The iMac Channel

Time for a New iMac

Dan Knight - 2000.11.02

The iMac is an unqualified success and perhaps the most popular model in the history of computing. It accounts for over half the Macs sold.

But the iMac has become pedestrian; it's time for a change.

The 17" iMac

Rumors of a 17" iMac have been floating around since before the first iMac shipped. The argument against it has always been that this made the iMac too large and heavy.

But the simple fact is, more Windows computers sell with 17" monitors than with any other size - perhaps more than all the other sizes combined. PC users don't seem to consider 17" screens oversized; why should Steve Jobs?

Whatever it takes, Apple should find a way to squeeze a larger monitor into the iMac without increasing the outer dimensions any more than is necessary. This would have several benefits to Apple and the end user.

  • The 15" iMac is fine at 800 x 600 resolution, but the 1024 x 768 is really pushing quality on a screen that small. That setting works very nicely on a 17" CRT.
  • A wider iMac would give better stereo separation from the internal speakers.
  • People who use Windows at work on 17" screens will find it easier to use a 17" iMac at home, either under the Mac OS or with a Windows emulator.
  • Apple could offer this in addition to the 15" iMac, perhaps as the iMac Plus, and command a higher price for it.

I don't know why Apple has resisted so long, but the rest of the industry has moved beyond 15" monitors. It's time the iMac did the same.

The Connected iMac

After a printer, my guess is the most popular iMac accessory is a USB hub. Apple could save buyers that small expense by making four USB ports standard on the iMac.

The Burning iMac

Floppies may be passé, but burning CDs seems to be the national pastime of computer users. Apple could go a couple routes here.

  1. Make a CD-RW drive a build to order option.
  2. Add a device bay that could be used for CD-RW, Zip, floppy, etc. This could also make it easier to duplicate CDs. (Not for piracy, of course.)

The Thin iMac

Gateway is being ripped for offering an all-in-one with a LCD screen for the princely sum of $2,000. Shoot, you can buy a laptop for less!

Maybe not within the coming months, but certainly within the next year Apple should release a thin version of the iMac (quite possibly with a completely different name) using the 800 x 600 screen from the iBook or the 1024 x 768 display on the PowerBook.

Of the four suggestions I'm making, I believe this is the inevitable one. Sooner or later prices will reach the point where flat panel displays will replace the old large energy sucking monitors most of us are used to. And before that, users will be willing to pay a premium for a desktop with that kind of display.

I wonder which of these we'll see first once Apple clears the current glut of computers out of the sales channel.

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