
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Seattle, WA
An iPad Air 2 at the moment. I'll go to the larger iPad Pro once it gets the features and spec refresh of the new 9.7 model.
 

PatriotInvasion

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It seems another possible avenue might be attaching a 4k/5k non-Apple monitor to a rMBP to fit the "huge desktop monitor + reasonable portability" bill.

https://www.macrumors.com/guide/4k-5k-displays-buyers-guide-mac/
This is very true; however, in true fan boy fashion, I simply cannot bring myself to use a non-Apple display. There's something about seeing OS X's dock with a Dell, LG, or Samsung logo right below it that just hurts my heart and feels wrong. Yes, I understand I am crazy but it's the way it is for me.
 
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varian55zx

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May 10, 2012
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San Francisco
I'm a desktop guy. Always preferred using a computer at an actual physical desk, it's where, if I have the option, my usage of a computer 99% of the time is.

I also own a MacBook Pro which is ideal for mobile situations. I love the MacBook Pros so it is great to take on the go. Love my 15 inch rMBP.

I'm not overly fond of tablets, as their usefulness to me honestly seems minimal, so instead I'll use the MacBook Pro retina or my iPhone.

The iMac itself is not portable at all. Transporting it is quite un enjoyable. If you're one to hold onto the box, that is actually probably the best option right there if you want to move it (just stick it in your garage).

A better option still is to buy one of those iMac carrying bags, they're sold online. This is a much more stylish option and, without a doubt, the best choice for transporting it. Granted, I don't like to move my iMac very much. I prefer to leave it where it is and not move it.
 

Works4Me

macrumors regular
Aug 29, 2007
216
320
Canada
Have late 2013 iMac with a 27" Dell hooked up as well. I have an early 2015 13 Macbook Pro retina as my portable machine. It's a pretty good combination. Oh and I have Ipad Air 2 that I take with me and sometimes use as an extra display via "Air Display." I'm not a power user, but I honestly can't use the Air 2 has a substitute for my iMac. I mark papers on it occasionally, and compose a few emails, but iOS is too limiting for me. For work out and about I really need my 13" MacBook Pro...
 

colodane

macrumors 6502a
Nov 11, 2012
829
277
Colorado
I'm now totally retired and travel fairly infrequently, so my portable "computing" needs are minimal. I enjoy the convenience and optimal user interface of my iMac at home.

When I am out of the house, either locally or on a trip, my needs are mostly just reading, email and web access, etc. My iPad Mini 2 and iPod Touch work fine for this. Absolutely no need or desire for a laptop at this point in my life. No complaints about that.
 
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MRxROBOT

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Apr 14, 2016
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This is very true; however, in true fan boy fashion, I simply cannot bring myself to use a non-Apple display. There's something about seeing OS X's dock with a Dell, LG, or Samsung logo right below it that just hurts my heart and feels wrong. Yes, I understand I am crazy but it's the way it is for me.
 

Icaras

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Mar 18, 2008
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This is very true; however, in true fan boy fashion, I simply cannot bring myself to use a non-Apple display. There's something about seeing OS X's dock with a Dell, LG, or Samsung logo right below it that just hurts my heart and feels wrong. Yes, I understand I am crazy but it's the way it is for me.
I wouldn't have it any other way myself. Hoping Apple announces 4K/5K Thunderbolt displays this year.
 

PatriotInvasion

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Jul 18, 2010
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Boston, MA
I wouldn't have it any other way myself. Hoping Apple announces 4K/5K Thunderbolt displays this year.
Don't count on it. This article does a great job explaining why mid to late 2017 is more likely for a 5K Thunderbolt Display. The problem lies in Intel's support for the DisplayPort 1.3 spec that is required to run a 5K display over a single USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connection using single-stream transport (SST).

https://www.macrumors.com/2016/01/15/apple-5k-thunderbolt-display/

4K displays are just now becoming mainstream at reasonable prices, but Apple has chosen to skip 4K on an external display. The reason is probably because they don't feel comfortable calling 4K (3840x2160 or 4096x2304) a "Retina display" on any display more than the 21.5-inch iMac as the pixels per inch would be below 200 PPI. All "Retina" Macs have PPI's that range from 217-227 PPI. I doubt many would want a 21.5" external display so we're going to have to wait longer for a 27-inch 5K Thunderbolt Display at 217 PPI.
 

Ludatyk

macrumors 68020
May 27, 2012
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Texas
Curious how many others own a MacBook in addition to an iMac and some reasoning for your investment in this setup. Thanks.
I have the 12.9 iPP instead of a MacBook.

I actually owned a MacBook before... but I prefer the flexibility of the iPad. I use OS X with iMac... when away from it, it's kind of cool to transition to iOS on iPP. Of course, iOS doesn't compare to OS X... But how Apple is putting more attention toward the iPad, I'm really anxious to see what's to come.
 
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Nunyabinez

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Apr 27, 2010
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Provo, UT
Curious how many others own a MacBook in addition to an iMac and some reasoning for your investment in this setup. Thanks.
I also have a riMac and a nMB. My reasoning was fairly simple. First, I got spoiled using a retina display. I had a 13" MBA before this and going from the iMac to the MBA was jarring to my eyes. #firstworldproblems Second, usually I have very different needs when I'm at my desk versus mobile. I don't do work that needs a powerhouse when I'm remote, only one for basic computing.

I suppose that I could use an iPad, but I usually still need full blown Mac Apps, I just don't need to do photoshop type stuff on the run. Running the identical version of Office on my MB means I have no compatibility issues when I get back to my iMac.

I would highly recommend this set-up. The whole "only one USB-C" thing is a non issue for me. I have an adapter for the infrequent times when I need to project or use an external drive of some kind, but that is really infrequent. YMMV.
 
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Icaras

macrumors 603
Mar 18, 2008
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Don't count on it. This article does a great job explaining why mid to late 2017 is more likely for a 5K Thunderbolt Display. The problem lies in Intel's support for the DisplayPort 1.3 spec that is required to run a 5K display over a single USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 connection using single-stream transport (SST).

https://www.macrumors.com/2016/01/15/apple-5k-thunderbolt-display/

4K displays are just now becoming mainstream at reasonable prices, but Apple has chosen to skip 4K on an external display. The reason is probably because they don't feel comfortable calling 4K (3840x2160 or 4096x2304) a "Retina display" on any display more than the 21.5-inch iMac as the pixels per inch would be below 200 PPI. All "Retina" Macs have PPI's that range from 217-227 PPI. I doubt many would want a 21.5" external display so we're going to have to wait longer for a 27-inch 5K Thunderbolt Display at 217 PPI.
As long as it's in the pipeline I guess. The least Apple could do right now is lower the price on the current TBD. I remember when Steve was alive, Cinema Displays had constant price drops over the years.
 
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PatriotInvasion

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Jul 18, 2010
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Boston, MA
I have the 12.9 iPP instead of a MacBook.

I actually owned a MacBook before... but I prefer the flexibility of the iPad. I use OS X with iMac... when away from it, it's kind of cool to transition to iOS on iPP. Of course, iOS doesn't compare to OS X... But how Apple is putting more attention toward the iPad, I'm really anxious to see what's to come.
I was in this boat but got tired of dealing with the iPad/iOS's shortcomings when away from my desk. The 12.9" iPP is a cool device, but unless you plan to do a lot of art work with the Pencil, I view the MacBook as the better buy for around the same price (128GB + Smart Keyboard). To each his own, but at least we all agree on the iMac.
 
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geekiemac

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Feb 13, 2016
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I decided to go with a 12" MacBook to replace my iPad mini 4 and can't believe I didn't consider doing this sooner. (...) I'm thinking this may be the ultimate Mac setup for many - a quad-core powerhouse at the desk and an ultraportable, yet ultracapable OS X running Mac for when you're away. Curious how many others own a MacBook in addition to an iMac and some reasoning for your investment in this setup.
I have an iMac 27" retina late 2015 and recently, bought an early 2015 rMB.
Before that, I had a mid-2007 iMac and one of the earlier iPads and replaced them both this year with the above setup.

I travel fairly often, mostly for work (more or less once a month). Most of the time, I would take my work laptop (a HP laptop with Windows) with me, and the iPad. But to be quite honest I never managed to work productively on the iPad. The iPad would be there mostly to consume stuff (play games, read, watch a movie, etc.). But when it came to "real work" (which for me means working on Office stuff - Word, Excel, Powerpoint), I'd miss the flexibility and the usability of a real computer and pull out the office laptop...

So when I replaced my ageing iMac, I figured out it was also time to rethink my portable setup. The little rMB seemed perfect for that. Very light. Easy to carry around when traveling. I don't care about the so-called lack in connectivity, all I need is an adapter for a VGA screen/beamer, just in case.

So now, my work laptop remains in the office and I travel with my rMB which provides a perfect combination of a work environment thanks to Office for Mac and connectivity to my company network and a personal environment (OS X) with my music, movies and a way to easily get my photos onto my personal cloud at home... and the feeling I'm working on my home device. When I get back home I find everything I worked on or did during my trip on my beautiful iMac.

I'm really quite happy with this setup.
 
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ggibson913

macrumors 6502a
Sep 11, 2006
910
354
I'm a huge fan of my 27-inch iMac. I have a Late 2013 Haswell and before that I owned a 2010 model. I really enjoy having a big display at my desk, but inevitably the lack of portability becomes an issue, so wondering what other iMac owners choose to go with for their portable computing needs to get a sense of what is most prevalent.

I always thought a MacBook Pro connected to a Cinema/Thunderbolt Display was my best solution, but Apple's display releases never quite synced up with when I was ready to purchase a new Mac (the current Thunderbolt Display is a disgrace at the $999 price). So, for years I've gotten by with an iMac and some form of iPad (2, Air, mini 4). Unfortunately, there are so many scenarios where the iPad can be very limiting and generally a pain to use (typing anything longer than a sentence, file management, etc).

So, since we are probably still a year+ away from a 5K Thunderbolt Display (if ever), I decided to go with a 12" MacBook to replace my iPad mini 4 and can't believe I didn't consider doing this sooner. I suppose the shear cost of this setup was a natural deterrent, but I likely was also scared of managing two file systems in the pre-iCloud days. I'm thinking this may be the ultimate Mac setup for many - a quad-core powerhouse at the desk and an ultraportable, yet ultracapable OS X running Mac for when you're away. Curious how many others own a MacBook in addition to an iMac and some reasoning for your investment in this setup. Thanks.
My iMac is a personal computer. So for portability right now I use an iPad Air 2, I think about the 12.9 inch Pro but am happy with mine at the moment and can do most things that I would want to do at the moment. I am amazed that with the right apps, how productive I can be on the iPad. The 5K screen is absolutely gorgeous and I would never want to part with it other than for another one.
 
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