At its big Spring Loaded event on April 20th, Apple announced a new 24-inch iMac with a pretty radical design. There's a lot to love about what Apple invented with this new all-in-one, including the M1 performance boost and ultra-thin profile.
As excited as I am about the long-awaited redesign, there are a few minor issues that rub me in the wrong direction.
This lower bezel
The new look of the iMac is really impressive. It has a new hinge and flat back that reminds it of an iPad Pro attached to the Magic keyboard. Apple says it wanted to make the computer go away, and it's amazingly close to getting there.
That is, until you look directly under the screen. There's a beefy lower chin that iMac users will recognize. Large bezels have been an important design factor for the past decade, and all signs pointed to a cleaner appearance that goes with other Apple products.
The top and sides have been scaled down, but the bottom bezel looks just as big as ever.
Of course, Apple could have reduced the size of these frames slightly, but it had a higher priority: make the screen as thin as possible.
With this new 24-inch iMac, Apple has “hidden” all the main components in this lower bezel, so that the back is only 11.5 mm thick. Without the SoC (System-on-Chip) design of the M1, this would not have been possible. Similar to phones, a SoC means a much smaller logic board that fits into something as small as a bottom bezel.
It's an incredibly impressive achievement, and I'm sure it will make an even bigger impression in person.
I only explained the reasons for it and am still disappointed. We've waited years for Apple to hit the industry standard on this, and I thought Apple would at least have found a way to adjust the frame size on the Pro Display XDR. Unfortunately, the iMac still has a big chin that you'll stare at all day.
You can't have it all, but in that case I might have preferred a slightly thicker case with a smaller lower bezel.
What's an Apple product launch without further discussion of ports?
Given that Apple is having a change of heart on its Mac ports, the company is launching a new iMac with the least amount of stuff we've ever seen. There are only 4 USB-C ports, two of which are Thunderbolt 4. That is hardly enough. But then there is the base model which only includes the two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and that's it. You have to pay to upgrade these two additional USB-C ports.
However, Apple has come up with some cool party tricks with its new ports. The new power cord is now a braided cord that magnetizes on the back of the iMac. The power supply itself also has a built-in Ethernet jack for hard-wired connections, which can do wonders for your neat desk configuration.
But I know I'll miss my USB-A ports. Most of all, I'm going to miss an SD card slot, which is pretty frustrating considering how much Apple has talked about this being an option for the creative.
I think it's back to dongle life.