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New iMac: How Apple’s new iMac upstaged the iPad mini

The new iMac was the star of the show at an event where the iPad mini, iPad 4 and 13" MacBook Pro with Retina display were announced. Here's why…

iMac - Main

No-one saw it coming

There might’ve been a few rumours doing the rounds regarding a new iMac with a distinctive teardrop-shaped design, but unlike the iPad mini or even the fourth-generation iPad, there wasn’t a lot of dirt to be had on the iMac prior to last night’s big reveal. Little in the way of hardware leaks or even those pie-in-the-sky analyst predictions surfaced for Apple’s flagship all-in-one desktop and that was important. Why? Because it added to the magic.

When Tim Cook said that Apple would be ‘doubling down’ on security in 2012, it was seen as a laughable statement – especially when rumours and leaks surrounding the iPhone 5 were coming in thick and fast – but Apple seem to have cracked it with the iMac. When Phil Schiller pulled away the black sheet covering the new model last night, no-one really knew what to expect, and that’s what (in part) made the new iMac’s announcement so amazing.

It’s got heritage

Unlike the iPad, or even the iPhone, the iMac has some heritage. Phil Schiller even made reference to this during the announcement, showing us the ‘Bondi Blue’ iMac G3 introduced all the way back in 1998. Symbolising Apple’s return to fame following the return of Steve Jobs, there’s no denying that the iMac strikes a chord with Apple fans around the world, so a new model always generates excitement – even before Apple get down to the nitty gritty of specs. Which leads us neatly on to…


iMac - DesignIt’s an engineering triumph

If there’s one criticism to be made of Apple’s new products it’s that they aren’t exactly ‘new’. The iPhone 5, although taller, follows pretty much the same shape and design as its predecessor, the iPad hasn’t really changed all too much since its original introduction (aside from shedding a few pounds) and the Mac Pro’s most recent update was a necessity rather than a real change. But the new iMac bucks this trend in a big way.

It may still have the same chin and stand, but the new, über-thin design is truly beautiful. The idea that an all-in-one computer could fit in a shell that’s just half a centimetre wide at its thinnest point is a crazy idea, but Apple have made it happen. Jony Ive doesn’t rest on his OBEs, you know.

The price is right

As the great Bruce Forsythe once said, “Nice to see you, to see you nice” and, while he wasn’t necessarily referring to the new iMac’s pricing, he might as well have been. With the 21.5″ model starting at just £1099/$1299, the new iMac is affordable – far more so than the 13″ and 15″ MacBook Pros that sport Retina displays. It’s one thing seeing an amazing product, but it’s another to have the honest belief that you can actually own it. Apple have hit the nail on the head with their pricing, here, and there’s no reason why Apple lovers across the world can’t have that feeling, or that iMac. Good game, Apple. Good game.

iMac - Performance
That Fusion drive

Sounding a little like a range of Men’s razors – the Fusion Drive might sound a little futuristic but, truth be told, the technology that combines both solid-state and hard-disk drive into one storage dream has been around for some time. Unfortunately, up until now, it’s been reserved for the brave – those hardy souls who are prepared to remove their iMac’s front screen with nothing but a pair of industrial suction cups and install their own, third-party hybrid drive. Even once the legwork is all over, third-party solutions weren’t always bulletprood when it came to backing up or restoring your machine, but the performance made it worth it.

Now, with Apple’s Fusion drive, hybrid drives are a reality for any Mac user who wants all the space of hard disk drive and all the performance of flash-based memory. What’s not to love? Well, maybe the name. But it’s a pretty insignificant detail when you consider how awesome it’ll be to be able to store every season of America’s Next Top Model run Final Cut Pro X, GarageBand, Aperture and Logic all at the same time without your iMac breaking so much as a sweat.