Is the 24” iMac a serious machine?

I am a professor and researcher. I was excited about David and Stephen talking about the new iMacs. But I was disappointed to hear them characterize the 24” iMac as a “family computer.” I’ve been putting up with a slowed down 2013 MBP and saving pennies (which in my case means teaching an extra course) to buy one of the more kitted out models. Then I thought about waiting for the larger model, but now I hear that likely won’t drop till the Fall. I’m not sure I can wait!

M1s are really fast. So I think it’s a serious machine as long as you aren’t doing anything really memory intensive that will need more than 16gb.

The screen size is a step down for a lot of people as well, which I think is its biggest flaw. I can handle dongles/hubs as well, but for a desktop I don’t think I should have to.

Outside of the small screen, I think a lot of us want to see how much they do with a Pro style machine and the M2. More memory? Graphics cards?

Like the 21.5” iMacs it’s a limited machine. Maxed out at 16gb and limited connections. For my needs it’s pretty close to perfect. I don’t need more memory, a 1tb SSD is plenty, and the screen size is better suited to my eyes and desk.

If you have a larger display and want to see how the 24” looks, This simulation gives you a good idea of how it will look.

Right now I have a 24” HD external connected to my 13” MBP. So it would be status quo for me. I’d be trading in the MBP. I also have a 12.9” iPad Pro, though Sidecar doesn’t work because of the MBP’s vintage. I would definitely go for the 1TB version of the iMac (which may be priced out of my range for the bigger version).

I’ve been a bit disappointed by some of the wording I’ve heard in various places (no citations, I’m going anecdotal here), with a focus on the limitations and a short sidenote on how good it is.
(edit: I get it, there’s a ton of excitement about M2 potential)

People, including me, are blown away by the performance of M1 Macs. It is phenomenal. Don’t lose sight of that. I hink the M1Air is the best computer ever made and it handles everything I throw at it with ease (FCP, Logic/S1, Xcode). It is very serious.

It just so happens we expect Apple to release even more powerful machines later this year.
If this iMac has the screen size you want, the ports you need, and a price you can afford then get it. Note the 8GB RAM is plenty for most people here. 16GB is surplus for most users imo, but many of us on this forum are edgee cases.

It’s amazingly powerful.


The M1 still had the same chip in it as David’s main computer. The style of computer is ideal for families (it’s rather trickier for it to go walkabout than a laptop!), but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great machine.

Personally I’m getting one tomorrow. In purple. High spec for sure, but it’s going to be a great machine for me.


I think the conversations are more talking about the place Apple expects this computer falls in their lineup.

If we fast forward a year or so and the ARM transition is done, with all computers having at least an initial version being released, this iMac will almost certainly occupy the “family computer” or the “front office computer” slots in the product line. Ports, specs, etc. are designed with use cases like that in mind.

That doesn’t mean that it’s a bad computer in any way - just that there will almost certainly be a bigger, fancier, more powerful computer with more ports, more RAM, fancier GPUs, etc. that’s marketed at the people with heavy workloads.

We’re just in the thoroughly bizarre position where the most entry-level Mac blows away the high-spec computers of just a few months ago. :slight_smile:

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Have you read the glowing reviews for the new M1 Macbook Airs, Pros, and Mac mini’s? The new iMacs are the same computer in a different package.

IMO, these “family computers” can probably outperform 90% of all the Macs Apple has sold prior to the M1.

<Devil’s Advocate>

Do you use your computer for work at your office and for work at home. Do you cart it in to use it to teach in class?

If so, will you regret that you do not have a portable machine to carry between the two locations? Will you regret not having a portable to carry to the classroom, run SideCar from your iPad, pull up your macOS app, and show it as a presentation while walking around the room annotating over it using your iPad?

If none of the above is your use case and this is purely for your home use, go for the iMac. If any of the above is even on your mind as a possible use case, you might change course to get an M1 MBP now and save further for the Fall to get a 27in monitor at home or for your office.

</Devil’s Advocate>

You could also argue to your department to pay for a 27in 4k monitor update at your office while you get the M1 MBP. The one downside will be a noticeable switch in screen real estate going from a 15in to 13in screen … so push hard to get a 27in monitor at work (and buy yourself one later for home).


To me the 24" looks mighty fine - but it “suffers” from the limitations of M1. Both connectivity and memory are constraints compared to even the rather old machines I have.

So quite a lot of people, including me, will await a serious architecture bump. And I think that’s the point the supposed naysayers are making.

Enjoy M1 and roll on M2, whether preceded by M1X or not.

Yes, I agree. I’ve ordered a purple one too with 16gb ram and 512gb storage. I currently have a 27" late 2014 iMac, but since working at home a lot, I find the screen to big for my needs. I think the 24" will be ideal for me.

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I am ordering a MacBook Air M1 now they are available here in Cyprus. I treated myself to a 32” 4K USBC monitor recently and that should I think easily cope with my coding and graphics needs.

My current MacBook Pro (2017) will go to my partner linked to a 24” external monitor to replace her ageing IPad Pro.

The new power available in bottom end Macs means I can save quite a lot on the regular equipment upgrades, pretty much cutting my Mac business budget by about 30%

We’re almost the same! I’ve been finding 512GB a bit tight, so I’m switching to a 1TB machine.

I’ve ordered the yellow one maxed out with 16gb RAM and 2TB storage. Bit pricey at AUD$4000 (with Apple Care) but I’m currently using a 2013 iMac 27" so hopefully I’ll get nearly 8 years out of this one too

I’ve given some thought to the move down from 27" - I use a 24" display all day at work with my MBP so should be ok.

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I offloaded my music and TV libraries to a Synology NAS, so only using around 100gb now.

It doesn’t need to be a serious machine. It’s a computer for the masses. The everyday individual will love it, but serious professionals should look elsewhere.

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Serious professionals with special needs you mean. In my company no one has anything even in the ballpark of the power of any M1 Mac.
For managerial work there is no reason to have anything past the cheapest Thinkpad, actually, Does it support n external monitor? Does in run MS Office? Does it run Chrome? Done!

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Well, you’re going to need a lot of RAM if you want to run Google Chrome.


I guess it does depend on definitions. For instance, for household a multi tool will do just fine for everyday repairs. That’s what I think of when I think of “computer as appliance.”

I would say what I do is also the work of a “specialist”, but a specialist who works primarily crafting words and studying documents. But there’s also the very real possibility, however, that my teaching may be online for the for seeable future.

I’m also just a few years short of retirement (and with no budget to purchase my own hardware—particularly Apple hardware). So this is going to have to do me at least for the next six years or so.

Sorry to be so verbose! Y’all are very tolerant.

Oh and I priced out a new iMac with 1TB and 16GB. I’ll tell you, it ain’t cheap!

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