One of the biggest highlight of Apple’s “Spring Loaded” event is its brand new iMac 2021 series. Available in 7 striking colours, the new iMac pays homage to the first generation iMac that was introduced by Steve Jobs in 1998. If you’re wondering what’s new and how is it different from the previous 21.5″ iMac, here are 10 things you need to know.
Apple M1 chip
The latest iMac runs on Apple’s very own M1 chip which offers greater performance and power efficiency than its previous Intel-based iMacs. The Cupertino company claims that the new chip provides up to 85% faster CPU performance and up to 2x faster graphics compared to the previous standard 21.5″ iMac models.
The logic board gets two cooling fans which is said to produce less than 10db of noise during typical use. Similar to the new MacBook Air and MacBook Pro 13, the new iMac can be configured with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage.
Take note that Apple has two variants of the M1. The base model gets an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU while the higher-spec options get an 8-core CPU and 8-core GPU.
7 colour options available
Without a doubt, the new iMac is the most vibrant looking all-in-one computer at the moment. There are a total of 7 colours available – Green, Yellow, Orange, Pink, Purple, Blue and Silver.
However, take note that the colour options are dependent on the models you pick. On the lower spec iMac that comes with just two USB-C ports, it comes only in Blue, Green, Pink and Silver. The higher-spec version with four USB-C ports get all 7 colours. To complement the colour scheme, you also get a power cord, magic mouse, USB-C to lightning cable and Magic Keyboard in matching colour.
24″ 4.5K Retina Display
The new iMac comes with a larger 24″ 4.5K Retina Display that pushes 4480×2520 pixels resolution. Similar to its 4K 21.5″ predecessor, it offers 500 nits of brightness and P3 wide-colour gamut but the new 24″ iMac does come with True Tone technology.
Over at the front, Apple has decided to go for a two-tone approach where the bezels around the screen is white while the bottom portion matches the body colour. This is quite an odd choice considering the iPad Air and iPad Pro models now come with all black bezels across all colour options.
Personally, I would prefer black bezels as they tend to hide the black gaps around the edges of the screen better. My guess is that Apple is trying to follow the original 1998 iMac’s two-tone approach as close as possible.
Incredibly thin at 11.5mm
The new iMac is only 11.5mm thin and this is made possible with the Apple M1 chip. With an ARM-based SoC solution, Apple is able to shrink the logic board as the CPU, GPU and other components is now fitted in a single chip.
Due to the thermal efficiency of the M1 chip, they are able to replace the bulky cooling system with just two small fans. The overall volume has been reduced by over 50% compared to its previous model. The end result is the thinnest iMac yet since its debut in 1998.
Magic Keyboard with Touch ID
The new iMac now comes with a brand new Magic Keyboard which comes with rounded edges. The biggest highlight is Touch ID which offers instant access to unlock your Mac and to authenticate payments online. However, do note that the Magic Keyboard with Touch ID is only offered on the higher-spec models.
The base iMac also gets a Magic Keyboard but the Touch ID button is replaced with a physical Lock key. The standard bundle comes with a Magic Mouse. Alternatively, you can also get the Magic TrackPad 2 with matching colours which is sold separately.
1080p FaceTime HD camera
Another major update is its 1080p FaceTime HD camera which offers higher quality video calls. Although Apple has already included a 1080p FaceTime HD camera on its larger 27″ 5K iMac, the new iMac promises to offer improved video thanks to its image signal processor on the M1. Using AI, the new FaceTime camera claims to offer better noise reduction, enhanced dynamic range and better white balance adjustments.
Six-speaker system with Spatial Audio
To provide a better audio experience, the new iMac now features a 6-speaker setup that offers spatial audio with Dolby Atmos. This consists of two pairs of force-cancelling woofers and a pair of high-performance tweeters.
Despite having an ultra-thin profile, the iMac 2021 still comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack on the left side. So no messing around with dongles if you need to plug in your wired headphones.
No more SD card slot
If you need to transfer photos from your camera, unfortunately, the new iMac no longer comes with an SDXC card reader at the back. This means you’ll have to transfer via USB or get yourself a separate card reader.
In terms of ports, the iMac comes with two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt/USB 4 standard. However, only the higher-spec model gets additional two USB-C ports with USB 3 standard. All iMac 2021 models support 802.11ax WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.
Power cable with magnetic connector
For a cleaner look, the iMac now comes with a 2-metre power card that attaches to the back of the iMac via magnets. If you need to plug-in a LAN cable, you can plug it in via the 143W power adapter that comes with a Ethernet port.
This approach is pretty clever and it can help to reduce clutter on your desk. It is also worth pointing out that Apple is also included a USB-C to Lightning cable which is used to charge your Magic Keyboard, Mouse and other Apple devices.
Malaysian pricing and availability
At the moment, the iMac 2021 is still not available in Malaysia and pre-orders will be offered in first wave countries such as US, Singapore and Australia from the 30th of April 2021. Apple Malaysia has already revealed its pricing and the base model with the 7-core GPU, 2x USB-C ports, 8GB RAM and 256GB storage is going for RM5,599. The higher-spec model with the 8-core GPU, 4x USB-C ports is priced from RM6,449 with the same RAM and storage configuration. Once pre-orders are available, you will be able to customise your iMac with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 2TB of storage.