Usually when Apple discontinues a product it’s because it’s just about to launch a new version. However there was no replacement 27-inch iMac at Apple’s product launch.
While some stores will continue selling the 27-inch iMac until stock runs out, for many people now looking to buy an Apple all-in-one, you’re left with just the 24-inch iMac from last year.
Now, this is a great device, with a colorful redesign and powered by the same M1 chip found in the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13-inch, but if you wanted an iMac with a larger screen – or featuring the newer, more powerful, M1 Pro, M1 Max or even M1 Ultra chips – then you’re out of luck.
Filling the void
There is another option, however, and one I feel Apple may be hoping for. Rather than buying a 27-inch iMac, could buying the new 27-inch Studio Display, along with the compact Mac Studio be a viable alternative?
On the one hand, this does make sense. The Studio Display looks a lot like an iMac, and offers a 5K resolution, P3 color gamut coverage with 10-bit color depth, 600-nit brightness, a three-mic array built in, and a six-speaker sound system with spatial audio support, alongside an A13 Bionic chip, it doesn’t include a computer, like the iMac, so you need to plug one in.
That’s where the Mac Studio comes in. This is a compact PC that has a square footprint of 7.7 inches and a height of 3.7 inches, so while this isn’t as convenient as an all-in-one PC, it should still be rather discrete and space-saving. Combine it with the smaller Mac mini, and you have an even more compact setup.
The fact that the computer is separate can also help with upgrading your setup later. When the Mac Studio becomes outdated (a long time from now, going by the cutting edge specs), you can keep hold of the screen and just replace the attached PC, which should cut down costs.
So there is some sense to considering the Mac Studio and Studio Display as an alternative to the 27-inch iMac. However, there’s also plenty of reasons why this won’t appeal to many people.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the key appeals of the iMac, along with other all-in-one PCs, is that as the computer is built into the screen, it makes it incredibly easy to set up, and with no extra cables trailing to a separate PC, it also looks a lot neater.
Having to plug the Studio Display into a PC instantly loses that convenience. There’s also the price consideration. The iMac 27-inch started at $1,799 / £1,799 / AU$2,799 when it launched in 2020.
However, when buying both the Mac Studio and Studio Display, you’re going to end up spending more. The Studio Display alone costs $1,599 / £1,499 / AU$2,499 to start, then if you add on the minimum spec Mac Studio for $1,999 / £1,999 / AU$3,099, you’re looking at an overall spend of $3,598 / £3,498 / AU$5,598 – a huge initial outlay, and much higher than the iMac 27-inch.
Of course, if you already have a PC you want to use, then you can just buy the Studio Display, but I imagine there will be a lot of people out there who were hoping to see a new, more powerful, 27-inch iMac, and who are now very disappointed.
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Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.