Wanted updated design, but too thirsty for 5K

PatriotInvasion

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I have a Late-2013 27" iMac and after resisting the desire to get the first 5K iMac in 2014, I figured I'd hold off until there was an updated case design. I assumed since the iMac's external design was unchanged since the 2012 unveiling of the 5mm edge version, that surely they'd update it at some point soon. Then the 2015 update came and went with the same design, so I held out even longer. Fast forward to 2017, and we get this latest update with again the same case design (with the exception of Thunderbolt 3 ports replacing Thunderbolt 2 and the availability of the new Numeric Keypad Magic Keyboard).

I was initially a little disappointed that my wait would continue until I saw Apple double down on this case design with the well-received unveiling of the iMac Pro. It makes me feel like this design is here to stay for the foreseeable future otherwise they wouldn't have invested all this R&D into an iMac Pro only to change the design a year later. So with that said, I finally sprung for the new 5K 27" iMac with a 512GB SSD and the new full-size Magic Keyboard and am pretty pumped (arrives in 2 weeks). Interested in other people's thoughts on the continuation of this current case design and if that played a role at all in your decision making.
 

CWallace

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Aug 17, 2007
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The Foxconn Leaker stated a new design was coming next year, but honestly, other than maybe shrinking the bezels, what would they change? And is that really worth waiting for if the Mid-2017 model meets your needs?
 
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PatriotInvasion

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The Foxconn Leaker stated a new design was coming next year, but honestly, other than maybe shrinking the bezels, what would they change? And is that really worth waiting for if the Mid-2017 model meets your needs?
I saw what the leaker said, but I wonder if perhaps he confused it with the iMac Pro. Either way, given the rate of Mac updates these days, I think I'm safe with this latest model until at least late-2018. If my hunch is correct, now is definitely the best time to buy.
 

MadDane

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I think there is a change that a new case design will arrive sometime next year. I also think that Apple has realized how unwise it was to leave their entire lineup untouched for so long, and therefore I think it is likely that they will start updating all of their hardware more regularly. This, I believe, is also the reason for the heavier focus on the Macs at WWDC and even Tim Cook saying something like "The foundation of Apple" when talking about the Mac.
 

fathergll

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I saw what the leaker said, but I wonder if perhaps he confused it with the iMac Pro. Either way, given the rate of Mac updates these days, I think I'm safe with this latest model until at least late-2018. If my hunch is correct, now is definitely the best time to buy.

A new redesign is sort of holding me off as well but to me the biggest issue on waiting is that the iMac Pro isn't coming out until nearly 2018 by the time it ships. Even though iMac Pro is aimed at a slightly different audience(kind of a hybrid iMac poweruser/Mac Pro user) Apple isn't going to want any cannibalization going on. I agree that the earliest a redesign iMac coming out would be late 2018. A big question is will there be a new Mac Pro out by then. I can't see Apple making 2 huge announcements in late 2018 with a completely redesigned iMac and a new Mac Pro.

With that said I think there is a better chance of a redesigned iMac coming out before the new Mac Pro. Apple has probably been working on a redesigned iMac for years now and the Mac Pro is probably very early in development.
 

inhalexhale1

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Jul 17, 2011
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The Foxconn Leaker stated a new design was coming next year, but honestly, other than maybe shrinking the bezels, what would they change? And is that really worth waiting for if the Mid-2017 model meets your needs?
Not to mention it's always worth waiting a few months too see if there are any recurring issues with a new version.
 

Ph.D.

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Jul 8, 2014
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Some thoughts about the iMac's current design, the iMac Pro and a future redesigned iMac and Mac Pro:

The next iMac could easily be as slim as a laptop once the 3.5" drive is inevitably dropped. But the iMac Pro definitely needs the extra space inside the enclosure for large heat sinks and fans. So there would be forced, and premature, fork in the design language if an iMac was redesigned now.

The Mac Pro is claimed to arrive with a new Apple-designed monitor. That monitor, and the new iMac, could then share a common design language. A redesigned iMac, more focused as effectively a large-screen laptop on the desktop, could be introduced with the Mac Pro. The iMac Pro, needing the extra space, would carry on in the legacy design as the powerhouse iMac.

I imagine the new iMac as being laptop-thin, with greatly reduced bezels, possibly a larger screen, and a vestigial "chin" to maintain design continuity with past designs.
 

fathergll

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Some thoughts about the iMac's current design, the iMac Pro and a future redesigned iMac and Mac Pro:

The next iMac could easily be as slim as a laptop once the 3.5" drive is inevitably dropped. But the iMac Pro definitely needs the extra space inside the enclosure for large heat sinks and fans. So there would be forced, and premature, fork in the design language if an iMac was redesigned now.

The Mac Pro is claimed to arrive with a new Apple-designed monitor. That monitor, and the new iMac, could then share a common design language. A redesigned iMac, more focused as effectively a large-screen laptop on the desktop, could be introduced with the Mac Pro. The iMac Pro, needing the extra space, would carry on in the legacy design as the powerhouse iMac.

I imagine the new iMac as being laptop-thin, with greatly reduced bezels, possibly a larger screen, and a vestigial "chin" to maintain design continuity with past designs.

A strong possibility as well that it ends up resembling a large laptop on a stand in many ways. The only thing I don't see happening is Apple releasing both the Mac Pro and iMac at the same time. If these are major redesigns they probably want them spaced out for press reasons. I also doubt they are both at the same point in development. Apple has been probably working on this iMac redesign for god knows how long. I have a strong suspicion they are way behind on any Mac Pro and the iMac Pro will help them buy more time.
 

Ph.D.

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A strong possibility as well that it ends up resembling a large laptop on a stand in many ways. The only thing I don't see happening is Apple releasing both the Mac Pro and iMac at the same time. If these are major redesigns they probably want them spaced out for press reasons. I also doubt they are both at the same point in development. Apple has been probably working on this iMac redesign for god knows how long. I have a strong suspicion they are way behind on any Mac Pro and the iMac Pro will help them buy more time.
I don't imagine the Mac Pro is very badly behind, as it could in principle be an iMac Pro in a box. They claimed that they wanted to do more than that, though, which could cause things to be stretched out. Meanwhile, as you say, the iMac Pro takes a large amount of pressure off of that development. That's what worries me, and why it could still be a long wait.

Apple also has a history of being bold about launching multiple products simultaneously, especially when they are in the same class, so I wouldn't worry about them stretching things out just for the press. But the next iMac probably won't come for another year. That's a long enough wait for a Mac Pro, so maybe that time frame fits, and maybe not - it certainly doesn't for those waiting for a "real" Mac Pro.
 

Pakaku

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I was initially a little disappointed that my wait would continue until I saw Apple double down on this case design with the well-received unveiling of the iMac Pro. It makes me feel like this design is here to stay for the foreseeable future otherwise they wouldn't have invested all this R&D into an iMac Pro only to change the design a year later.
iMac Pro looks like it covers a few things:
- it's more-or-less a redesigned Tube Pro
- it's the first new Mac Pro of any sort since 2013
- it's something to tide people over who need a modern Pro right now as we wait for the actual "Mac Pro"
- it shows what Apple is capable of, by shoving Pro parts into an iMac (now imagine what a Macbook Pro could be capable of, battery consumption aside)
- possibly testing new aluminum colours on larger-scale computer cases? A black Macbook Pro would be classy as hell

As for the base iMac, I don't see the urgent need of an outer case redesign except in the case of heat ventilation issues, and I don't really pay attention to the iMac so I'm not aware of anything
 

fathergll

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They claimed that they wanted to do more than that, though, which could cause things to be stretched out. Meanwhile, as you say, the iMac Pro takes a large amount of pressure off of that development. That's what worries me, and why it could still be a long wait.

Those two points are what ultimately is going to push the release out a while. I can still hear Phil Schiller saying "Can't innovate anymore my ass!" being echoed over and over when developing the new Mac Pro. I just don't see Apple releasing something ho hum after 5+ years of waiting.


Apple also has a history of being bold about launching multiple products simultaneously, especially when they are in the same class, so I wouldn't worry about them stretching things out just for the press. But the next iMac probably won't come for another year. That's a long enough wait for a Mac Pro, so maybe that time frame fits, and maybe not - it certainly doesn't for those waiting for a "real" Mac Pro.

It possible. I guess I don't want it to be true since I don't think they will have both products ready to go for a while. I saw some others disagree with me but I don't think theres a chance in hell the Mac Pro comes out in 2018 considering late 2017/early 2018 is when most people will be getting their hands on the iMac Pros. I could see a refresh iMac at the end of next year coming out in time for the holiday season 2018.
 

MacDevil7334

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Out of curiosity, what is wrong with the current design other than it being old? The large screen already takes up most of the front and the internals already don't take up too much depth behind the screen. If you have room for the screen on your desk, you can almost certainly fit the rest of the iMac. What else is there that needs to be done? The internals, the screen, and even the ports have all been updated several times, even though the physical aluminum chassis has not changed in 5 years.

With some of Apple's other devices, I can see the arguments for changing the current designs. The iPhone could always stand to be more ergonomic, cramming a larger screen into a smaller body. The iPad could always stand to be lighter, since it is a larger device that has to be held for long periods. Even the Apple Watch could stand to be thinner, allowing it to fit under more shirt cuffs. But, with the iMac I just don't see it. Desktops as a category are very mature, and it is not surprising the iMac design mimics that. It's already very slim, has good internals for most people, and the screen is fantastic (surely nobody can argue that isn't true). What real benefit do we get from making the bezels around the screen 1/2 inch instead of 1 inch? What good does making it thinner and lighter really do? It's not like we are carrying a 27-inch iMac around all the time.

Just my two cents but I really feel like the 2017 iMac is a great machine. If your needs are pushing you to upgrade this year, enjoy the computer and don't worry about the fact that the chassis looks the same as the past few years.
 

Ph.D.

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^^^ The bezels and chin. In this day and age when everything with a screen is moving towards zero bezels, this remains a very tall and wide device. I, and I think most people, would prefer a larger screen or a smaller frame, and the minute Apple does that, the current iMacs will look horrendously out of date.

After that, the main reason for its thickness is the retention of the 3.5" hard disk. Without that, there's no reason for the depth of the device either. That's except for the iMac Pro, which drops the hard disk and makes use of the depth to house larger fans and heat sinks.
 

SaSaSushi

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^^^ The bezels and chin. In this day and age when everything with a screen is moving towards zero bezels, this remains a very tall and wide device. I, and I think most people, would prefer a larger screen or a smaller frame, and the minute Apple does that, the current iMacs will look horrendously out of date.
That's a rather extreme opinion that I disagree with. While a lot of people might welcome a redesign, I doubt very much it would instantly render the current design to antiquity.

After that, the main reason for its thickness is the retention of the 3.5" hard disk.
I'm not sure this is true either. There are multiple factors for the case's design, including considerations of airflow. The regular iMac CPUs require fans and heatsinks as well.

Without that, there's no reason for the depth of the device either.
I know this is a big concern for some but I just don't get it. The machine is already ridiculously thin at its maximum depth (60-70cm?) and a razor-thin 5mm at the edges.

That is not to mention that I haven't seen the back of my iMac since I put it on my desk. The screen is on the front. :rolleyes:
 
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SaSaSushi

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Just an opinion. But check back this time next year and let's see... :)
I'm not saying I won't be jealous of all the people that get the next model. Historically I am. ;)

I just think that the iMac as it is is an elegant design, don't find much validity in complaints of excessive depth or bezel and strongly disagree that any new revision is going to render the current line into The Flintstones of the Apple universe.
 

EugW

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Getting rid of the chin would also improve ergonomics, because as Ph.D. said, it's a rather tall machine.

BTW, I could see them changing the form factor in 2018 when they introduce the 6-core mainstream models.

I personally would have waited for those if it weren't for the fact that my 2010 is getting way too old, and I had business related financial reasons forcing me to buy in 2017. Even if they don't get a form factor change, the switch to 6-cores represents a ginormous performance boost for multi-threaded applications (although it could represent a performance decrease for poorly threaded applications).
 

fathergll

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I'm not saying I won't be jealous of all the people that get the next model. Historically I am. ;)

I just think that the iMac as it is is an elegant design, don't find much validity in complaints of excessive depth or bezel and strongly disagree that any new revision is going to render the current line into The Flintstones of the Apple universe.

It is elegant though it's dated and there obviously room for improving it aesthetically. Think about the amount of engineering effort that goes into coming up with a new iPhone design every 2 years. I still think the iPhone 5 looks great and thats old news in the cell phone world. Apple is a cell phone company #1 so thats where all there money is concentrated into.

The problem I see is that when they do redesign its gonna take a hit in performance being closer to a laptop and the iMac Pro will fill in the niche for power users. I have a feeling they will widen the gap between the two.
 

EugW

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It is definitely due for a form factor update.

2010 on the left, 2017 on the right:

iMacs.jpg
 

madmin

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Jun 14, 2012
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It is definitely due for a form factor update.

2010 on the left, 2017 on the right:
I'm not so sure about that. It is just a screen in the end, with everything hidden round the back. I prefer the look of the chinless tbd personally but Apple must like or need this chin for some reason otherwise they'd have gotten rid long ago. Maybe because it's so iMac they don't want to change it ? And just because many folks on forums say they dislike it doesn't mean much, statistically.

Btw thanks for the nice discussions and detailed stats you've been sharing about these new iMacs, it's been good reading.
 

EugW

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I'm not so sure about that. It is just a screen in the end, with everything hidden round the back. I prefer the look of the chinless tbd personally but Apple must like or need this chin for some reason otherwise they'd have gotten rid long ago. Maybe because it's so iMac they don't want to change it ? And just because many folks on forums say they dislike it doesn't mean much, statistically.

Btw thanks for the nice discussions and detailed stats you've been sharing about these new iMacs, it's been good reading.
The chin is an annoyance for me. I am 5'7", and the chin makes the 27" iMac too tall. I actually bought a VESA mount for it, but it looked stupid and it wasn't as stable as the native iMac stand so I removed it.

There was another poster in here that was 5'6" complaining about the same thing. That chin needs to go.
 

ZMacintosh

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a nice redesign would probably be thinner bezel (same since the first edition Alu-iMacs), chin needs to go and they'd probably use all flash internals as well vs any mechanical drives. IF the iMac pro is any indicator the usually push a product that treads the water (i.e. 1st gen MacBook Air -> Unibody MacBook Pros, etc)
 

madmin

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Jun 14, 2012
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The chin is an annoyance for me. I am 5'7", and the chin makes the 27" iMac too tall. I actually bought a VESA mount for it, but it looked stupid and it wasn't as stable as the native iMac stand so I removed it.

There was another poster in here that was 5'6" complaining about the same thing. That chin needs to go.
I hear you and read your earlier posts about that. It depends where you live, but 5'7" sounds like a perfectly normal height for a person to me. That said, I agree it's a problem for some, but maybe the VESA mount _is_ Apple's solution.

Actually, you gave me the idea of a VESA mount and I looked into it before ordering my new iMac. I really liked the wall mounted arm types but I was put off by folks who said VESA mounted iMacs are very hard to resell. Attached to the wall with a movable arm enables varied seating positions and screen distances and presumably avoids the stability issues you experienced. I almost regret not getting one, but presumably my iMac will already be hard to resell for a good price with the BTO options I went for... so I played safe.
 

EugW

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I hear you and read your earlier posts about that. It depends where you live, but 5'7" sounds like a perfectly normal height for a person to me. That said, I agree it's a problem for some, but maybe the VESA mount _is_ Apple's solution.

Actually, you gave me the idea of a VESA mount and I looked into it before ordering my new iMac. I really liked the wall mounted arm types but I was put off by folks who said VESA mounted iMacs are very hard to resell. Attached to the wall with a movable arm enables varied seating positions and screen distances and presumably avoids the stability issues you experienced. I almost regret not getting one, but presumably my iMac will already be hard to resell for a good price with the BTO options I went for... so I played safe.
Dunno about the current models, but for my 2010, you can just remount the regular stand later if you want to resell. I had the regular stand, then switched to the VESA mount, and then switched back to the regular stand. The left one in the picture was the one that used to be on a VESA mount.