The first M1 iMacs are here and they are available in a variety of colours: perhaps a not-so-subtle callback to the original iMac and a subtle shoutout that Apple regards these as the most revolutionary iMacs in years.
And they’re probably right. Coupled with Mac OS Big Sur, Apple’s M1 SoC is ground zero for its next generation. So far, it has proven to be the real deal, offering good performance sans heat on the Mac Mini, Macbook Air and Macbook Pros. The efficient nature of its new processors is probably why the new iMac looks like a huge iPad with a stand and measures only 11.5mm thin. Apple says it’s up 85 per cent faster than the last generation of 21.5" iMacs.
The SoC is small enough that it sits entirely in the area just below the 24" (23.5" actual) display, flanked by two small fans. Apple says that they are quiet enough to stay below 10 decibels.
Filling the space beside the ensemble are the speakers and Apple has squeezed in six - two pairs of subwoofers to complement a pair of tweeters. The display feels like a downgrade, dropping from5K to 4.5K pixels, but everything else has been bumped up to spec (e.g. p3 colour space). The iMac seems like it’s been optimised for media consumption as it also supports spatial audio from Dolby Atmos content.
The camera gets a significant upgrade: 1080p resolution and a larger sensor, along with a dedicated ISP to reduce noise and improve colours. It’s paired with a trio of beamforming microphones to improve vocal clarity.
The new iMacs gets seven colours and they come with matched hues for for the keyboard and mouse (as well as optional trackpads). On the 8-core GPU models, the keyboard gets a Touch ID power button (and emoji key), though you can also opt for an upgrade for the 7-core GPU model. The power connector is now ‘magsafed’ and attaches magnetically. However, due in part to the slimness of the iMac, you have a power brick to deal with now - albeit - a small one.
The only downside is that the iMac will be a lot more expensive because stock storage options start at 256GB (7-core GPU, $1,849). The 8-core GPU versions are priced at $2,149 for 256GB of storage and $2,499 for 512GB, and they are configurable up to 2TB. The 7-core GPU base model is limited to two Thunderbolt ports and no ethernet (this is configurable though). The 8-core GPU versions will have Ethernet by default, along with two USB 3 ports. Apple will also have an option with a built-in VESA mount adapter for the same price, so you can declutter your desk space even further.
iMac Preorders start 30 April and they are expected to ship in the second half of May.