‘WTF’ M1 iMac Hot Takes — Reviewer Reacts!

One month later and reviews of Apple's all-new, all-colorful, all-custom silicon 24-inch M1 iMac are still coming in. Then... there's this!

The Washington post, one of the papers of record just published their iMac review. And it's a lot. Sponsored by ting. I am not going to defend either the new iMac or apple here a trillion dollar company perfectly capable of doing that themselves. But what I am going to do is what I increasingly seem to be doing on this channel. And that is just troning the mainstream user from the tyranny of the techarate for anybody who is interested in this new iMac. I just want to make sure that you have the best possible information so that you can make the best possible choice. And if you ultimately love the new iMac or hate it at least you are loving it or hating it smart. Apple's newly redesigned iMac measures just 0.45 inches thick. That's a hair thinner than the original iPhone. It's thin enough to wedge under a wobbly table. And this whole thin thing is going to come up here over and over again like it's a triple word score for Yahtzee or something. So brace yourselves. An obsession with thin design has taken over consumer tech and apple is its leader.

And this whole thing is just such a thick obsession over this supposed thin obsession. And honestly, it's also just such a tired, old cliched trope by now. Like the horse has been beaten beyond death beyond Dormamuu. It's not even a zombie horse anymore. It's like the 300 zombie horse movie. The one that's not even bid on by Netflix. And yet part of me just totally gets it because if you're not into industrial design that's a super easy, barely inconvenient mistake to make. But thinness is almost never the goal. It's almost always a side effect. Iphones, iPads, Mac books, mobile devices in general. They're increasingly thin because they're meant to be increasingly light, but for the iMac, which is a desktop, so not at all about the lightness even though this one is so light, it's like 10 pounds. You can carry it to the coffee shop with you for that ultimate post lockdown flex, if you so choose. The reason it's thin here is the same reason for the rainbow of colors. It's this generation's version of the transparency of the OG of the original iMac, same reason for the white bezels, so that it feels light and part of the decor and almost blends away. So that not only can you fit it into more spaces and more rooms, but you'll want to. Your family will allow you to, precisely because it doesn't look like a traditional computer, a bead blasted, aluminum, big bubble back hunk of hardware.

And this thinness is a side effect of that design goal. The new iMac I've been testing for a few weeks is a departure from my old one. It's essentially an iPad on a stand. And that is totally true but kind of the whole entire point. Apple even made that point. They showed off exactly that. The iPad next to the iMac when they announced it, it's like it's like that famous Steve jobs story, where he slapped the iPad down in front of the Mac team and said, why can't you do this? And that moment has defined Apple's Mac culture for good. And sometimes for ill ever since for the last decade because the iPad was just Keyser Sozed into existence to reach a customer base far beyond the max traditional single digit. And once it started doing that once apple saw it accelerating faster than even the iPhone did at launch, they wanted to see if they could do that. Reach that larger customer base with the Mac as well. And that's what got us, the Mac book air which redefined the ultra book for a generation. And now this new iMac, this whole new kind of iMac which I think is meant to be the Mac book air of iMacs or yeah, the iPad of iMacs and for cynical old reviewers yelling at clouds, that's a bug. I could see that. I totally get that, but for the mainstream market it might just be one hell of a feature. There are good arguments for thin handheld devices skinny phones fit better in skinny jeans but even with Apple's mobile tech, we've been burned. The ultra thin butterfly style keyboard apple introduced for laptops in 2015 created so many problems that apple eventually abandoned it and just wow, skinny jeans and butterfly keyboards in the same graph, is that cliche Bingo? Do any of you have cliche bingo on that? Because look, this is a total tangent, but I'll risk it.

The problem wasn't that apple tried the butterfly keyboard, it's that they didn't fix it iPhone four antenna fast or abandon it buttonless iPad shuffle fast, which yeah totally unacceptable. But that same team also shipped the force touch track pad at the same time to fit over the terrist battery of that same Mac book. And that's been just a huge, huge hit a really good progression and exactly that kind of experimenting that kind of continuously pushing the Manila envelope is part of what makes apple, apple and the Mac, the Mac. And I hope apple keeps doing that with the Mac keeps pushing that Manila envelope, just you know, fixes things a hell of a lot faster when and if they have to, even if it ends up being used as just the laziest spice on the blandest of faux edgy hot takes. So always. On the minus side, the thinner imperative took over. Thinner again, does that mean drink? Do we have to drink now, now that it could fit the brain of an iMac into a half inch body apple cut other parts that just didn't fit. First went to power supply. The part that transforms electricity coming out of the wall. Now the iMac has an external power brick. Maybe you'll just throw yours on the floor or maybe it's one more thing for your cat to chew on. And now I'm left. Wondering is nobody feeding this theoretical cat. Was not satiated by the MacBook brick by a PC laptop bricks by all the other bricks all the other cords on just everything in the house.

Does it have a particular hate on for the iMac brick? Did the iMac brick hurt it? Did you soak the iMac brick in tuna? So it'd get all Shrodinger and buy it? Do I need to call PETA now? I am legit existentially worried about this cat at this point. I don't see any way USBA would fit within half an inch. Maybe it could fit below the chin line on the side like the 3.5 millimeter headphone Jack does. But my guess is that like six years after the introduction of USB-C apple simply doesn't think USBA is that compelling a feature anymore for the more new to iMac customers that they're targeting with this new iMac. You know like in the tradition of ditching the floppy drive when you look out another six years of potential lifespan being able to dongle USBC into so many other types of connections, even new and upcoming connections is something you can't really do with any of those legacy ports. It's just a huge advantage of this architecture, especially for a Mac book, air or iPad style iMac apple also cut the compact flash card reader included in past iMacs making one more thing photographers need to buy.

And it was actually an SD card reader, which has escalated over the last few years from SDHC to SDXC. And so you still had to buy extra dongles to get the faster speeds when you have one of those static older slots. But yes, it's the same thing. SD cards are kind of a narrow pro-sumer middle ground now where pros are increasingly moving to CF express. And the vast majority of people are just using iPhones now for their photos and videos. And apple is investing in everything from photo sync to airdrop to make that as easy and appealing to all of those people as possible. My old 27 inch iMac has a little door on the back to upgrade memory after the fact a real help for future-proofing and oh wow. It's total plot twist. But like later LaMer, M night Shyamalan and the trees are alive and angry plot twist that old iMac that was waiting to be replaced with the higher end 27 inch model. So we got kind of bait and switched. We got bamboozled.

And maybe that explains the cognitive dissonance here the expectational debt, because the new 24 inch M1 iMac absolutely does not replace the 27 inch Intel iMac. And you can tell that because apple still sells that 27 inch iMac, they updated it less than a year ago and it has yet to be replaced. This new 24 inch iMac only even kind of replaces the 21.5 inch Intel iMac which apple also still sells a model of because this M 1 iMac is really something new like I've been explaining but either way, anyway, the 21.5 inch iMac didn't have user replaceable memory either. And I totally get why that can be beyond aggravating to traditional computer users but it's something that's been beyond aggravating for years. So it's just all shades of cringe, weird that so much blame is being so sloppily laid on the M 1 here. And what about when your iMac inevitably just can't keep up in six years as recently as 2014, iMacs could transform into a monitor for another computer, but apple no longer supports what it calls target display mode.

And yes rip. I really, really miss target display mode. Apple ditched it when they began supporting 5k displays and had to make their own custom timing controllers just to get them to work just to fuse two streams together. So the screen wouldn't show any shearing down the middle and we still don't have that back. Which is so hella irksome. I am irked, but we do have airplay to the mac and now universal control coming this fall with mac OS Monterrey, which won't be the same as a wired connection. I totally get that, but I'm hoping it will make that kind of repurposing at least feasible at least possible again. This is partly a philosophical divide between apple and people like Wiens Turning computers into appliances can simplify them. You don't need to know about what's going on if it just works. And this is again true, partially true. Apple is making this new iMac for a very specific type of customer, a very different one than for the new Mac pro with very different priorities. And that's not bad. It's actually the opposite of bad. It's good because options are good. And whether it's having something like this new iMac on the market, for people who want it instead of say a Mac mini or traditional iMac, or having PCs from other vendors entirely that are less appliance and more customizable so that people who may just hate the breathing guts of this new iMac can go get that something else including something else with USBA, Hell even VGA from anybody else. Because that's what real choice is. Not everything being the same, all computers from all companies being the same, but being able to get something like this new iMac from apple. Pretty much only from apple.

Or being able to get a more traditional PC from literally everybody else. But Apple's appliance mindset is also self-serving because it means we have to keep buying new stuff. And there it is. For anybody keeping track at home, the cliche clincher the trope trifecta, apple customers are such cultists, such sheep that no matter what apple does, where does to us we'll just keep on buying and buying from them. But no people don't like being burned. So if I feel burned by this new iMac, I'm going to go and get at a Microsoft or HP or whatever instead, because we may need to keep buying new stuff inevitably, eventually but we certainly don't have to keep buying it from apple. Just like if we feel burned by a review, if we feel it's being disingenuous or disrespectful or toxic or trying to rage bait us, we'll stop reading that reviewer. We'll go to Joanna or Marquez or Justine or Andre or whomever, because ultimately that's what this is all about. Apple is making calculations based on what they think will be most appealing to the market for their current Mac customers and customers that they're hoping to lure away from the PC or halo up from the iPhone or iPad. And if they calculate wrong if they're not satisfying customers new and repeat, we'll vote with our wallets and get something else. And we saw that briefly with higher end pros before apple started re-engaging with us so strongly a couple of years ago. And I expect, we'll see more of that this year and next year as well.