Great review of one of Apple’s least interesting computers.
I’m especially glad to see that it has significantly less screen reflectivity, like the Retina MacBook Pros, which will hopefully be carried into the external displays in time for future Retina models.
I’m also glad to see that heat and noise are significantly reduced. Noticeable levels of heat or noise in a computing device are inelegant, usually reflecting the use of too much brute-force computing power because a technology was adopted too soon (as in the iPad 3) or is keeping the specs too high to be competitive (as in the Sandy Bridge generation of quad-core iMacs and MacBook Pros). Generally, Intel’s “ticks” are far better than their “tocks”.
But I completely agree with this:
In a desktop computer, though, the pursuit of thinness at the cost of features makes less sense. The vast majority of the time, it’s going to be sitting on your desk, and users will be interacting with a separate keyboard and mouse, pausing only occasionally to plug something in or adjust the screen’s angle. Giving up desirable features like user-upgradeable RAM just to make a thinner desktop seems like the wrong move, even if it’s one that only IT people and power users will notice or care about.
The thinness also made the speakers worse and didn’t leave enough room for a 3.5” (“desktop”-sized) hard drive in the 21.5” model. (The 27” model still uses 3.5” drives.) Even though the gap is narrowing, 3.5” drives are still significantly faster and larger-capacity than 2.5” (“laptop”) drives from the same generation. With 1 TB laptop drives standard and Fusion Drives only available at $1,749 and up, there’s even less of an advantage than usual of choosing the iMac over a MacBook.
And I can’t help but feel like Apple’s cheating by promoting the thinness so aggressively. Take a look around Apple’s iMac pages — how long does it take you to find a picture that shows the thick bulge in the back accurately?1 Nearly every photo of it is from a misleading MySpace perspective. That’s the sort of trick that Apple doesn’t usually need to pull.