At its Scary Fast event, Apple announced a refresh of the 24-inch iMac, bringing the M3 to its popular all-in-one desktop. The M3 is a big deal, especially since the iMac was the only Mac that didn’t get an M2 update.
There were a few things Apple didn’t announce that many people were expecting: new accessories. Rumors before the event pointed to a new Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse, but that did not come to fruition. With the iPhone’s recent shift to USB-C, some speculated that Mac peripherals would also move away from Lightning. It did not happen.
Some optimists even hoped that Apple was redesigning the Magic Mouse to fix its infamous design. The wireless mouse cannot be used while charging, which is why it often appears on lists of the worst designed Apple products ever. What’s more, Magic Mouse 2 has been a long time coming, and some attention to it is long overdue. But alas – that will have to wait for another day.
On the plus side, the iMac M2 will now be completely replaced by the M3, and it still starts at the same price of $1,299. Considering how big of an upgrade the M3 is from the M2, this is great news. The M3 brings architectural improvements across the board which is now built at 3nm.
Overall, Apple claims the M3 is up to two times faster than the M2 and 2.5 times faster than the M1. It depends on the app, but I was shown an early look at the display, and had one takeaway that shows just how much the M3 iMac brings to the table. With the M3, apps reportedly open 30% faster than the M1. This is a worthwhile improvement you can actually make feel, Apple also spent some time talking about how the M3 improves gaming on the iMac, largely due to new GPU features like dynamic caching, mesh shading, and ray tracing. These obviously play a big role on the new M3 MacBook Pros, but the M3 can play games too. I was shown an early preview of Myst: Masterpiece Edition Running smoothly on an M3 iMac, with ray tracing effects turned on.
However, more than anything, Apple is also focused on attracting those who are still using the older Intel-based 27-inch iMac with the performance gains that come with the change to Apple silicon. Points towards a big surge. Although the larger size is still missing from the lineup, Apple clearly wants to upgrade the M3 iMac to make it easier to sell.
For now, this new M3 iMac is a predictable but welcome update that ensures Apple’s only available iMac has the latest performance improvements.