I probably shouldn’t be saying this as someone who makes his living working in the media, but has Apple just given us a compelling reason to go back to the Mac? Or, if not compelling, then at least some reason?
We’ve had the 2017 iMac in our Labs for a few days, and honestly we’ve been pondering whether it was even worth a column in this newspaper. I mean, it’s more or less the same computer that Apple released in 2014, only with significantly faster internals (it really is very fast, this new iMac) and with a display that’s brighter and better than ever (if that’s even possible) thanks to the addition of some “dithering” technology that lets it display more colours.
Don’t get me wrong. The iMac was an incredible all-in-one PC when it was released in 2014, and it’s still a great machine today, for sure. It’s just that it’s not all that interesting any more, and there’s not that much to say about it other than the screen is better and the guts are faster. Unbelievably in this era of touch screens, the 2017 iMac still doesn’t have a touch screen. It’s got a very nice keyboard, a pretty good mouse, and that’s it.
Meanwhile, in the years between the awesome 2014 iMac and the still pretty great 2017 iMac, Microsoft has come out with an iMac-style, all-in-one PC, the Surface Studio, that has a touchscreen that tilts almost all the way flat, creating a radically new and very satisfying way to interact with your desktop PC. It has a Surface Pen that’s almost as good to draw with as the Pencil on the iPad Pro. (We’ve tested the new Surface Pen on a Surface Pro, which uses the same technology the Surface Studio will use when it’s upgraded for the new Pen later this year.) The Surface Studio also has a giant, tactile knob known as the Surface Dial that gives your left hand something to do while your right hand is busy with the Surface Pen. Or vice versa.