Laptops and tablets may make the news more these days, but everyone knows if you want real power, you go with a desktop. If you prefer Apple’s line of products including laptops, desktops, and even the iPad and iPhone, then I encourage you to consider an iMac for your next purchase.
Today we will examine the iMac and some of the advantages and disadvantages you will find if you choose the iMac as your desktop computer for your home or your office. I guarantee that by the time you are finished reading this article, you will know whether or not an Apple iMac is the right choice for you.
What is an iMac?
An iMac is a computer manufactured by Apple. The device was the brainchild of Steve Jobs way back in 1998 right after he returned to the company. The design is an all-in-one design that was very much like the original Macintosh 128k that was first released in 1984.
This all-in-one design features all of the components of the computer built right together with the monitor. That way all you have is one piece for everything instead of a tower or desktop with a separate monitor connected to it.
Over time, Apple has refined the design including new building technology such as their aluminum unibody designs. This has allowed them to get even faster and even slimmer, resulting in a machine that is quite powerful even though it is just one piece. In many ways these iMacs often rival desktop computers in terms of power, although regular desktops still win in the graphics card department.
Over the years, the iMac line has proven to be very popular with both consumers and businesses alike, and so far the innovative machine has showed no signs of slipping popularity.
Five Advantages of an iMac
First, let’s look at all the good things that owning an iMac will bring to the table. The truth is there are tons of advantages to these machines, but I selected five to highlight my favorites.
1. Amazingly Clean and Stylish Design
The very first thing you will notice about the iMac, is how it looks. Apple has always led the market in design, and the iMac just serves to demonstrate their prowess and creating beautiful technology. So many PC makers stress function over fashion, but Apple looks at them more equally than most everyone else out there.
The design itself is clean and stylish, and the aluminum unibody is simply gorgeous to look at. On top that, they use some of the best Retina display monitors available today so they are stunning to behold.
On top of all that, the design is clean and it comes with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse, so you don’t have to worry about a bunch of wires becoming spaghetti on and around your desk. In fact, if you have a minimal setup, the only cable you will have is the power cable, as all iMacs come with wireless as well as an ethernet adapter.
2. More Power than MacBooks
Some of us need more power than can be offered by a laptop. The same goes for the iMac. When you start to look at the price of the two devices and then compare the hardware of what you get to each other, you begin to realize that the iMac gives you much more value for your money compare to the MacBook. Sure, they are both more expensive than their PC counterparts, you will get much more value for your money if you choose an iMac and you will get much more powerful hardware while you’re at it.
One of the biggest benefits to buying a Mac is macOS, formerly known as Mac OS X. This operating system came to Apple when they bought NEXT, bringing Steve Jobs back to the company. The first release came out back in 2001, this operating system eventually replaced the aging classic OS that Apple was using. Based on UNIX, or more specifically, FreeBSD which was based on UNIX, this operating system has a lot in common with UNIX and Linux.
Apple, of course, created their own custom UI to run on top of it and made a few changes of their own to create what is known today as macOS. The operating system is beautiful to look at, easy to use, and secure. In many ways, it is one of the most powerful operating systems available today for personal computers, and anyone who uses it, usually ends up loving it.
Because macOS is based on UNIX, it comes with many more security features compared to Windows. You simply won’t have to worry as much about viruses and malware on a Mac compared to a PC powered by Windows.
Now I’m not saying they don’t exist. The fact is Apple regularly releases security patches to fill holes that have been discovered in macOS. I’m just saying there are less so it’s not as much of a concern. On top of that, because the nature of UNIX, chances of a complete disaster are far lower.
That being said, I still recommend that you run antivirus software on your Mac and run scans from time to time.
5. Storage and Ports
Apple has come under fire with the latest release of their MacBooks because of their lack of ports. Now while they could do the same for future releases of the iMac, for now they haven’t. That means that you will get access to multiple Thunderbolt and USB ports so you can connect a wide variety devices including monitors, keyboards, mice, cameras and much more.
In addition, iMacs often come with more storage compared to the MacBook laptops. If you have a lot of files such as documents, movies, videos, music or more, then chances are there will be plenty of room on your iMac to store it all compared to the smaller drives often used in today’s modern MacBooks. In some cases, you can even have multiple drives so you have a fast SSD for booting and applications, and then another drive to store all your files.
Five Disadvantages of an iMac
Now that you understand many of the good points to owning an iMac, there are some disadvantages that you need to understand before you invest your hard earned money into one of these devices.
The first thing you will notice about an iMac, is how much they cost. Now compared to a MacBook and a monitor, they are definitely more affordable. However, when you compare them to the prices of a PC running Windows, you see that you are paying a lot more for what you get. On the inside, they are almost identical, so you end up paying for design and the Apple logo on the back of it. For some, that’s enough. But if you are on the fence and don’t necessarily need macOS, it can be difficult to cough up that extra dough just for a logo on the machine.
2. Upgrade Ability
Because of the way an iMac is designed, they are very hard to upgrade. This includes almost every component in them. This really isn’t anything new, as Apple machines have always been more difficult to upgrade compared to PCs. Still, things have gotten worse with the latest versions of the iMac. Before, you could at least access the hard drive and the RAM slots. Today, those are even tough to reach if you don’t know what you are doing and have the right tools. Even something as simple as a RAM upgrade require that you completely take apart the machine just to do.
3. Troubleshooting and Repair
This kind of goes hand and hand with upgrade ability, but I thought it best to separate it so we could discuss it further. Because the machines are so hard to get into, if you have a problem it will be tough to figure out the source of your hardware problem. At the same time, if you do need to replace a part, you will have to visit the Apple Store or an Apple Certified Dealer to get it repaired. In most cases these repairs are far more expensive compared to a PC. On top of that, Apple won’t let you buy the parts to do it yourself, so you have no choice but to take it someplace if you do run into a hardware problem. Very inconvenient and costly, at least in my opinion.
This is more Apple’s fault than anything, and one that I, even as a Mac owner, hates. It seems every three or four years Apple puts older models out to pasture, even if they are still running well and are good enough to run anything out there at the moment. This wouldn’t be a big deal if they weren’t so expensive, but once you combine this with their price, and you realize that you are going to have to pay more to use a computer if you stick with Macs over the long haul. I really wish Apple would extend the life of many of their machines, but Apple likes moving forward with their technology and doesn’t operate like Microsoft does, so it is something that we just have to live with.
5. Software and Applications
To be honest, you can easily find all the apps and software you need on a Mac. Today, there are tons of apps available for just about any task you can think of. The big players offer their software for both Mac and PC so you don’t have to worry there. What you will find is that there are still many more applications made for Windows when you compare it to Mac. In some cases, software you need for the Mac will cost you money while on the PC you will find it for free.
In addition to that, games on the Mac just suck. Sure, it’s gotten better over the years, but it still lags far behind game support on Windows. If you like playing games, you are going to have to install Windows on your Mac to do it. If you don’t, you will be giving up access to many different games that never come to the Mac platform.
Choosing an iMac or MacBook
If you are sold on a computer from Apple, but aren’t sure if you should buy a MacBook laptop or a desktop like an iMac, then it’s time to listen up.
Both machines are amazing devices, but they are designed to cater to different needs. For example, if you are looking for a machine to sit in one place and one that maybe has a large monitor along with power to match, then an iMac could be the best choice for you. However, if you need something that gives you portability because you travel, then you may want to consider a MacBook with a monitor connected to it. That way you get the best of both worlds.
Remember, the laptop and monitor route will be more expensive than an iMac, and you will get more power from an iMac. So if you don’t really need the portability, then don’t bother picking up a MacBook, stick with an iMac instead. Trust me, you will be glad you did when you see how well it performs each day.
While all of these points are definitely true and valid at the time of this writing, I make no promises for future releases of the iMac. Once they are released, I may revisit this article. Apple is known for making drastic changes to their hardware with each release, so you never know what Apple has planned for the future of the iMac line.
In the last few years, Apple has only made incremental changes to these devices, so they could be do for a major refresh any time now. When that happens, things like hardware and ports could be very different, changing what has been discussed in this article. So be aware of that if you are viewing this article a year from now.
Apple’s iMac line is one of the most advanced all-in-one desktop computers on the market today. In fact, without the iMac, we may have never had the all-in-one market to begin with. Thanks to Steve Jobs, today we have one of the most powerful desktops available wrapped into one package that we can all enjoy.
Of course, no matter how great it is, it’s not a good fit for everyone, no matter what Apple may tell you. However, if you are in the market for a quality all-in-one machine and you don’t really need Windows, then an iMac is definitely the choice for you. Even if you do need Windows, there are still ways to run Windows on a Mac, meaning this machine is right for almost everyone looking for a great looking all-in-one device for their home or office.
Do you have an iMac at your home or office? If so, I want to hear from you. Comment below to tell me what you think about it and how your experience has been with this amazing desktop computer.