Apple debuts new iMac in seven colors running on its own chips

April 20, 2021, 6:50 PM UTC

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Apple has overhauled the design of its popular iMac desktop computer line, debuting on Tuesday the first major change to the computer’s exterior since 2012.

The new lineup features a 24-inch screen and a thinner metal body, losing the rounded sides of older models for the boxy look similar to recent iPhones and iPads. The 21.5-inch and 27-inch options from the prior lineup are being dropped, though a new larger screen model could arrive later this year.

Apple is offering the new iMac in seven colors: green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver. The choices hark back to the model’s early days in 1999 when then-CEO Steve Jobs debuted five brightly colored iMac models. But influential YouTube tech reviewer Marques Brownlee immediately called the new design “ugly” and the color options “odd.”

The new iMac also dumps processors from Intel for those developed by Apple that are similar to the kind used in its other devices. The M1 chip used in the new iMac is the same chip Apple added to its MacBook Pro laptop and Mac Mini desktop computer last fall. Apple didn’t offer much detail about the relative performance of the new models, saying only that they would be up to 85% faster than its prior 21.5-inch iMac, which was not the fastest model in the old lineup. Graphics performance would be up to twice as fast as the old 21.5-inch model, Apple said.

Given the amount of videoconferencing customers are doing since the pandemic started, the new iMacs come with an improved built-in camera that offers 1080p resolution, the same as that of high-end HD TV sets from a few years ago. A new keyboard that comes with the iMac includes a fingerprint sensor for logging in to the computer and other services via Apple’s Touch ID technology.

The new green, pink, blue, and silver models start at $1,300 with 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD. A higher-end model with similar specs but better graphics and more ports for accessories comes in green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver. It costs $1,500.

All of the new models will be available for preorder on April 30, with orders to begin arriving in the second half of May, Apple said.

The new iMac debuts as personal computer sales are still booming after the pandemic forced many people to work and learn from home. Personal computer sales jumped 55% in the first quarter compared with the same period in 2020, before the pandemic affected workplaces and schools. Rival PC makers like Dell and Acer have placed less emphasis on all-in-one desktop models like the iMac, however.

At its event on Tuesday, Apple also debuted many other new and updated products, including a set of wireless tags for tracking items dubbed AirTags, a new Apple TV set-top box with a better remote control, and updated iPads.

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