iMac (M1,2021): The new iMac is bold and modern in design, with multiple colors. It reminds us of why the original revolutionized desktop computers.
The iMac’s design has been a hallmark of Apple. It is a computer that you can look at, or display on your desk. Apple was the first company to recognize people’s desire for a unique workspace and home. The first fully translucent Bondi Blue iMac was released in 1998. It got everyone talking.
This helped Apple to revive its fortunes at a time when it had been struggling. They became the most popular way to show that you are cool, unique, and trendy. Five new candy-colored options were soon available. They were everywhere, on every TV and in every creative business. Every teenager wants one. The desktop computer went from a boring box to a popular culture icon.
The iMac has looked more sophisticated and professional since then. They are still everywhere but make a new statement. They are more subtle than striking; they are more simple than eccentric. All that will change in 2021. The iMac has undergone a complete redesign and repurposed. The Colour is back! It is going back to its roots and setting the scene for the future.
There’s more to it than just design. This is Apple’s first all-in-one, powered by its M1 processor. There are many software features to discuss. I have had the opportunity to review and use the new 2021 iMac over several weeks.
While I believe Apple has something to offer, it is not the right computer for everyone. This is everything you need to know and whether the new iMac is right for you.
India Price of iMac (M1,2021)
The iMac starts at Rs. The new iMac is not cheap at Rs. 1,19,900 in India. The base model at this price is only available in four of the seven colors. It also lacks some features such as fewer ports and a weaker integrated GPU. There’s no Touch ID keyboard and no Ethernet port.
The price includes 8GB RAM and an SSD of 256GB, which cannot be upgraded later. The variant is priced at Rs. If you are looking for all the features and versatility, the variant is priced at Rs. The 8GB RAM and 256GB storage is still available, but there are no compromises. A readily available configuration is also available at Rs. 1,59,990 increases the storage capacity to 512GB
Apple allows you to customize hardware configurations in India if you purchase from its online store. However, each tweak will cost you a lot. It will cost you Rs. 16GB RAM instead of 8. Additional 20,000 Each storage tier will cost you the same, which is Rs. For 512GB, you’ll pay 20,000 more, and for Rs. For a 2TB SSD, it costs 80,000 more. These markups are difficult to justify considering the market prices for RAM and storage.
The cost of swapping a Magic Mouse for the Magic Trackpad is Rs. 5,00, or Rs. 5,000 if you wish to purchase both. 12,500 additional. You can also get an Ethernet port on the power brick if you select the base model. 3,00 and an upgrade to the keyboard with Touch ID sensor at Rs. 5,000 Additional Rs.
will be charged for the Magic Keyboard, which includes a numeric keypad. Additional Rs. 3,000 (Rs. 8,099 in total These new versions of the Magic Keyboard, Mouse, and Trackpad have only been available by Apple in Silver. These standalone products sell for much more than what you would pay to upgrade your iMac.
You can’t even get them in matching colors, at least not yet. Apple’s online store also offers the option to purchase the new iMac with a VESA mounting instead of a stand for the same price.
iMac (M1, 2021) design
The box contains photos and text to match the new iMac’s color. The iMac comes with a matching fabric strap. The box opens to reveal the iMac and all accessories, which are neatly arranged in custom-sized cutouts. You will receive the cable and the external power plug, depending on the option you choose at the time of purchase.
The Magic Keyboard, Magic Mouse, and/or Magic Trackpad are also included. One Lightning cable is needed to charge them all. They are all color-coordinated. A small envelope contains basic literature as well as two stickers with the Apple logo in your choice of color.
If you select the base variant, you can choose from Silver, Blue or Pink, and Green. You also have the option of Yellow, Orange, or Purple if you want the more expensive options. While silver is the safe, neutral option, I would prefer a darker Space Gray. Apple obviously wanted a more upbeat color palette.
The other colors are all two-tone: a rich, saturated, and bold metal on the back, pedestal, and input devices. A paler pastel variation is on the front panel, cables, and cables. Every little detail is coordinated from the Type-C ports at the rear to the plastic insert and sleeving on the Lightning cable’s connector.
The iMac’s design is to look great from all angles. Apple claims that the new 23.5-inch display is smaller than the 21.5-inch model. Although some might be disappointed by the thick chin that is still below the screen, this design element has become instantly recognizable, so it’s not surprising that it’s been retained.
It’s interesting to note that the Apple logo is no longer on the front. A white border is now placed around the screen. Above that is a webcam and the activity LED. The frame has two microphone pinholes at the top and discreet cooling vents at the bottom.
The new iMac is only 11.5mm thick and has a flat back. It gives off a modern feel. Although the pedestal measures 14.7cm in-depth, its thinness does not save desk space. However, it grabs attention. This isn’t necessary for a desktop computer. The iMac is thin due to the M1 SoC’s high level of integration and low cooling requirements, but it also means that you lose modularity and the ability to be upgraded.
The iMac stand can tilt the device forwards or backward. You can also turn it around to swivel it. There is no height adjustment. It weighs in at 4.48kg and can be easily carried. Although it is possible to tip the base, either way, it will not be easy to cause the iMac to fall over.
You can feel the power button if you reach to the left. You will find the ports, which we’ll discuss later, on the rear-right. The bottom of the left-hand side panel houses a 3.5mm headphone socket.
It’s annoying that you have to reach for the ports while looking at the finish. You can turn the whole body of your iMac around. For convenience, older iMacs featured USB hubs on their keyboards.
However, these were removed when input devices became wireless and there has been no replacement. It is difficult to connect pen drives and hard drives often.
Apple’s move to an external power brick is another reason why the iMac’s body can be so thin. Higher-priced models come with an Ethernet passthrough brick. However, you can also add this option to the base model if you purchase directly from Apple.
Although the brick is large, it can be hidden from view. It is strange that units shipped in India come with a 16A power cord. Very few people keep these large sockets near their desks. Even a PC built around the M1 SoC, which is intended to be extremely power-efficient, should not draw that much power.
The cable connecting to the power brick is quite long and color-coordinated. Apple has created a custom magnetic connector. MagSafe isn’t the right name for it. It’s not intended to be attached or detached quickly the iMac doesn’t have a battery.
Because the body is so thin, a regular barrel connector would not have been sufficient to secure it, the magnet is necessary. The magnet snaps in place with a satisfying “thunk” sound and you can forget all about it.
Specifications for iMac (M1, 2020)
Apple has decided to give the M1 processor a rest now that it’s been around for a while. Instead, the focus will be on the new iMac design. The same silicone we have seen in the new 13-inch MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and Mac mini as well as the iPad Pros is used here.
It is a fully integrated SoC that includes four high-performance CPU cores as well as four efficiency cores. There are also up to eight GPU cores. Additionally, there are various IO controllers. The system RAM can now be unified in the same package.
The new iMac’s base configuration ships with an M1 that has seven GPU cores. However, the more expensive models have eight. All versions have the same eight cores and 16 “neural engines” cores. Apple does not publish information such as base and boost clock speeds, thresholds, or power draw. However, third parties have done so. Active cooling is used in the new iMac. The slim body should not be too restrictive, given that the same hardware works fine in slim MacBooks.
Apple only offers a 23.5-inch display option. This is quite interesting. This suggests that the new iMac will be positioned more as a general-purpose computer than a tool for creative professionals. In the near future, we will likely see a new iMac Pro line with larger screens. The panel resolution is 4480×2520 which is essentially 4.5K with a 16-to-9 aspect ratio.
The panel features include a wide range of colors, up to 500 nits brightness, and Apple’s True Tone color temperature adjustment feature. HDR is not mentioned. According to the M1’s GPU, it is capable of driving both this display and up to one 6K external screen simultaneously.
Base variants only have two Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports (40Gbps) and the 3.5mm audio out. Higher variants include two additional USB 3.1 Gen2 (10Gbps), Type-C ports, and Gigabit Ethernet through the power brick. You will need to purchase adapters, hubs, or replacement cables if you still require USB Type-A ports.
Although this might not be a problem with an ultraportable laptop, it isn’t really necessary for a large static desktop. The new Mac mini offers a wider range of ports. The base model will be frustrating if you have a printer, or any other device permanently attached.
Wi-Fi 6 is a great option as you can do many things wirelessly. The sound quality has been improved with six speakers, Dolby Atmos spatial, and a “studio-quality” directional three microphone array. This webcam is capable of recording 1080p video, which is very useful in this age where video calls are common.iMac (M1,2021) software.
Apple’s hardware has a lot to offer. It is tightly integrated with software and other services. The new iMac will come with macOS Big Sur (11) as well as a free macOS Monterey (12 updates). Big Sur may be something you’ve used on an older Mac. You can usually expect at least three years’ worth of updates. A Mac with M1 architecture will likely offer several years of software upgrades.
For more information on Big Sur and the features it brings to M1-based Macs, you can read our Mac mini and MacBook Air reviews. The new UI design is fresh and features many Apple-only features. Preloaded software like Pages, Numbers, and Garage Band can be useful.
AirPods, iPhones, and iPads can be interoperable. You’ll appreciate audio switching, iMessage and AirDrop. Handoff, Sidecar, and Universal Clipboard are just a few of the many ways these devices can interact to make your life easier. To take full advantage of many of these features, you will need to use iCloud as well as Apple’s apps and services like Safari, Apple Music, and Mail.
Apple iOS apps can be downloaded from the App store on M1-powered Macs. However, there are limitations. You can read more about them in our Mac mini-review. Over the last few months, many apps have been updated to run natively with Apple Silicon. However, even those that haven’t have to work fine due to Apple’s Rosetta 2 emulator layer.
Boot Camp has not been updated, so Windows isn’t officially supported. You can still download Windows for ARM, but it will require some work. Parallels Desktop and other virtualization options, such as Parallels Desktop, already support Windows 11 betas.
iMac (M1, 2021) usage and performance
Although pops of color can be nice, there was a lot of sensory overload with the Orange review unit. The orange front panel is more salmon pink than orange. macOS can detect the color of your iMac and will set the default wallpaper and highlight colors to match. The True Tone display feature makes colors appear warmer by default. It was all a bit much for me so I had to adjust the software settings.
The orange front panel was distracting to me when I was working or watching videos. However, the white frame surrounding the panel offers some visual relief. I think anyone using the iMac for color-sensitive creative tasks would prefer the neutral Silver option. Before you decide on a particular color, it is a good idea to see them all in person.
Apple claims that the new iMac is anti-reflective, but in my experience, reflections on the screen were a problem in a sunny room. I had to tilt the body a little to avoid them. As expected, the display is excellent. The display is crisper than what you might expect and the colors pop well.
This laptop is 23.5 inches diagonally. It’s a comfortable size for working on and will work well in most homes. You won’t find a high refresh rate or an official HDR rating. These are increasingly common on high-end laptops and PCs. Touch interaction is also absent, as Apple keeps its iPad and Mac hardware separate for now.
Apple’s new iMac features a six-speaker array. I was impressed by the quality of various music and videos that I tried. The sound can be quite loud but it is crisp with a pleasant bass response and clear vocals. You can hear the smallest details if you crank up the volume. The soundstage is not large enough to make the music feel immersive, even if you are sitting at a desk in front of your iMac. Apple did not use the area below the screen to provide front-firing speakers.
My review unit came with the Magic Trackpad as well as the Magic Mouse. The mouse works as before, but the base is now brighter. Although it isn’t the most comfortable, it is easy to get used to Apple’s gestures and right-clicks. It’s still not possible to use the device while it’s charging due to awkward Lightning port placement.
To set up taps and gestures on Mac laptops, it took some tweaking in Trackpad and Accessibility Preferences panels. Although the trackpad does not click, there is a speaker that makes a slight click sound that adds to the illusion of haptic vibration feedback. You can disable this in the macOS System Preferences. It is designed so that the trackpad will sit right next to your keyboard. If you place it in front of it, it won’t work as well.
This brings me to the Magic Keyboard. Apple’s default layout is cramped and laptop-like. You will have to pay more for full-sized number pads and arrow keys. It might be more comfortable for some users, as your hand is not required to move as far as when you place your trackpad or mouse to the right of your keyboard.
However, it doesn’t make for a great layout for productivity. A number pad and paging keys are great tools for many workflows. I prefer a full layout when I work on a desktop computer.
Apple has made some minor changes to the keyboard layout. The Fn key in the corner now opens an emoji panel automatically (even if you’re not filling out a text field), while shortcuts for the Fn row have been rearranged. The Touch ID sensor is the main draw, making life so much simpler.
Although fingerprint recognition doesn’t happen instantly, it is still extremely convenient. Your fingerprint can be used to authorize App Store purchases or autofill passwords. However, you cannot restrict app access. This button can be pressed quickly to lock your Mac. It’s slightly stiffer than the rest for accidental presses. The keys feel as comfortable as you would on a Mac laptop.
All three trackpads, including the keyboard and mouse, have batteries that can be charged using a Lightning port. One Type-C Lightning Cable (color-matched) is included. The macOS System Preferences panel can be used to check each peripheral’s battery level.
I found that each one dropped by about 1-2 percentage points per daily, regardless of whether it was being used actively or in idle mode. They didn’t need to be charged during my review, but I recommend that you get into the habit for multiple recharges so that you don’t have two or more at once.
FaceTime’s upgraded camera will benefit from the M1’s image signal processing capabilities. The camera can capture sharp stills and video even in low light conditions. Unfortunately, the Centre Stage auto framing feature, which was introduced on the M1-powered iPad Pro Series, is not available.
Apple sent the review unit with the higher-end configuration, which included eight GPU cores as well as additional USB Type C ports. It came with 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. The retail price of the Magic Mouse/Magic Trackpad combo is Rs. 1,92,400 Everyday performance was outstanding, as we have seen with the M1-powered Mac mini or MacBook Air.
The new iMac boots fast and open default apps with a minimal pause. Apps open instantly so you might not notice the icon-bouncing animation in your macOS dock. Safari loads web pages quickly. Everything felt snappy and responsive. It was as if the entire power of this computer could be used at a moment’s notice.
Apple’s software is optimized to run natively on Arm-based M1, so even heavy apps such as Garage Band work without any issues. Light content creation tasks such as animation, video editing, and graphic design should be possible. Although Apple may not be targeting professionals with this iMac, it claims far superior performance to the previous-generation Intel-based iMac.
To compare the new iMac with other Mac-compatible benchmarks, I ran a few. Blackmagic’s disk speed test measured reads at 2870.5MBps and writes at 281.9Mbps, which is sufficient for PCIe SSDs. Geekbench 5, a cross-platform tool, produced 1,735 points and 7,657 points in both its single-core- and multi-core tests.
It also generated 19,217 points in the OpenCL compute test. Cinebench R23 produced 1,493 points and 7,708 points in both its single-core and multi-core tests.
Blender’s latest M1-native version was able to run the BMW render scene test in just 5 minutes and 16.51 seconds, which is a little faster than the Mac mini. WebXprt scored 286, Basemark Web 3 had 882.92, Jetstream 2 got 177.901 and Jetstream 2 scored 177.901 respectively. These scores are almost identical to those of the Mac mini.
Gaming and graphics aside, the integrated GPU of the M1 can’t run modern games at native resolutions of 4.5K. Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s benchmark averaged barely playable 24fps at Medium resolution at 1920×108080.
Troy: A Total War Saga’s Battle benchmark averaged 31.7fps when set to High quality and the same resolution. It’s better to stick with older games and casual titles in the App Store.
It is important to remember that the iMac’s cooling fan does not work. Even when you run graphics-intensive tests, it can barely be heard. Its design is the only thing that makes this iMac loud.
The new iMac is a return to the design being the center of everything. It looks amazing and performs brilliantly in everyday tasks as well as creative production workflows. I anticipate seeing new iMacs in vibrant colors everywhere. They will evoke the playful and non-conformist spirit that inspired the original.
We see for the first time that Apple has created a new Mac around its M1 rather than the old-gen Mac minis and MacBook bodies. This is only a small taste of what’s to come.
Performance is excellent, as well as the value of macOS and all its apps. You can also take advantage of the Apple ecosystem by purchasing new products or services. Everything works straight out of the box. The display is great, the speakers work well, and the keyboard is easy to use. This iMac is fresh in every way.
Despite this, it introduces and maintains many compromises that desktop computers should not make. Apple’s configuration options can’t be upgraded and you cannot upgrade anything. You will need more storage than the base SSD of 256GB if you plan to work with large files. This extra storage will be charged at the time you purchase the device.
A desktop with plenty of space for more ports should not have a restricted number of ports. It’s unnecessarily laptop-like with a small arrow cluster. It is also disappointing that the display cannot be reused when you upgrade. All-in-ones require that the entire thing be disposed of. Unfortunately, Apple’s focus on detail can sometimes lead to tunnel vision. This is what we see here.
The base variant should be skipped by most creative and home users who expect to grow their needs over time. This Rs. This Rs. 1,19,990 configuration is suitable for offices or schools with basic needs or those who purchase an iMac purely for its beauty. The M1-powered Mac mini is cheaper and offers more flexibility.
- Excellent performance
- It looks great
Software with value-added features, OS updates free
Storage and RAM are not upgradeable
Configuration options that are very expensive
Ports are limited and poorly placed
Also Read: Apple ipad Pro 2021 11-Inch Review