On 20th April 2021, Apple unveil the highly anticipated iMac refresh. The new iMac has been completely redesign and for the first time since the original iMac, it comes with a variety of colors. This new iMac is not only a design refresh, but also a completely relaunch of the entire Mac line up and by extension, the Apple company.
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Colors is the major change since the iMac has not been colorful since the first iMac release. The colors that is available are blue, green, pink, silver (for the traditionalist), yellow, orange and purple. Pretty much the same lunch color of the original iMac. For the intro, they reimagined how the new iMac is a restart of the iMac by showing them swiveling around just like the original ad back in the 1998. The color scheme, and the intro video, is one big hat tip to the original iMac, Steve Job first product launch when he return to Apple as CEO.iMac introduction video. Source: Apple
Compare that to the original iMac ad
To imagine the design of the iMac, is to imagine the iPad Pro, on a hinge like it’s on the Magic Keyboard, add a power cable and a wireless keyboard and mouse. This iMac only replaced the 21.5-inch model. The 27-inch model is still on sale, new, on the Apple website. The screen has been enlarged to 24-inch (actually 23.5) and featured at 4.5K screen with resolution of 4480x2520 pixels. The bezels are now white, which some tech Youtuber kind of forgot that the early iMacs and PCs were just that, white bezels. Oh, and they removed the front logo now. The thickness of the main chassis is just 11.5mm (The iPad Pro is around 5.9mm thick).
As I said, color is a very important theme here where everything is color matched. The power wire is braided and color matched. The leg has the same color, but different tone of the body. And the wireless keyboard and mouse is color match. You can order a trackpad with matching colors. Apple take color seriously on the new iMac.
There’s only USB-C ports behind the screen. On the cheaper option, you’ll get 2 USB-C ports and on the higher-end trim you’ll get 4 USB-C ports. Two of the ports are Thunderbolt 4 which provide around 40GB/s bandwidth each.
The power situation has change. Instead of the power converter box to be internal, it has moved to a brick externally. The ethernet cable has been moved to the power brick. So the DC wire from the power brick is magnetically connected, but they were careful not to call it MagSafe since removing such power will basically switch off your Mac.
The 2021 iMac 24-inch uses the same M1 chip that has been released in November which powers the current Mac Mini, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13" with two ports. Now, the M1 is no slouch when come to performance in which it can keep up, and sometimes beat with Intel’s best gaming chip, the Core i9. Just like the other Macs that was introduced earlier, it comes with 8GB of RAM (default) with options for 16GB. Storage starts at 256GB and configurable to 2TB which must be chosen during ordering.
So despite the reduce internal volume, which they claim has cut around 50% from previous model, there still a lot to pack in. The speaker has been upgraded with 6 drivers which give Dolby Atmos quality. With iPad Pro serves as a benchmark for amazing sound from tiny speaker, such bold claim will be throughly tested when it arrives in consumer hands.
The front facing camera, which was a major complaint of of iMac past has been tremendously upgraded to 1080p FaceTime HD with M1 ISP (Image Signal Processor). So the gist of this capabilities is that through the M1 neural engine, the iMac performs around 1 trillion calculations a second to ensure that your video capture is the best quality possible.
The audio system has been upgraded as well. There are 6 speakers in the iMac now, each side has two force canceling woofers so the base response is good while giving a crisp sound. The reverb chamber goes from the top to the bottom of the iMac just like previous version but thinner. There’s 3 mics in the iMac which are studio quality which intelligently remove ambient noise and also does beam forming so it will capture your voice with clarity.
On the inside, there is slight difference between a low-tier iMac and the higher tier one. In the lower tier, there’s only one cooling fan instead of two for the logic board. Furthermore, there is only one heat pipe instead of two. Tests shows that the lower tier fans has some thermal throttle issues when put under heavy load, but otherwise they have identical performance.
The cheapest option starts at $1299. It comes in blue, green, pink or silver. You’ll get 7 out of 8 graphic cores activated. Your power brick does not have Gigabit ethernet. The keyboard does not have Touch ID. There’s only two Thunderbolt 4 port at the back.
At $1499 option, you’ll get the following: new colors orange, yellow and purple is unlocked. All 8 graphic cores is activated. There’s 4 USB-C ports instead of 2. The power brick has ethernet port. The keyboard has Touch ID. A higer tier option ($1699) gives you an upgraded storage.
All specs comes with 8GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. They can be upgrade during order only since everything is integrated. You can also order the iMac with build in VESA mount adapter at no extra charge. It is a different chassis so you need to make a decision on it.
The new iMac basically kick the old iMac to the curb in almost every metric. The only thing missing from the new iMac is the SD card slot and the ability to have more RAM. But with the optimization the M1 mac, it’s a minor moan.
The design language reflects the new direction Apple is taking in shaping up the new line of Macs. It is more consistent with the new iPad Pro and show what Apple is envision: Glass slabs with aluminum chassis that packs a big punch. With the way M1 is going, people are more excited when Apple start upgrading the higher end Macs.
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Specification: Old vs New
|Feature||iMac 2021||iMac 2019 (21.5")|
|CPU||M1||Core i3, i5 or i7|
|RAM (GB)||8 or 16||8, 16 or 32 (64 unofficially)|
|Storage (GB)||256 to 2048||256 to 1024|
|Internal Graphics||Apple M1||Radeon Pro 555x, 560x or Vega 20|
|Screen Size (inches)||24||21.5|
|Resolution (pixels)||4480 x 2520||4096 x 2304|
|Nano Texture Option?||No||No|
|Max Brightness (nits)||500||500|
|External Display Support|
|Max 4K Display||1||2|
|Max 5k Display||1||1|
|Max 6k Display||1||-|
|USB-C||2 or 4||2|
|Gigabit Ehthernet||0 or 1||1|
|10G Ehthernet option?||No||No|
|Wi-Fi||Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)||802.11ac|
|Dimensions and Weight|