If you take pictures from the right angle, the computer looks thinner than if you take pictures from the side showing the entire bulge and stand.
Screens don't need it, but that's not purely aesthetic. Having glass upfront means you can use whatever you want and clean that stuff, as the material is resilient and there's no leak around the seams. Also it's more robust against people poking their fingers into the screen, and more rigid overall. In D.Rams parlance, "good design has a purpose", and here it's a blend between form and function.
The number of angle shots of the computer effectively make it appear as though the computer is 100x thinner than it is.
Given the attention to detail in the design phase, I'd argue the apparent thinness was part of the spec, and since component space leads to a bump, the resulting angle value towards the bump comes from the design+engineering following the spec. From there, the marketing shots could very well follow the actual design and showcase what you will feel of the device most of the time. That is design => marketing, not marketing => design.
Where they dropped the ball is that they could really have put a nice side shot in the gallery. That's where I really expected to find one, and it's not like the thing is thick either so I fail to see the harm.
What follows is just an opinion:
The smaller you make the package, the harder it is to do active heat management with fans and big heat sinks. Apple spends a lot of R&D dollars on reducing the power usage of their computers - Macs are way more power efficient than their competitors.
Thinness is the authentic, unfakeable, consequence of all of that power management engineering. Competitors can't copy the look of an iMac without also investing heavily in design work to reduce power consumption.
In an ideal world, Apple could just publish power usage figures, but that doesn't really sell computers outside of the data center universe. Thin computers on the other handle are much more marketable, so Apple is using thinness as a marketing proxy for power efficiency.
Given that families are a big market for iMacs it seems to be common sense that you would make it as kid friendly as possible. Last thing you want is an errant toy to destroy your screen.
They're designed to not be serviced by anyone - not customers, not retail staff. So, they have better quality parts that reduce return rates, and get replaced by new or refurbished units if they are lemons. Nothing wrong with the advances of mass production.
I really don’t understand why some people are completely mystified how that could be an argument. So you don’t care about looks? Fine. Others do. And computers are a part of the furniture.
Some people buy those really nice looking but functionally identical faucets that cost three time as much, some don’t. That’s all.
There is nothing ridiculous about that, it’s just a difference in taste.
Why is it crazy to think that people just want something to work and look nice? It's an argument that I see people have to make on HN all... the... time.
I love the look of the last iMac, no idea why they did this stupid design and removed ram upgradability for the sake of it looking thinner (from some angles).
I predict it will fatten up again when they go retina
The older parts might also get more difficult to get from the supply chain as time goes by (a bit like the old processors that drop off the manufactory chains after a few years), and you don't get much in not using a recent/smaller version of the components.
iMacs are already a very good value proposition I think, and you wouldn't have your better computer without bumping the price point way over what an average consumer would buy I think.
I'm not trying to compare Apple products to DVDs (except that I am) but this whole obsession with thinness is another great example of Apple giving us something we didn't know we wanted.
And on another note, which I have zero evidence to support, I'm sure there's a psychological effect of thinner feeling "faster."
1. Mac Pro - gouging prices, several generation old tech.
2. iMac - a Macbook Air in a monitor, practically zero expansion options.
3. Mac Mini - poor expansion options, poor graphics, expensive once you start adding the ram you need etc.
Seem to me Apple is now almost entirely focused on iOS and iDevices, which is understandable as that's where the money is. I don't see them investing anything much into the desktop computer line at all going forward. Time to move on.
- Edited for clarity.
For what it's worth, your YouTube issues are down to Flash. I have an older iMac (2007) and 720p runs fine for me in HTML5.
Anyway thanks for the YouTube tip, I have tried the HTML5 version a few times and it is certainly less taxing on resources (just H264 without the Flash wrapper I guess). Can't remember why I went back to Flash, think I just had a few weird glitches in playback, I'll try it again.
I just moved from a Mac Pro to a Linux Box precisely because none of Apple's current lineup can make the power per $ I can buy from a PC box. I just bought a PC that absolutely destroys the best Mac you can buy, and my personal work, be it compilation, digital content creation, or even playing Battlefield 3 @ 2500x1600 on a 30" monitor at great framerates, will be vastly improved. Can you buy a 4.2Ghz i7 from Apple? Can you get a liquid cooled iMac with Dual GeForce 680 GTXs?
If I were to buy an iMac, it's form would absolutely deliver less function. I have ample desktop space, the look of the monitor/CPU combo has zero effect on the function of the software or how I interact with it.
However, the constrained geometry does have a large effect on the thermal/cooling solutions you can pack into it, or whether you can put something like a GeForce 690GTX into it.
Mobile computing, you can make an argument about form and function, since the ergonomics and weight of the device matter a lot. For getting work done on the desktop, its completely irrelevant unless you're trying to show off.
If the iMac were a stand-in for an Apple TV, and the computer needed to be hung on the wall, then by all means, make it a flat panel. But desktop boxes in tower configurations in no way inhibit most people, often the desktop sits under the table anyway, and only the monitor, keyboard, and mouse are above the desk.
Now, I realize this is going to insult a lot of iMac owners, but I am a power user, I've owned nothing but top of the line boxes, until I got my 2006 Mac Pro. I stuck with it for along time, hoping Apple was going to get seriously about keeping up with top-end PCs on the GPU and CPU front, but they never caught up after being briefly ahead. And so, I finally got frustrated with Apple's lack of attention to professionals who want to buy Formula-1 machines. I am not interested in desktop machines that are not much different than laptops.
Please, state a cogent argument otherwise.
Let's talk about form. The iMac is integrated: it has one cable, you plug it in, turn it on, and it works. That's form. If I were not tech-savvy, I wouldn't need to know my VGA from my USB from my power cables and what goes where and why.
The iMac has a low footprint: I don't have room for a tower. That's form.
The iMac is practically silent: it doesn't distract simply by existing, that's form.
The iMac is accessible: you don't need to be able to build your own machine to get great performance. Look at the SSD + HDD system they have. It's not a cache system, there's no wasted space, the OS always writes to the SSD and transfers rarely-accessed date to the HDD and presents both as a hybrid drive. I don't know if I could replicate that on a custom box. I certainly know no ordinary person could. That's form.
All this form adds up to a hell of a lot of function.
"Form is function" means looking at a computer and seeing more than a list of tech specs.
Crap "design" doesn't mean that good design doesn't exist, and cannot be used to waive the latter away.
I mean what world of delusion do you live in that you would ignore the entire industry of industrial design. It's everywhere from cars to irons to cutlery to furniture. How a product is designed affects how it is used.
The only improvements you could get with a thicker computer are things that would also negatively affect the amount of power it requires. Thinness is just a pleasant consequence of power-concious design.
For me, I've had an iMac for 5 years and I upgraded both the RAM and the HDD (to an SSD) myself with no issues. And it shows no signs of slowing down and is better than the day I bought it, and is probably one of the best investments I've made. Hell, at the time, and this is still true, buying a monitor of comparable quality would've cost half what I paid for the entire computer.
It's not like I ever see the back anyway