27-inch iMac Receives Significant Update, Other iMacs Get a Nod

I would assume you will be able to run Office 2016 through Rosetta 2 on an M1 Mac.

Latest iMac with 3,6 GHz 10‑Core Intel Core i9 or latest Macbook Air with Apple M1? Which one should I take if I have a fixed amount of money? (The Macbook decision would of course include all peripherals like display, hub etc.)

If one of the choices is a ten core Intel, I’d wait (if you are able) to see if Apple releases a more powerful M1 with more cores and more thunderbolt ports next spring. These new computers are replacing Intel machines on the low end of the line.

@ddmiller makes a good point. You’re comparing a fairly beefy and mature desktop Mac to brand new product and what is bound to become the lowest end AS Mac. So I’d agree with him that you should wait if you can.

For the sake of continuing this thread though I’ll act as if you cannot wait and need to make that decision now. I take it from your last comment that buying a large high-quality display and a serious TB3 dock are a given. In that case I indeed would not hesitate to get a portable Mac. That way you get a svelte Mac you can take anywhere you want, but when you get back to the desk, you hook it up to a single cable to turn it into a full desktop Mac with large screen, good peripherals, etc. I’ll mention I definitely am biased. This is how I choose my main work Mac.

I have to admit I never got the appeal of the iMac. Sure it’s nice to look at and it’s got a beautiful screen and usually presents good value (high-end MBP plus good display plus TB dock is not cheap), but this idea that you have to throw out a perfectly good screen whenever you want to upgrade your CPU I always found jarring. I never liked the idea that although it’s a desktop, you can’t really service anything yourself (so no swapping disks for example). I could never stand the fact that iMacs (like Apple’s Cinema Displays) offers insufficient adjustability: who buys a beautifully designed Mac to then stack it up on old coffee stained phone books? If the iMac were substantially cheaper or offered much more horsepower I guess I’d get it, but the one iMac that does offer that is the iMac Pro and that’s by no means inexpensive.

The M1 is no slouch. There is some justified concern about the tight thermal envelop of the MBA and possible throttling of its M1 due to the fanless design. Early benchmarks do not underscore that concern, but proper testing remains to settle that issue. If indeed that would be a serious issue for you, you could always spend an extra $250 to get the M1 13" MBP. It’s very similar to the MBA but it has a fan.

Thanks for your comments!

This remark was especially valuable since I was not giving it too much thought before.

2 posts were split to a new topic: Office 2016 questions after reinstalling