Apple’s superlative-heavy event happened
The event did not disappoint, though I was wrong on both counts of what I expected to see beyond the given iPhone SE and iPad Air updates. It’s not too often we see an entirely new Mac product line announced, welcome to the family Mac Studio (you too M1 Ultra 👀🔥🤯). Mac fans have been fantasizing about this machine becoming reality for over twenty years. It was a good portion of the conversation Dan Frakes and I had on Subjective back in 2015. The Mythical Mid-range Mac Minitower has finally freaking happened. It’s about damn time.
As far as I can tell the last time a new name (not just a new adjective) arrived on the scene was with the move away from iBook to MacBook. The last time we saw a new product line introduced was the G4 Mac mini back in January of 2005. Long lasting hopes for this machine aside, if you had told me a few years ago that Apple would introduce a third desktop Mac without an integrated screen I would have called you crazy, partly because Apple was seemingly no longer in the display business. I believe it was crucial that they simultaneously release a lower cost display at the same time or yesterday’s reception wouldn’t have been so warm.
Not only was my prediction of a redesign for the larger 27” iMac wrong, but as soon as the store came back up after the event the existing model had disappeared. The iMac started it’s life as a consumer product and by introducing Mac Studio we are once again back to the famous four quadrants with a single, smaller iMac 24” available1. It’s true that the bigger chassis iMac had been, on the higher specs, filling this open space for prosumers and this new Mac Studio will probably better serves those customers who don’t need a Mac Pro.
A lot of people buy it for nothing more than the bigger screen though. It also had a starting price of $1,799 which Mac Studio + Studio Display come nowhere close to. There exists now a large pricing gap in the lineup which a larger iMac not seeking to serve professionals could fill nicely so I wouldn’t rule out the return of a bigger display in the future. On Apple’s own website they are referring to the sole existing model as iMac 24”. Why specify the size if it were going to remain alone? This same logic can be applied to the existence of Homepod mini. The mini to what? Apple is smart to give their price ceiling some breathing room in that regard.
The only model in that grid left to receive a redesign post-Apple silicon is the MacBook Air. It was stated on stage that the Mac Pro is the last model yet to gain a M chip but the power it will contain is beyond even the simplicity of Job’s quadrants. ⤴