Apple announced iMac updates today at its event in Brooklyn, New York. As expected, the updates improve the desktop’s performance with new processors while maintaining the design we’ve known iMacs to have for the past couple of years.
Apple says the new system was designed from the ground up around the M1 system on a chip (SoC), allowing for a much smaller motherboard and cooling system than that seen in the company’s earlier Intel-powered iMacs. The new iMac’s overall volume is down by 50 percent and comes in at only 11 mm thick, with a single sheet of glass across the entire front of the device.
The iMac comes with a 4.5K Retina 24-inch display with very small bezels, resulting in a device not much larger than earlier 21-inch iMacs. The new displays also include TruTone technology, which dynamically adjusts color temperature in response to changes in the surrounding ambient light.
The M1 iMac’s 1080 p camera is also improved, taking advantage of the M1’s onboard image processing and neural engine. Tone mapping increases detail and reduces noise in highlighted areas automatically. Similarly, beamforming on the mic array improves the quality of your voice (and decreases ambient noise) during videoconferencing.
The new iMac includes a six-speaker system, which Apple confidently declares as “the best sound system ever in a Mac.” The system supports spatial audio for both games and movies.
Like M1 Macbooks and Mac Minis, the M1-powered iMac wakes near-instantly from sleep. Apple also says that apps like xCode, Lightroom, and iMovie are up to 85 percent faster than previous models. Final Cut Pro can now simultaneously edit up to five 4K video streams without dropping a frame.
The M1 processor also allows iPhone apps and games to run directly on the iMac. Phone calls and text messages can also come directly to the iMac, and Universal Clipboard allows copying and pasting directly between iPhone and M1 iMac. There’s also a phone-like biometric fingerprint sensor on the new keyboard.
The M1 iMac offers up to four USB-C ports (two Thunderbolt), a new magnetically coupled power cord, and an Ethernet adapter on a dongle, which passes network traffic through the power cord itself.
The new iMacs will be available in four colors and will start at $1,299, and a second model will come in seven colors and start at $1,499. Preorders begin on April 30, with delivery beginning in the second half of May.
This story is developing. We’ll add more details as they become available. For the most up-to-date information, follow our liveblog.
Listing image by Apple