With the rumor mill in full overdrive prior to the ‘Spring Loaded’ keynote, we expected almost everything from Apple – to varying degrees, anyway. The manufacturer had big announcements, which included new M1-powered iMacs and iPad Pros, as well as the long-awaited AirTags item trackers and new AppleTV box. The iPhone 12 is now available in a delicate shade of purple, too. Here’s more about the new iMac and iPad Pro:
2021 24-inch iMac with M1
Rumors for a colorful, design-overhauled iMac did pan out, although the announcement is more of a promising start than a shake-up. That’s because the M1 processor is exactly the same as the one running in last year’s MacBooks and the new iPad Pro, with 8 CPU cores and 7 or 8 GPU cores. While the M1 is a beast as it is, we know Apple has 12-core, 16-core, and even 32-core processors in the works.
Starting at USD 1299, the new iMac is a pretty nice computer for the money. The 24-inch, sub-5K resolution display alone is worth near half of that, and then you get the new Magic Keyboard with TouchID fingerprint recognition and Magic Mouse bundled with it. The chassis is ridiculously slim at a flat 11.5mm. Other niceties include a 1080p-resolution front camera with elaborate image processing, 3-point microphone array, 6-point speaker system with spatial audio support, 2 Thunderbolt ports, magnetic power connector, and Wi-Fi 6 support.
The USD 1299 base model has 8 CPU cores, 7 GPU cores, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage. It can be configured with up to 16GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. The choice of colors is limited to Blue, Green, Pink, and Silver. The USD 1499 model has 8 GPU cores, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD storage and 2 USB-C ports in addition to Thunderbolt. It can be configured with up to 16GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD storage. The choice of colors is expanded with Yellow, Orange, and Purple. The USD 1699 model has all that and 512GB of SSD storage.
Apple is still selling the Intel models (21.5-inch and 27-inch) – at the time being, it’s targeting the more demanding professionals with the 27-inch iMac and keeping the 21.5-inch model as the ‘low-cost’ option. In this line-up, the M1 iMac covers a broad middle ground and is in a somewhat strange position. The M1 chip crushes the entry-level iMac and it outperforms the 10th-gen 8-core Core i7 Intel CPU that is the default choice for the most expensive 27-inch iMac. Thus, the 24-inch iMac is mostly being pulled back by the 16GB RAM limitation, which is only an obstacle for power users, and potential software incompatibility.
The rainbow colors won’t be up to everyone’s tastes, and there are no Black or Space Gray choices to fit your gloomy studio. The M1 iMac will be available for pre-order from April 30 and shipments will start in May.
2021 iPad Pro
The new iPad Pro gets upgraded to the point of becoming a MacBook Pro on the inside. It gets an 8 CPU core / 8 GPU core M1 chip, up to 16GB of RAM, up to a monstrous 2TB of storage, and Thunderbolt. The 12.9-inch model also gets the Liquid Retina XDR display with up to 1000 nits of full-screen brightness, up to 1600 nits of peak brightness, 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and mini-LED backlight. I think this kind of power is absurd for a device running iOS (technically iPadOS) and the USD 2400 owed for a top-of-the-line model will be better spent on an actual computer (you might even save some cash). At USD 799 for the base model 11-inch iPad Pro and USD 1099 for the starter 12.9-inch iPad Pro, that’s still the best high-end tablet you can buy. The tablets will be up for pre-order on April 30 and ship in May. The regular iPad hasn’t been touched and the rumored iPad Mini announcement didn’t pan out.
Update: The initial article incorrectly stated that the 24-inch iMac is limited to 8GB RAM and 512GB storage options. We revised the article with the correct information and change of tone. We apologize for the mistake.