When Apple introduced its 27-inch iMac last year, I had a strong feeling the company was attempting to bring back the family computer. And this year, it looks like Apple actually delivered.
The new, colorful 24-inch iMac, which starts at $1,200 and begins shipping May 21, is a clear callback to the old-school, colorful iMac G3 — Apple’s original family computer that sat in most people’s living rooms throughout the late ’90s and early 2000s. It acted as the central hub to the internet for all members of the household, both young and old.
Since then, the iMac has evolved into a machine that represents power and productivity, with a boring, all-white industrial design to match. You’re more likely to see it tucked away in an office cubicle in corporate spaces than situated on a messy desk in someone’s cozy living room.
But the new iMac finally breaks that pattern, moving back into the family room using color and a few other notable upgrades.
In addition to being offered in seven different colors, the 24-inch iMac now ditches Intel processors for Apple’s own M1 chip, allowing for a super-thin, sleek, and lightweight form factor. Throw in a 1080p camera for all those video chats, a 4.5K Retina display for binging Netflix, Touch ID built into the Magic Keyboard to easily switch between user profiles and input passwords, to name a few, and you’ve got yourself the ideal at-home iMac.
The iMac is finally exciting again
When I was a kid, I’d always feel giddy the morning after my parents bought me a new toy — specifically because I already knew I wouldn’t be bored that day and because seeing it brought me a sense of joy. That’s exactly how I felt the morning after I set up the new yellow iMac Apple sent me.
For the first time in a long time, looking at an iMac didn’t fill me with a sense of dread. I wasn’t reminded of all the unread emails in my inbox, unanswered Slack messages, and my extensively long to-do list. Instead, the iMac existed as a soothing piece of interior decor that brought some color to my minimalist bedroom.
If yellow isn’t your preferred iMac color, you can also choose from orange, green, blue, pink, purple, and silver. Regardless of the color you choose, each one has a white bezel and pastel-colored chin on the front, while the stand and back of the machine are more pigmented.
So, for example, the chin on the yellow iMac is muted (which plays nicely with the white border), while the rest of the hardware is a metallic gold. And you’ll find the same goes for the rest of the colors.
I appreciate Apple’s attention to small detail with this iMac lineup, too — my yellow iMac came with a matching yellow power cord, yellow Magic Keyboard, and a yellow Magic Mouse.
I also noticed text fields in Safari and Chrome are automatically outlined in yellow, selecting text with the cursor highlighted words in yellow, and clicking on icons turned them gold. Even though I’ve already had the iMac for a week now, I feel like I’m still finding little Easter eggs throughout the experience.
As for the rest of the iMac, the front features a 24-inch 4.5K Retina display (4480 x 2520 resolution) with a glass coating that delivers really bright and crisp picture quality. I actually preferred using it over my TV to watch movies and shows.
Speaking of nice picture quality, on top of the display is a 1080p FaceTime camera. It’s the same one that was first introduced on last year’s 27-inch iMac. As I said back in August: It’s a massive upgrade from the grainy 720p webcam featured on Apple’s MacBooks and does an excellent job at enhancing image quality.
On the bottom of the display is the speaker grille, which packs force-cancelling woofers that help to create a thumpy and vibrant bass while also cancelling out vibration, especially when maxing out volume.
They don’t get extremely loud though. During two separate FaceTime calls, I had it set to the highest possible volume without even realizing. And while using it to watch Netflix from my bed, I found myself pushing the iMac as close to the edge of my desk as possible to hear the audio better. But it still offers impressive sound for such a compact iMac.
Moving to the back of the iMac, you’ll find a power button and ports. My iMac model features four ports total (the amount differs depending on the model you choose, but we’ll get to that later), which includes two Thunderbolt ports and two USB 3 ports. On the left side of the iMac is also a 3.5mm headphone jack.
It’s weirdly … portable
When I first unboxed the iMac, I braced myself for what I thought would be a very heavy and unwieldy lift. But picking it up was the complete opposite. At 9.83 pounds, my noodle arms were able to carry the iMac effortlessly. The stand also has a small footprint, at 5.8-inches, which fits nicely on the cramped desk in my room.
While I can’t say this iMac would ever sit anywhere but my desk, it’s nice to know that I can easily bring it out to the coffee table in my living room or to the kitchen table whenever I need a break from being cooped up in my room. Its 24-inch display is also a lot more comfortable to stare at for long periods of time than the 13-inch screen on my MacBook Pro.
I also wouldn’t be opposed to packing this thing up in my car and traveling with it, if the opportunity arose. I can’t say the same for the 27-inch iMac that weighs 20.8 pounds, which caused me anxiety to move even slightly.
I never thought I would praise an iMac for its portability, but here I am — and that’s the point. Apple designed it to be lightweight and thin on purpose, allowing you to move it from room to room without feeling like you just finished an arm workout.
Colors will vary, though
Yes, the iMac comes available in seven different colors, but colors vary depending on the configuration you choose. Each one includes the same M1 chip, but you have a few different options in terms of memory and storage:
8-core CPU and 7-Core GPU (with 256GB of storage, 8GB of memory, two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports): Starts at $1,299 and comes in blue, green, pink, or silver
8GB-core CPU and 8-Core GPU (with 256GB of storage, 8GB of memory, two Thunderbolt/ USB 4 ports, two USB 3 ports): Starts at $1,499 and comes in blue, green, pink, yellow, orange, purple, or silver
8GB-core CPU and 8-Core GPU (with 512GB of storage, 8GB of memory, two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, two USB 3 ports): Starts at $1,699 and comes in blue, green, pink, yellow, orange, purple, or silver
You can increase the first configuration up to 16GB of memory and 1TB of storage, while the last two options can be upgraded up to 16GB of memory and 2TB of storage. Of course, depending on what you choose, that’ll come at an additional cost.
The base configuration also comes with a standard Magic Keyboard, while the two more expensive options includes a Magic Keyboard with Touch ID.
Apple sent me the latter and, while I can’t say it revolutionizes the experience, using my fingerprint to download apps and make purchases via Apple Pay is a lot quicker and less annoying than having to manually type my passwords in each time. It’ll also come in handy for those who have a bunch of family members using the iMac, since it allows you to switch between user profiles using each person’s respective fingerprint.
This is the iMac to buy
While I can’t speak on behalf of creatives who push their iMacs beyond its limits for graphic design or editing photos and videos, I can speak for the regular people out there who just need a snappy iMac for emails, web browsing, and messaging through the day, and entertainment at night. If you’ve been holding off on upgrading your desktop or feel hesitant to drop over $1,000 on this new machine, I can assure you it’s worth the investment. The 24-inch iMac is an excellent, compact machine that packs enough power to provide a super smooth experience.
Plus, the pop of color alone will automatically boost your mood on even the roughest of days. Unless you get the silver color. I can’t help you there.