Redesigned iMac: Everything you need to know about the 24-inch M1 iMac

Apple has just announced the 24-inch iMac with M1 chip. Here’s everything you need to know about redesigned new iMac.

The cats iMacs are out of the bag! At Apple’s 4/20 event called Spring Loaded, Apple has announced the redesigned iMac in 7 brand new colors. The iMac now equips the M1 processor, a 24-inch 4.5K Retina Display, and a number of other upgrades that all add up to a great successor of the Apple’s desktop-class computers Does it hit all the checkboxes, though? Here’s everything you need to know about the much-awaited 2021 redesigned iMacs.

Design: Thinnest iMac Ever

The iMac is impossibly thin for an all-in-one desktop computer. It’s only 11.5mm throughout. It’s shaped like an iPad, so it doesn’t gradually become thicker in the middle like the last generation of iMacs.

In fact, MKBHD points out that the new iMac is so thin that if you were to plug in a 3.5mm headphone jack from the back, it would come out of its shell from the front.

Redesigned iMac 2021
If you thought this was an iPad on a stylized stand for a moment, you aren’t alone.

To maintain this thinness (or maybe for other engineering reasons I don’t know of), Apple has put pretty much the entire computer at the bottom of the display, the infamous “chin” as it’s known. Yes, while all of us were hoping for a Pro Display XDR-like all-screen display for the 2021 iMac redesign, we were disappointed to see that the chin is still here.

Because the iMac now has an M1 chip, the logic board and the fans are so small that they take up only that much space at the bottom of the display. The chin also houses a six-speaker Dolby Atmos sound system. But we’ll get to that later.

The 24-inch iMac also weights just up to 9.88 pounds or 4.48 kg. I still remember how heavy my 2017 iMac was when I was unboxing it myself. This is a crazy amount of weight loss!

A 24-inch 4.5K Retina Display with True Tone

The 2021 redesigned iMac replaces the 21.5-inch iMac. Apple has increased the display size and resolution from 21.5-inch 4K to 24-inch 4.5K. The actual diagonal screen size is 23.5-inch, though.

Apple also says that the 24-inch iMac display has True Tone, which adjusts the color temperature based on the ambient light (the color of the room light around you). It’s been on iPhone, iPad, Mac laptops for many years now. It made the jump to iMacs last year, so this isn’t the first iMac to get the True Tone display. But it’s a welcome addition nevertheless.

Other tidbits of the new display are:

  • 500-nit brightness
  • P3 wide color gamut
  • Anti-reflective coating

iMac now packs an even better 1080p Webcam with ISP technology

Who knows how much backlash Apple would have received if the iMac hadn’t packed a significantly better webcam in the era where Zooming with friends and colleagues has become a daily routine. Apple had already updated the iMac’s camera to 1080p last year, but this year makes it significantly better because of how it works with the M1 chip.

Apple calls it Image Signal Processor (ISP). Here’s a brief of how Apple describes ISP on its website.

iMac Image Signal Processor explained. How the webcam works.

If you’ve seen the webcam reviews from the M1-equipped MacBook Air and Pros from last year, you already know how much better those cameras are. If there’s any truth to “image resolution isn’t everything” (it isn’t), Apple proves it far better than anyone else.

I remember when I joined my first Zoom call with my colleagues from my M1 MacBook Pro. Some of them actually thought I had a DSLR. It was that good. Of course, I did actually hang out on Zoom with a Canon EOS R (mirrorless camera) last year. That’s what led some of them to think I was back to using that camera.

But the fact that they mistook the webcam from a MacBook Pro for a DSLR speaks the truth of how good M1’s Image Signal Processor is (M1 MacBook Air and Pro already has ISP).

Six-Speaker Dolby Atmos Sound System

It sounds like playing music or watching movies on the redesigned iMac will be quite an experience! Remember that “small” chin at the bottom of the iMac (of course you do, nobody can forget it!)? Apple houses a six-speaker Dolby Atmos sound system with force-cancelling woofers there.

Apple says when you’re on a call, other participants won’t be able to hear anything from the background when you’re speaking.

That’s because of the studio-quality microphones. There are three of them. With “directional beamforming”, it can pick up when you’re speaking and isolate/silence everything else.

iMacs now have 7 new colors with color-matching accessories

Gone are the days where all iMacs in the whole world looked the same. Apple has lightened the mood with a selection of 7 different colors for the iMac.

The base model of the 24-inch iMac comes in the following colors:

  • Blue
  • Green
  • Pink
  • Silver

If you upgrade to the higher model that comes with two extra USB 3 ports in the back (yes, still in the back) and a gigabit ethernet port, you can choose from the following additional color options:

  • Yellow
  • Orange
  • Purple

You will notice that except for the silver color, the iMac’s new colors have a two-tone look. All colors have a darker shade across the sides and the back of the display, and a lighter shade at the front, stand, and on the color-matching accessories. Take a look at the blue iMac, for example.

iMac two-tone color.
Do you think the darker, more prominent color, should have been at the front too?

Apple will also ship color-matching mouse, trackpad, or brand new Magic Keyboard that now comes with Touch ID for the first time ever.

Color-matching accessories is a nice touch!

The cable is also color-matched. It connects magnetically to the back of the iMac on one end, and to the power brick on the other end.

The power brick also houses an ethernet port. So your ethernet cable doesn’t have to go all the way to the back of your iMac. However, the ethernet port on the power brick is not available on the base model iMac.

M1 Inside

The highly-praised M1 chip has made its way to the iMacs. There’s not really a lot that needs to be said about the M1 chips at this point. If you’re even remotely interested in the M1 chip, you probably already read and watched the reviews.

Apple first debuted its first generation of chips for Mac computers replacing Intel processors. The three Macs — MacBook Air, base model MacBook Pro, and Mac Mini — were the first receive Apple M1 chip.

Like many people, I was skeptical at first. It wasn’t like any other product redesigns, it was a major change in what powered everything that a Mac was. As Tim Cook said in yesterday’s Spring Loaded event, “It’s not an upgrade; it’s a breakthrough.”

I wholeheartedly agree with it. My major doubts about the M1 were about software compatibility. However, the developers around the world have surprised us. So many applications now natively work on M1 chips that! And even the ones that aren’t rewritten to work natively on Apple chip, they still run just as great — if not better! — on an M1 Mac.

See how apps written for an Intel-based Macs work without an Intel processor inside.

Apple has talked about how it makes the iMac blazing fast. I’m skipping over those for now, but I think it’s a safe bet that it’s going to be miles better than any other previous iMac.

New iMac Pricing

iMac pricing remains pretty competitive. Apple announced that the base model 24-inch iMac will go for $1299. It will have only two Thunderbolt 3 ports in the back, and will not have a Gigabit Ethernet port. It also won’t be available in Yellow, Orange, or Purple, if you’re into that sort of color.

The base model iMac will also have 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of unified RAM. 8 GB RAM may seem too low, but I’m using an M1 MacBook Pro with 8 GB of RAM for a few months now, and I’m blown away by its capabilities. So 8 GB is, for the vast majority of users out there, plenty of RAM due to how it works on M1.

The M1 equipped in the base model iMac is an 8-core CPU and 7-core GPU with 16-core Neural Engine.

You can order the new iMac in the US starting April 30th. Apple will start shipping these in the second half of May.

FAQ about the M1 iMac

What’s the spec of iMac 2021?

The redesigned iMac Apple just announced has a 24-inch 4.5K Retina Display. It replaces the 21.5-inch 4K iMac. The new iMacs have a 1080p webcam and a six-speaker sound system that supports Dolby Atmos. Entry-level iMacs will come in 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM.

How many colors the new iMac is available in?

The new 24-inch iMac will be available in seven colors: Blue, Green, Pink, and Silver are available on all variants of the new iMac. Yellow, Orange, and Purple are available in only upgraded models.

Does the iMac have a better camera?

Yes! Thanks to M1’s Image Signal Processor, the video quality from the iMac will be far better than any other webcam iMacs have had over the past few years.

Does the iMac come with a stand?

The new iMac, unlike the Pro Display XDR, does come with a built-in stand. However, you can opt for a VESA Mount Adapter instead. You will have to decide which version you want before you place your order. You can’t remove the stand from the iMac that ships with one.

Is the iMac VESA-compatible?

The standard iMac will come with a non-removable stand. The iMacs have never been VESA-compatible unless I’m mistaken. The good news is, if you want to mount the iMac somewhere, now you can order the iMac without a stand.

You can click here to order the 24-inch iMac with a built-in VESA mount adapter.

When does the new iMac release?

Apple says the new iMac will hit the market in the second half of May 2021.

When can I buy the new iMac?

You can order the new iMac in the United States starting April 30, 2021.

What do you think of the new iMac?

I’m not a fan of the new design mostly because of the chin that’s still very noticeable on the front. Also, as MKBHD points out in his reaction video, the beautiful colors only look good from the Mac. From the front, it has a nasty white bezel (regardless of the color), and a lighter tone of the color variant that you go for.

The white bezel is unmistakable.

I do like that the accessories are now color-matched. The magnetic charging cable is great. The Ethernet port in the power brick is genius! And people have been asking for the Touch ID on the Magic Keyboard for a long time, so that’s great to see it become a reality.

But overall, as impressed as I am by the thinness of the design, I’m not sold yet. I was hoping to see an iMac that would look similar to the Pro Display XDR. There are rumors (already) that a true replacement of the 27-inch iMac might be announced at Apple’s WWDC this year. So I personally have decided to hold off until I see what Apple announces as a successor to the 27-inch iMac.

If the 27-inch iMac replacement still keeps the chin, I will be really disappointed. But let’s see.

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