We all kinda knew there was going to be a new iMac in 2021, the rumours have been around a while but it’s not exactly hard to expect given the last redesign was in 2012, but when Apple revealed a new iMac in seven different colours alongside five other announcement last month I was shocked, and keen to get hands on – so, ahead of it’s availability this Friday, here’s our iMac Review.
Given the virtual nature of these events of late, we’re not able to even get a sense for the colours with Hands On at the Steve Jobs Theatre at Apple Park, so unboxing the 2021 Apple iMac at the EFTM office was a genuine thrill.
With a week of usage under out belt, it was time for our all-new Apple iMac Review.
Outstanding, that’s the only way you can describe this. Apple has used all their knowledge of colouring materials to make something worth of being a centrepiece of your lounge, dining, family room, or your office.
It’s 11.4mm thick – all over. No bulge, no tricks. But critically it has a great look from every angle – what’s also fascinating is that each angle is actually vastly different too.
If you’re getting a lot of the back of the screen in your view it’s a bold striking and dark colour with a subtle Apple Logo in the alternate lighter shade.
From the side this is all about the sleek, impressively thin design.
While around the front it could be a different computer all-together. During our iMac Review the white bezel around the screen gives you a focus on the screen, while the lighter shade of colour under it intentionally doesn’t catch your eye or distract you.
If this doesn’t win all those fancy International Design awards then I’ll give the game away.
When the design team said we want it to be “this” thick, the engineers said “mate, pull the other one!” but then realised – they were serious.
With an 11.4 mm there will need to be some compromises. USB-A has to go, too long a plug. So does the Ethernet plug, the SD Card and any hope of the number of ports normally found on an iMac.
The good news is Ethernet was retained, now in the Power brick which itself being separate allows for a whole bunch of space saving.
Ethernet carries through the woven power cable alongside the power. That cable comes in a woven colour to match your choice of iMac – nice touch, and it’s also a version of MagSafe, with a solid snap into place when the orientation is right. It only goes one way, so it does take a quick second to find the placement.
That power cable though won’t get pulled by a clumsy child in the area – it’s actually got a bit of bite on it, as you can see in my video.
Anyway, back to the ports, no USB-A means you’re going to have to invest in a Dongle – hell yeah Apple is the king of the dongle demand.
Personally, I wish they found a way to incorporate an SD card slot into the side. People use these computers as their Family device, so dumping that digital camera SD card is important. Yet another time you need the dongle. They did however retain the 3.5mm headphone jack – that’s on the side.
Only a matter of hours into our iMac Review we were reaching for a Dongle for all of the above.
Though, you are getting 4 USB-C connectors, two of which are Thunderbolt for external storage, displays or otherwise.
Video & Audio
Apple has pulled out nearly all the stops here, making this a perfect work from home computer among many other things.
Finally, a full HD 1080p font facing “FaceTime” camera. Enough said, that’s long overdue frankly. In our basic testing for this iMac Review, I think it was a clear difference in quality, noticeable to the other participants in any video chat.
Additionally, there’s a three microphone array to ensure feedback is reduced, as is background noise.
And a six speaker sound system mean you can really pump up the volume and enjoy.
I enjoyed some solid music time straight from the iMac speakers.
Power & Performance
Goodbye Intel – hello Apple Silicon. With the M1 processor on board there’s no additional RAM you can add, all the performance and brains are packed into one smart chip.
Instead of running benchmark tests, trying to compare this to something else on the market, for my iMac Review I simply asked myself – is this noticeably better? Bloody oath it was.
Now so many software companies are updating to Universal apps to suit Apple Silicon, it’s very hard to challenge this machine.
Launching things like Safari or mail are instantaneous, third party browser Chrome, boom. Photoshop is converted, as is Lightroom – but my own favourite Premiere is still to come across. That said, I don’t see this as my video editing machine. More likely this device lives as the Family computer, or your reception desk or other workers on office suite products.
However, it is certainly capable. Run Final Cut Pro instead and you’re breezing through a 4K edit.
No-one can question the performance and capabilities of the M1 processor – the only negative is the need to really get the full app ecosystem on board.
Personally though, I see nothing stopping me recommending this for a family computer over anything rocking even Intel’s best Core i7 Chip.
iMac Review: Family Sharing
Talk about burying the lede! There’s one thing that makes this the ultimate family computer.
TouchID. Get the iMac with TouchID keyboard folks! (the entry level $1,899 version doesn’t have TouchID) – once you setup user accounts, each user can add their fingerprint.
Walk over to the computer, if someone else is logged in, press the TouchID button and it will instantly switch to your user profile – based on the fingerprint used.
I don’t think we’ve still mastered exactly how it works, it’s a press of the power button with TouchID not a resting of the finger on the TouchID. It was a bit temperamental, but only when I was trying to switch from account to account without any real break.
This is just awesome, especially for young kids, who are going up in a world of FaceID and Fingerprint anyway! Which does beg the question – why no FaceID? Windows has Windows Hello – I really think Apple have missed a trick there.
Because it’s Apple, you can make it part of your Screen Time ecosystem so kids device time is properly counted.
Coloured iMac Accessories
The keyboard and mouse both come in matching colours to suit your choice from the Seven available iMac colours for 2021. It’s again subtle, it’s the lighter of the colours, but again – Genius from the design team.
Coloured Trackpad has a non-gloss surface and does really work sitting there with the iMac, sadly, for some inexplicable reason Apple have kept the lighting port for charging the mouse on the bottom of the mouse. That’s the complete opposite of Genius.
2021 iMac Pricing in Australia
The new iMac goes on sale this Friday in Australia, sadly online orders look already to be out to June or later.
$1,899 buys you an iMac with an 8 Core CPU, 7 Core GPU, 256GB storage and 8GB Ram on the M1. That entry device also only has two USB-C ports which are Thunderbolt enabled, and its keyboard is not TouchID – there’s also no Ethernet on this device.
To get Touch ID you need to spend $2,199 and you’ll also get Gigabit Ethernet, another Two USB-C connectors and an extra GPU core.
A touch more cash at $2,499 gets you 512GB of storage.
These will sell like hotcakes, they are a demonstration of your success, the show-off in you wants to have this just so your mates ask about it.
Question is – which colour?