If you want a big-screen desktop Mac, we've got some bad news. Today (March 8), Apple retired the 27-inch iMac (2020), Thanos-snapping it out of the online Apple Store. We applauded the 27-inch iMac at the time of its release for the quality of its display, rich-sounding speakers and both powerful graphics and performance. It almost looks as if Apple is making room for the newest big-screen in the lineup, the Apple Studio Display.
Not that Apple couldn't have two different 27-inch, 5K Retina displays in its lineup. There's no reason to think that's the case. Today's news looks more like Apple continuing to clean the Intel-based Macs out of its operations.
As of the time of publishing, Apple has switched nearly all of its Macs away from Intel chips, in favor of its own Apple Silicon chips (the M1, M1 Pro, M1 Max and the new M1 Ultra). And it's done so to rather clear success, with impressive endurance in the M1 MacBook Air and phenomenal performance in the 2021 MacBook Pros, while skipping over any stumbling moments about app compatibility.
Apple announced the transition from Intel to its ARM-based processors in June 2020, and its press release (opens in new tab) stated this transition will be completed in "about two years." As of March 2022, Apple still has the Intel-based Mac Pro and one Intel-based Mac mini in its lineup.
That said, the lack of a 27-inch iMac right now is very likely a pain point for customers who want an Apple-made big display without breaking the bank.
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Analysis: The price of a 27-inch Mac is not going in the right direction
Previously, the 27-inch iMac gave you a 5K Retina panel and a pretty great (for its time) computer inside of it, starting at $1,799. While it's undoubtedly out-classed by the M1 Ultra and below-based Macs of today, that 2020 iMac came with 10th generation Intel processors, AMD Radeon Pro 5000 series graphics, and a 1080p webcam.
Now? Well, now you're going to spend $1,599 for the 27-inch Apple Studio Display, which has A13 chip, a 12MP webcam with Apple's face-tracking Center Stage tech and a six-speaker array. Its screen is likely amazing, and probably better than that of the 2020 iMac, but no computer, you have to bring that to the table. A computer such as the newly-announced Mac Studio, which starts at $1,999.
Hopefully, this change in Apple's ecosystem won't last forever. One would hope that in due time we'll get an Apple Silicon-powered 27-inch iMac. As for an Apple Display that's under $1,000? We're not holding our breath.