My 2013 iMac is showing its age. The Intel-based desktop does not support Monterey, the latest version of macOS (version 12). Neither did it support Big Sur, the previous version of macOS (version 11). I have encountered some software on the Mac App Store that won’t install because macOS X (Catalina) is not supported.
While I can still use and get updates for all my existing software and Apple has been diligent in providing security updates and bug fixes for macOS Catalina, I know it’s just a matter of time before this becomes a problem. So what am I waiting for? I am waiting for Apple. I will share a little bit of my personal computing history.
My first Mac was a 2005 Mac mini with an IBM PowerPC G4 based CPU running OS X Tiger. It cost me $500. I loved it. I soon had the Mac mini running all the software (mostly open-source) I needed. Soon after Apple switched to Intel™, I bought a MacBook (2006). But after a few years, tired of the MacBook. I felt that laptop CPUs, GPUs, displays, keyboards and trackpads were too much of a compromise, and I seldom needed "computing on the go". In 2009 I bought a 20" iMac for my kids. It came with Apple Magic Keyboard and Apple Magic Mouse. I bought my current 2013 iMac ($3200) to upgrade to the 27" display.
The iMac has been my prefered Mac ever since. The iMac offers faster CPUs and GPUs and bigger hard drives, and of course, that gorgeous large display.
Last year, Apple switched over to using their in-house developed ARM-based CPUs and GPUs. They are based on similar ones used in the iPhone and iPad. They are faster and more capable than anything Intel™ offers. I want to upgrade to take advantage of all that power. Apple’s ARM-based iMac’s have a 24" display, have set high-performance benchmarks and come in a variety of colours. But I want a 27" display and 16GB of memory. I am anxiously waiting for an announcement of a 27" version, maybe with an even faster CPU and 32GB of memory.
But what if they do not announce anything this year? How long do I wait? There are other options, but what if I decide on that option and then Apple announce new 27" iMacs?
My daughter, Shaan, bought a new ARM-based Mac mini ($600) to replace her deceased 2017 MacBook ($1100). Apple wanted nearly $450 to replace the mainboard of the barely five-year-old MacBook. Last year Shaan bought a pre-owned 27" display. We did some math, and I convinced her that the Mac mini was a smarter replacement for her MacBook.
While the Mac mini is powerful, Apple does not offer an ARM-based Mac mini configuration with more than 16GB of memory. I want 32GB. That’s what I have now, and that’s what I want from now on. But the Mac mini can be attached to any display, including the 30" display I bought last year to use with the company laptop.
So my options are:
1. Buy a 24" M1 iMac
2. Buy an M1 Mac mini and connect to a 30" display.
I’m not too fond of any of the options.