There is no doubt that the iMac is iconic and its as beautiful as ever. But it's stood still for more than a decade while the rest of the industry has evolved around it. The iMac needs a makeover for the new decade, not just to ensure it continues to stand out, but also because there are a number of problems with the current iMac design that we will discuss below.
One of our top requests for the new iMac is colour options, so we are excited to hear rumours that the 2021 iMac will come in iPad Air colours.
UPDATE: April 2021: The 21.5in iMac is now the 24in iMac. For our thoughts about the design of the new 24in iMac read: Why I'm disappointed with Apple's 24in iMac design.
It’s not ergonomic
The iMac screen might look nice but it can’t be positioned in an ergonomically friendly way. If you want to position the screen at head-height, so that you aren’t looking down at it, you need to position your iMac on top of something, such as a book (which is what we do since we are keen to avoid neck ache). The iMac’s short arm means it can only be tilted slightly upwards downwards. It looks nice, but it’s impractical. Bring back the ‘angle-poised lamp’-style iMac of 2002 we say!
Or consider one of our recommended monitor stands such as the iMac-inspired Satechi Aluminum Monitor Stand Hub that not only raises the iMac but adds a bunch of front-mounted ports, including USB-A and USB-C.
A potential ergonomic solution arrived with the new Pro Display XDR. There is an optional stand that can accompany that monitor (for which you have to pay $1,000 on top of the already pricey display). The monitor attaches magnetically to the display allowing you to adjust the height (you get 120mm worth of adjustment) and viewing angle. This sort of set up for the iMac could go some way to counter the problems we have with its ergonomic positioning.
The bezels are BIG
Over the past couple of years we’ve seen the bezels on the iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air and other Apple products reduce and the screens get bigger. In comparison, the iMac bezels look positively huge! Just imagine how big that screen could be if those bezels were smaller.
It's not only the bezels of the iPhone, iPad and MacBooks that have got smaller. Much of Apple's competition in the all-in-one space - such as the HP Envy - also have smaller bezels and bigger screens for a more modern look.
Want to get an idea of how an iMac with smaller bezels could look? Check out Apple's Pro Display XDR (pictured below). The display has a tiny 9mm border around the edge of the screen.
It’s not cool enough
In both senses of the word ‘cool’. The 2009 iMac looks practically identical to the 2019 iMac and with the design unchanged in a decade the iMac is in danger of losing its wow factor. It no longer makes the impact that the original iMac did (see image below).
In addition to that, while we’re not saying that the iMac has a cooling problem right now, it may have in the future. When Apple built the iMac Pro it needed to redesign the internals of the iMac to accommodate the cooling system required for more powerful components. The more powerful the iMac gets the greater the need for improvements to the existing cooling system.
We really think that it's time for Apple to give the design of the iMac some attention. In this article we discuss what we think Apple will do to the iMac in 2020.