Apple’s new iMac is awesome: a technical marvel and a culmination of Apple’s stunning engineering achievements over the past several years. It’s also ugly as sin.
When Apple overdesigns its products, it’s typically for form over function. You know the list: getting rid of the headphone jack to make the iPhone thinner, ditching USB-A ports on MacBooks, switching the hinges on its keyboards…. They’re innovations that make Apple’s products look cool, but don’t make their products work any better.
Strangely, Apple has chosen function over form with its new iMacs.
They’ll work great: The 8-core M1 chip on a desktop computer is going to be ohmygod fast — about twice as fast as the last iMac, Apple claims. The HD webcam, studio-grade microphones and surround-sound speakers are perfect for the Zoom era. Touch ID on the keyboard is a nice … touch. The better-than-4K display is going to be *chef’s kiss.*
The only problem is you have to look at your new iMac when you’re using it.
Ugh, those colors. It comes in Easter egg blue, green, yellow, pink, orange, purple and (thankfully) silver. If the colors weren’t bold enough, Apple added sorta faded complementary colors to the stand, which is an … interesting design choice.
Even if you’re a pastel fan (or you wisely choose silver), you won’t be saved from the bizarre look of the new iMac. That weird chin that’s been a feature of the iMac since 2004 is still there, giving the new iMac a decidedly last-generation look. And the new version ditched the Apple logo, making that odd rectangle at the bottom of your screen look even stranger.
It’s the kind of unforced error that Apple rarely makes. The M1 chip gave Apple a chance to completely rethink its iMac design. Instead, it chose to stick to the familiar shape, put the computer’s guts below the screen and make the iMac thinner. That comes with some advantages (more on that in a second), but the result is an aesthetic head-scratcher.
The worst feature of the new iMac is the bezel — the white frame around the display. The chin makes the bezel really stand out. It was hardly noticeable in the past iMac iterations, because it was black. The white…