THE NEW IMAC 24”: A NEW ERA FOR DESKTOP COMPUTING BEGINS
A NEW ERA FOR DESKTOP COMPUTING BEGINS
It was perhaps one of Apple’s most anticipated product refreshes of all time, and at its Spring Loaded event, the Cupertino company did not disappoint. Apple’s iconic all-in-one desktop computer has been overhauled from the ground up, sparking a new era for the Mac.
AN ALL-NEW DESIGN
At last year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple confirmed plans to transition away from third-party computer chips towards its own custom-designed silicon. Fast-forward six months, and the first M1 Macs were born, with the Mac mini, Macbook, and Macbook Pro given new leases of life with record-breaking internals, taking the Mac into a new direction. Speaking of the M1 chip ahead of its launch, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook said that “Apple silicon will make the Mac stronger and more capable than ever. I’ve never been more excited about the future of the Mac,” promising to overhaul the entire product portfolio within 2 years.
Where the first batch of M1 Macs focused exclusively on internals, the new imac offers a more comprehensive refresh, enabled by the system-on-chip architecture and amazing power efficiency of M1. Compared to the previous generation imac, the logic board and thermals are dramatically consolidated and reduced in size, which aids in the stunning new design of the computer, which effectively allows the side profile of the imac to “disappear”. According to Apple, the new compact design, brought about by huge innovations internally, have helped to reduce the size of the imac by half, and thanks to seven striking color options - green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver - Apple
harks back to a bygone era of the original
Mac range, available in plastic colors that represented change and excitement.
Apple says that the new imac sports softer colors and thinner borders to allow users to focus on their content, and for safety and to simplify the design of the imac, Magsafe has been introduced, with a power connector that attaches magnetically and a beautifully woven 2-meter-long color-matched cable. For the first time, the Magic Mouse, Magic Trackpad, and Magic Keyboard have been given new color options, now sold in complimenting colors for corresponding imacs.
AN EYE-WATERING DISPLAY
Keen to follow on from its award-winning Pro Display XDR, Apple wanted to offer the very best screen quality it could on its entry-level imac, and this year is no exception. The new imac features an expansive 24-inch 4.5K Retina display with narrower borders and 11.3 million pixels, as well as a P3 wide color gamut and over a billion colors, with 500 nits of brightness, ensuring text pops and images are brighter and more vivid. True Tone tech has been introduced to the imac, too, automatically adjusting the color temperature as the environment changes for a more natural viewing experience, whilst the new imac also sports an industry-leading anti-reflective coating for greater comfort and readability. It’s true that the new imac display may not be quite as powerful as Apple’s standalone $5,000 display, but it now shares many of the same elements and stunning design language.
UNLOCKING THE POWER OF APPLE SILICON
The new imac really comes into its own in regards to the new M1 chip and the performance of macos Big Sur, allowing the PC to wake from sleep immediately, offer superfast performance for everyday computing tasks, and run hundreds of tabs at once. Apple really sets itself apart from the competition when it comes to the combination of software and hardware, and now with the introduction of its own custom silicon chip, that experience is even more refined, offering super-fast speeds and everyday reliability, ideal for business.
The new imac M1 chip features a powerful 8-core CPU, the fastest CPU core in low-power silicon, as well as an 8-core GPU, which delivers the fastest integrated graphics in a personal computer. Combined with high efficiency, unified memory architecture, and the 16-core Apple Neural Engine, the new imac delivers powerful performance when it’s compared to the previous 21.5-inch imac. And though Apple’s own data should always be taken with a pinch of salt, we’ve seen with other M1-powered
Macs, the company can indeed deliver on its cutting-edge speed promises. For example, the new imac offers up to 85 percent faster CPU performance, two times faster CPU performance in certain applications such as Photoshop, and the ability to edit five streams of 4K footage without dropping a frame. Apple also says the new imac offers three-times faster machine learning in apps that leverage the 16-core Neural Engine in M1, and as more developers optimize their applications for M1, those figures could become more impressive.
GIVING THE ADD-ONS SOME LOVE
For the first time, Apple has introduced a 1080p Facetime HD camera into the imac, offering higher-quality video and great performance in low light. In today’s remote working era, where consumers are spending more time in their home offices than ever before on Zoom meetings and Skype catch-up calls, the new imac becomes an even more important tool in any professional’s arsenal. Thanks to an image signal processor in the M1 chip and the Neural Engine, Apple is able to further enhance the camera image quality, reducing noise and offering greater dynamic range and improved auto exposure and white balance over previous models, hopefully solving an all-too-common complaint from imac users.
Alongside a new camera, the new imac comes with a studio-quality three-microphone array for clearer calls and voice recordings, the best ever in a Mac. According to Apple, the new microphones have been strategically positioned to reduce feedback from the rest of the system, and directional beamforming allows them to better ignore the background noise and focus on a user’s voice. As well as new microphones, the new imac sports the “best sound system ever in a Mac,” with two pairs of force-canceling woofers placed side by side for impressive bass response, as well as reducing unintended vibrations. When combined, it offers users a sixspeaker sound system that produces a massive sound stage with strong, articulate bass and crystal-clear mids and highs - ideal for studios. For the first time, users can choose from three models of Magic Keyboard with gorgeous
aluminum enclosures that are color-matched to imac, and Touch ID comes to the imac thanks to a new fingerprint reader on the Eject button. It’s the first time Apple has added a wireless Touch ID option to a device, and it communicates directly with Secure Enclave in M1, creating an encrypted channel to protect users’ fingerprint data from end to end. Not only does it allow users to unlock their imacs, but it also enables Apple Pay and Fast User Switching, offering a whole host of possibilities for businesses and retail in years to come.
PUTTING CONNECTIVITY FIRST
In recent years, Apple has been criticized by professional users for its lack of support for third-party accessories. Indeed, some of the latest Macbooks came with just a couple of
USB-C ports on one side of the device, forcing users to purchase expensive dongles just so they could connect accessories such as cameras, printers, and external hard drives. It has taken time, but Apple has finally begun to listen to its professional community and has plans to make amends with its next-generation Macs. The imac comes first, and each new model comes with two Thunderbolt ports for superfast data transfers, giving customers high-performance options to connect to more devices, including support for up to a 6K display, like Apple Pro Display XDR, and Wi-fi 6 delivers faster wireless performance.
The new 8-core imac configuration also introduces two additional USB-C ports and also features a 1Gbps Ethernet port in the power adapter, allowing for a less cluttered
desktop. Though there’ll still be some level of compromise, it’s a great leap forward and ensures that professional users can connect important elements to their new imac, without having to worry about adapters and cables as they once did. The 27-inch successor should offer even more ports and connectivity options to create a high-end all-in-one for professional users.
Apple is increasingly considering the environment when releasing new products, and the new imac is especially environmentally friendly. During its keynote presentation, the firm reiterated that it is now a carbon neutral company for global corporate operations, and vowed that by 2030, it will have net-zero climate impact across the entire business, including its manufacturing supply chains and all product life cycles. Indeed, from the time materials are collected for new devices, through to the manufacturing of components, then assembly, transport, customer use, charging, and back through recycling and material recovery down the line, the company says it will be carbon neutral in the next decade.
The truth is that upgrading your computer still contributes to global warming, but Apple is committed to reducing the impact. Indeed, the new imac was built using a low-carbon aluminum enclosure and 100 percent recycled tin in the solder of its main logic board, and 100% wood fiber from the packaging is recycled, whilst the magnets in the speakers, fan motor, and power connector are made with
100 percent recycled rare earth elements. As has been the case for a number of years, the new imac is free of harmful substances, too. Users can begin pre-ordering the new imac from April 30, with the first deliveries beginning mid-may. The basic 7-core imac starts at $1,299 in the United States, with a $50 discount for students, and comes in green, pink, blue, and silver. The 8-core GPU imac starts at $1,499 in the United States and is available in a wider color
pallet - green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver - coming with an 8-core CPU, 8GB of unified memory, 256GB SSD, two Thunderbolt ports, two additional USB 3 ports, Magic Keyboard with Touch ID, Magic Mouse, and Ethernet. The first imac review models will ship to influencers shortly.
Although the new imac has faced some initial criticism over its design, few can argue that its latest iteration marks a significant leap forward for the all-in-one computer. In the years ahead, as Apple further refines the imac, and introduces a successor to the 27-inch model, we’ll no doubt see even greater innovations that push personal computing even further.