Let’s start with what we can see, shall we? Not since the iMac G3 of the late 1990s has Apple used such vibrant colours on any Mac, and they look beautiful. The product photography makes the green one look like the original “Bondi Blue” iMac. If I were buying one of these iMacs, that’s the one I’d have. I wish the MacBook Air came in these same colour choices.
The new model has a slimmed-down bezel in white, which is an odd choice. I am curious about what that will look like in person, though I have not been a fan of any of the devices I have used with white bezels. There isn’t a logo anywhere on the front, but it still has a chin because that’s where the computer is.
That chin features a pastel version of the iMac’s colour that is matched in the stand; around the sides and back, it is a richer and more vibrant hue. Don’t worry — there is still a silver model available if you are boring.
I am so happy to see colourful computers again — can you tell?
It is around the back of this iMac where things take a bit of a dive. For a start, it has just two USB 4/Thunderbolt ports; on the higher-end models, there are an extra two USB 3 ports. But that and a headphone jack is all the I/O that you get. That means no USB-A ports, of course, but also not SD card reader, which I use every few days on my own iMac. At least all currently-sold iPhones ship with Lightning cables that have a USB-C connector.
This iMac also has a curious new port around back for power and connectivity. It supports WiFi, of course, but if you want to use a wired connection, the higher-end models include a power brick with a gigabit ethernet port. That means the power supply is no longer built in, which creates some floor clutter, and — most curiously — this connects to the iMac via a single braided cable that attaches magnetically. So all current Apple notebooks have cables that are firmly seated and can cause the computer to go flying if they are tripped over, but one desktop model has a magnetic cable.
Apple is pitching this 24-inch iMac as a replacement for the 21.5-inch model; it has discontinued all but the lowest-end 21.5-inch Intel models, but it has retained the 27-inch models for now. This sets up the possibility for a greater differentiation between Apple’s more consumer-oriented products — the MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, Mac Mini, and this iMac — and its higher-end products. This iMac uses ostensibly the same chip as its other own-silicon Mac models — and the new iPad Pro — and is limited to the same storage and memory options. The M1 products that have been released so far have proved to be extraordinarily powerful, but there are plenty of use cases that would benefit from more RAM and more power. That is what we can expect from the big iMac, and the 15-inch and higher-end 13-inch MacBook Pro models.