Apple’s transition away from Intel processors takes another major step with the release of the new 2021 iMacs, which as expected runs on Apple’s own M1 silicon. While the M1 dropped jaws and garnered gushy critical acclaim when it debuted in portable devices like the MacBooks last December and the iPad last month, but for it to be used in a proper desktop does raise some questions.
But first, let’s talk about the design, because there’s a lot that’s new. The 2021 iMac is the first major design overhaul in over a decade for the iconic computer line. It’s still an all-in-one device, but it’s significantly thinner and lighter than before, with a new pastel colored paint job (and matching colored accessories) to boot.
The 24-inch screen is bright and vibrant, and the bezels around it are thinner than before (though still thick compared to machines by other companies). The headphone jack has thankfully been moved to the side of the screen instead of behind—but the other USB-C ports and power cable still sit in the back. The latter, in particular, is cleverly designed with a magnetic attachment, so if a kid or a dog were to run behind the iMac and yank on the power cord, the machine is less likely to topple over than another machine.
Ultimately, what makes the iMac design stand out is just how thin it is—11.5mm, and this is not just a measurement of the thinest part of a curve machine. The entire iMac has a flat back, so it’s 11.5mm everywhere. And keep in mind this screen also houses all the computing bits. It’s also surprisingly lightweight at under 10 pounds. But then again this is a desk-bound computer that needs to be plugged in to a socket, so its compact sleek build is mostly for aesthetics.
The above-base iMac model (starts at $1,499) I tested comes with four USB-C ports, with two being Thunderbolt ports and a keyboard with a fingerprint scanner in the upper right corner for Touch ID login. The base variant ($1,299) offers just two USB-C Thunderbolt ports and a keyboard without the fingerprint…