New 2021 M1 iMac: Is it More Than Just an M1 MacBook Air with a Bigger Screen? 

Logan Davis, Staff Reporter

At Apple’s Spring-Loaded event on April 20th, 2021, a lot of new things were announced! Changes to Apple Card, a new Apple TV, a new iPad Pro model. The biggest thing they announced was the new 2021 iMac.  

To start, the new 2021 iMac features an all-new design that while remains somewhat similar to the last generation, still feels fresh and new. Adding to that new design, was the option to customize your iMac with 7 different colors. Those colors being: Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple, Blue, and Silver. Those colors are references to the original “rainbow” Apple Logo from the 80s.  

Speaking more about the design, the new iMac is now the thinnest it has ever been coming in at 11.5 millimeters in thickness. In fact, that’s so thin that Apple could not put the 3.5mm headphone jack on the back like how they could’ve on the previous generation. This forced them to have to put the headphone jack on the left side of the computer. But hey, at least they kept it unlike the decision they made with the iPhone 7. Amazingly they did all of this and were able to keep the machine under 10 pounds! 

Shifting into a more technical discussion about the machine, let us talk about the specs. This is Apple’s first iMac to feature their custom M1 processor that previous article of mine talked about. Estimations on the performance of this iMac put it at around the same level of performance compared to the 13” MacBook Pro thanks to the fact that the iMac features active cooling fans in the “chin” of the computer.  

In terms of ports and connectivity, the iMac features only 2 Thunderbolt ports on the base model, and features the same 2 Thunderbolt ports, with 2 USB-3 Type-C ports on the upgraded model. There will be 2 SKU’s of the 2021 iMac. The “base-model” and the “upgraded-model” The base-model will feature the same M1 CPU as the upgraded-model, but the only difference between the CPUs being that the upgraded-model contains 1 more GPU core. Unless you are doing a bunch of graphic-intensive work, you should not worry. The base-model starts with 256GB of storage which comes standard, but can be upgraded to either 512GB or 1TB max. The upgraded model is the same but allows for the option to upgrade to a maximum of 2TB. Both machines start with 8GB of RAM standard but can be upgraded to 16GB.  

The new iMac also features a 24-inch 4.5K display compared to the 21.5-inch display from the previous generation. The new display sports a brightness of 500 nits, and features Apple’s True Tone display technologies which intelligently matches the warmth of the light in the space you are working in so that the display does not hurt your eyes. 

Moving on to miscellaneous upgrades and changes to the machine, the new iMac had undergone a change to its power supply. The new iMac’s power supply is now outside of the machine and looks similar to a MacBook charger The previously mentioned upgraded-model’s power supply is slightly different to the base-model’s with the addition of a gigabit ethernet jack on the power supply brick. However, you can choose to have the upgraded power brick on the base-model if you need a hard-wired internet connection. 

Not only did the computer itself get a paintjob, but so did the peripherals that you can use with it! When you select a color, the included Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse will match the color scheme of the iMac. The Magic Trackpad also got this color upgrade too, but sadly does not come with either model of the iMac by default unless you select for it to. However, Apple upgraded the Magic Keyboard as well! The new Magic Keyboard now has a Touch ID sensor similar to the iPhones before the iPhone X. The upgraded-model ships with the upgraded keyboard as standard, but the base-model can be configured to come with it if desired. 

In the age of video conferences and online schooling, Apple also made the decision to upgrade the built-in webcam and microphones. The Microphones are far better than the previous generation with the inclusion of a unique microphone array that beam-forms to you, so background noise does not get picked up as easily. Apple also upgraded the Webcam to 1080p compared to the previous generation’s 720p camera. It also takes advantage of the same technologies that the iPhone uses when taking video to make sure you look your best on camera. 

You now may be thinking that all these features are great and all, but you also must asking yourself how much it all costs. Well, the base-model starts out at $1299, and the upgraded-model starts at $1499. The new 2021 iMac will be ready to be ordered at April 30th and is expected to ship out during the 2nd half of May.