The M3 iMac is here, but it’s missing its most requested change

Someone using an iMac at a salon.

At its Scary Fast event, Apple announced a refresh to 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 to not get an M2 update.

There were some things Apple didn’t announce that many were hoping for: new accessories. Rumors leading up to the event pointed to a new Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse, but that didn’t come to fruition. With the iPhone’s recent change to USB-C, some speculated that the Mac peripherals would also move away from Lightning. That didn’t happen.

Some optimistic folks even hoped that Apple was redesigning the Magic Mouse to fix its notorious design. The wireless mouse can’t be used while charging, which has often landed it on lists of the worst-designed Apple products of all time. More than that, it’s been a long, long time since the Magic Mouse 2 came out, and it is long overdue for some attention. But alas — that will have to wait for another day.

A game on a rendering of the M3 iMac.

On the plus side, the iMac M2 will be replaced outright with the M3 now, and it still starts at the same price of $1,299. Considering how big of an upgrade the M3 is over the M2, that’s great news. The M3 brings architectural improvements across the board now that’s built on 3nm.

Overall, Apple claims that the M3 is two times faster than the M2 and 2.5 times faster than the M1. That depends on the app, but I was shown an early look at the performance, and there was one takeaway that shows how much the M3 iMac brings to the table. With the M3, apps reportedly open 30% faster than on the M1. That’s a meaningful improvement that you can actually feel. Apple even spent some time talking about how the M3 opened up gaming on the iMac, largely thanks to new GPU features like Dynamic Caching, mesh shading, and ray tracing. These obviously play a bigger role on the new M3 MacBook Pros, but the M3 can game too. I was shown an early preview of Myst: Masterpiece Edition smoothly playing on the M3 iMac, complete with ray tracing effects turned on.

More than anything, though, Apple also seems focused on courting those who are still using an old Intel-based 27-inch iMac, pointing to the major jump in performance that comes with the transition to Apple Silicon. Though the larger size is still missing from the lineup, Apple clearly wants to make upgrading an easy sell to the M3 iMac.

For now, this new M3 iMac is a predictable but welcome update that ensures that Apple’s only available iMac has the latest performance improvements.

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