The iMac is one of Apple’s most important products, and the company has always been rather “safe” in its design. An iMac released in 2020 is indistinguishable at a glance from an iMac released in 2015. That’s changed with this year’s iMac, announced at the company’s “Spring Loaded” event in 2021. This 2021 iMac comes with the new Apple Silicon M1 chipset, which powered the company’s new Macbooks released late last year.
The new iMac has a number of improvements over last year’s model, with the most noticeable change being its all-new design. It’s colored on both the front and the back, with the front being a single sheet of glass covering the surface. The M1 system-on-chip features a smaller logic board, with the thermal system being replaced by two large fans. Apple says it runs extremely quiet, coming in at under 10 decibels. Its overall volume has been dropped by 50%. According to the company as well, it’s an 85-times faster CPU for faster image and video editing over previous models and has 2-times faster graphics in apps like Photoshop and Affinity. The company claims that it can edit up to 5 4K streams in Final Cut Pro at once, or 1 8K stream, without dropping any frames. Apps can leverage the 16-core neural engine in the M1 chipset for faster machine learning as well.
For the display, the company has packed in an expansive 24-inch Retina display, with a resolution of 4480×2520. It has a DCI-P3-wide gamut, over one billion colors, and a brightness of 500 nits. TrueTone support is also present for auto white balance, and there’s a low-reflective coating over the display. Apple says that this is a 4.5K display.
The camera, microphone, and speakers are revamped too. Featuring the “best camera ever in a Mac”, it has a larger sensor than previous models for better low-light performance in 1080p. The M1’s image signal processor (ISP) enables computational enhancements for video, and operates at over 1 trillion operations per second (TOPS). Apple claims that this is the best microphone on a Mac, featuring three microphones for beamforming to eliminate background noise. Finally, the iMac’s sound system has been improved, packing 2 pairs of subwoofers for better bass, balanced with a high-performance tweeter. It’s a 6-speaker system overall and has spatial audio by Dolby Atmos.
For connectivity, the new iMac features 4 USB-C ports, 2 of which are Thunderbolt ports. For power, there’s a 2-meter color-matched woven cable in the box with a small adapter, and an ethernet cable can be plugged in through the power cable.
For the new M1-powered iMacs, you can even pick up new accessories that are color-matched to your iMac. There’s a brand new Magic Keyboard, and you can pick up a newly-designed Magic Mouse or Magic Trackpad. Both of these devices work wirelessly. The new Magic Keyboard supports new emoji, Apple Spotlight, dictation, do-not-disturb, and a lock key. There is also Touch ID in the top right with fast user switching so that you can quickly switch accounts just by scanning your finger.
The new iMac will be available for pre-order from April 30th and will be available in the second half of May. Pricing is as follows:
- $1299 for 8-core CPU/7-core GPU, 8GB mem, 256GB SSD, 2 TB ports, Magic Keyboard
- $1499 for 8-core CPU/8-core GPU, 8GB mem, 256GB SSD, 2TB ports and 2 USB-C ports, Magic Keyboard with TouchID, Ethernet