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Has the Mac Studio replaced the 27-inch iMac? I sure hope not

Apple has announced two new pro-level products at its Spring event — or “studio” Macs, in the new nomenclature. The Mac Studio and Studio Display. While impressive in their own right, the announcements corresponded with the removal of the 27-inch iMac from the company’s store. Poof — gone, just like that.

Of course, we were all expecting the 27-inch iMac to eventually transition to Apple Silicon, like the rest of the Mac lineup. But according to the wording in Apple’s presentation today, there’s only one product left for the company to complete its transition, which was mentioned by name as the Mac Pro. The only mention of the 27-inch iMac in today’s presentation was dunking on it by Mac Studio.

The Apple Studio Display alongside a Mac Studio computer on a desk.

Apple says that even the weaker version, the M1 Max Mac Studio, is 2.5x faster than the Core i9 27-inch iMac. This 10-core iMac features a full desktop Intel processor inside, which was already a unique all-in-one from that perspective. Many Windows all-in-ones use lower-powered processors, whether they are mobile chips or 35-watt T-series variants.

More than that, the new Studio Display will surely outdo the image quality of the old 27-inch iMac screen. It might have some holes in its feature set, but the 15-megapixel camera, Spatial Audio speakers, and 600 nits of brightness are all upgrades to both the 24-inch iMac and older 27-inch iMac.

In other words, the combination of the Mac Studio and the Studio Display could surely outpace the 27-inch iMac, even if it were to have an M1 Pro or M1 Max stuffed inside. But the problem with the Mac Studio replacing the iMac isn’t about performance. It’s about price.

The complete Mac Studio setup, including the souped-up display and accessories, can cost you up to $11,000. But even with just the base configurations of both the display and desktop, you’re looking at $3,598. That’s on the higher end of what you could spend on a fully-specced 27-inch iMac. It also leaves a huge gap between the $1,299 24-inch iMac and what you can put together with the Mac Studio and Studio Display.

Infographic overview of the specs and features on the the all new Mac Studio Display.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

The cheaper and simpler setup of the powerful iMac was what made it so iconic over the years. I’d hate to see that unique design discontinued when there’s so much potential in the new M1 chips.

And until now, reports from reputable sources claimed a more powerful iMac or iMac Pro was still in the works.

But for now, it no longer seems to be on the timeline.

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Luke Larsen
Luke Larsen is the Senior editor of computing, managing all content covering laptops, monitors, PC hardware, Macs, and more.
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