When you think of the Mac, the computer that often pops up in your head is the iMac. The iconic desktop computer is a great combination of price and performance. Even with that, every Mac has a release cycle, and you should ask yourself if this is a good time to buy now or wait until later when a new version is released. Here’s what we know about the 24-inch iMac and our buying advice.
24-inch iMac: Pricing and specs
Released: April 2021
The 24-inch iMac was the last Mac to be outfitted with Apple’s M1 processor, which was introduced in the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini in November 2020. The 24-inch iMac’s performance is on par with those other M1 Macs.
Replacing the 21.5-inch iMac that used Intel processors, the 24-inch iMac not only has a new processor inside, but also features an all-new, cleaner design with smaller bezels, a larger screen area, and new colors. It also has Touch ID support, an improved FaceTime 1080p camera, and Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports.
Pricing for the 24-inch iMac starts at $1,299, but that model is missing a few features that are found on the $1,499 and $1,699 standard configurations. Our iMac FAQ has more details on the differences between the models.
24-inch iMac: Why you should buy
The 24-inch iMac is a great all-in-one computer that offers a boost over the Intel iMac it replaced. If you need a complete computer setup (computer, display, input devices), the iMac is a good way to go.
Since the 24-inch iMac was released in April 2021, Apple could upgrade it soon. A report by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said that Apple could release a new iMac during the second half of this year. The new iMac could get a processor upgrade to the M3, which would provide a jump in performance.
However, the features and design likely will not change. With that in mind, the M1 24-inch iMac is still a good investment for customers looking for a general-purpose Mac. It can handle all the everyday tasks easily–internet and web access, media streaming, productivity apps, and consumer media production (iMovie, GarageBand, etc.).
24-inch iMac: Why you should wait
If you think you want an iMac bigger than the 24-inch model, the only 27-inch iMacs Apple sells are in the Refurbished and Clearance store and they have Intel processors. They are older machines and don’t offer the speed of the M1 in the 24-inch iMac.
Rumor has it that Apple could release a new 27-inch iMac with an M-series processor, as well as a new Liquid Retina XDR display and a new design. It’s possible a larger iMac could be part of the iMac update later this year. If you need more size in an iMac, you can try waiting.
If you do a lot of tasks that are processor intensive (video and audio rendering, graphics, or programming, for example), then you might consider waiting for the rumored M3 iMac that could appear later this year. You need all the processing power you can get, and M3 will offer more processing speed over the M1.
Macworld recommends: WAIT…unless you find a deal
The 24-inch iMac is an impressive computer that doesn’t disappoint. It brings an excellent speed boost over the Intel-based iMac it replaced, and everything else about the iMac is greatly improved, from the design to the display.
However, a new iMac is coming soon, and the speed of the new processor will be worth the wait. Plus, we could see an iMac with a bigger display, so you’ll have a choice in the matter.
If you can, we recommend you wait and see what Apple does. The company could make an announcement at its Worldwide Developers Conference, which usually happens in June.
If you can’t wait, look around for a deal. The Apple Store doesn’t offer sales, but third-party retailers do, and deals are starting to pop up at the popular retailers–that could also be a sign that Apple will release an update soon