2013 – Breathe In And Wait…

The time is late 2013 and having used my trusty 2008 ‘cheesegrater’ Mac Pro for some five years I bite the bullet and purchase a late 2013 27″ iMac. Five years of daily use out of the Mac Pro was already a record. As an IT person with a background in hardware and software support, I was constantly building and upgrading PCs that I used at home, but apart from some storage upgrades on the Mac Pro it pretty much stayed the course in it’s original form for five years.

iMac-2013With the new 2013 iMac I opted to max out on the processor with a 3.5GHz Quad-Core Core i7 together with the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M 4Gb graphics option. Not much by today’s standards but back then it was all about going for the best CPU and graphics because upgrading those components is screen-off surgery of a type I didn’t fancy. I opted for a 3Tb Fusion drive primarily because space was everything and I needed lots of it for VMware virtual machines I’d be running. Top that all off with 24Gb of user-upgradeable RAM and I was all set. What I didn’t realise was just how long I’d be set for!

Everything was good, the system ran like a dream and rarely if ever gave me any problems. Working with multiple clients was a breeze with each having one or more dedicated virtual machines I could run alongside each other. The consumer iMac was the way to go with that delightful built in 2560×1440 display. Naturally I assumed I’d follow Apple’s consumer desktop roadmap and never return to those dark days of Windows PCs. Roll on seven years and what has Apple been up to?

Well the following year in 2014 we got new iPhones, MacBooks, an iPod Touch and iPad Airs. We even saw the 27″ iMac get a new 5K display. The years rolled on with watches, iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, Mac Mini’s, both the ‘trash bin’ Mac Pro and then the 2019 Mac Pro, Air Pods, Air Pods Pro, an iMac Pro (in a very familiar looking body), Home Pods, countless services and other initiatives and Apple’s ecosystem grew and grew. But in one little corner of their empire, gathering dust of amost biblical proportions given their expansion everywhere else sat… the consumer iMac! Still wearing its wide-bezelled, big

27inch-iMac-2013

27″ iMac (late 2013)

chinned display, it’s non-height adjustable stand, its hopeless cooling. Despite one or two minor spec bumps to the CPU/GPU options it saw no new technology. Touchbars, amazing cameras, fantastic sound, Touch Id, facial recognition, all manner of wonders for an eager public. The model of 27″ iMac I bought into was actually launched in December of 2012 so in six months time it will have been more or less wearing the same clothes for EIGHT YEARS. In product development terms that isn’t so much taking your time so much as wanton neglect. I can only assume that Apple has felt like it either doesn’s have the capacity to develop this space or that there really is no market for consumer desktop machines these days. Sure if you’re a profesional with deep pockets and can stretch to the iMacPro (which still looks like a 2012 model albeit with better cooling) or the eye wateringly expensive Mac Pro, then you have options. But as a regular Joe I have been wandering the consumer iMac desert for over seven years now with no oasis in sight!

My once trusty iMac is now becoming as flakey as Windows PCs of old. At least once and sometimes twice a week I’ll have to reboot it because applications stop responding. The 3Tb Fusion drive has started to eat itself and over the past six months the number of errors revealed by DriveDX has been growing, to the point where I wonder if it’ll come back the next time I reboot it. Sure I could blow two to three grand on a ‘new’ 27″ iMac but all I’d be doing is investing in eight year old technology that’s way behind the rest of Apple’s curve. As for the prospect of replacing the Fusion drive to eek out some extra life from this old lady, well I really don’t fancy the surgery this involves.

So what to do next? Can’t say I fancy some sort of MacBook with an external monitor and dongles galore as I’d be paying for portability I don’t want. I’ve dropped a couple of hints to popular Apple pundits, but they’re all so busy covering other aspects of Apple-world that they can’t see the elephant in my room. It really is a waiting game, during which I’m, sure I’ll hear more about Apple Glasses and Apple Cars than I will about a new iMac!

PS – looking back at the last few posts (which I admit have been very few and far between) I can safely say that even in macOS Catalina, Apple have still not sorted out multi-monitor support on iMacs. Every time there is a point upgrade in macOS, screensaver choices and display options get wiped clean for no good reason!!