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(Pocket-lint) - Apple has revealed its new iMac - available in a single 24-inch size, it brings Apple's own M1 processors to the iMac lineup as well as a new, thin-bezel design and seven colour finishes. 

Here we're pitching it alongside the 2020 27-inch model featuring Intel processors. We're expecting this version to be replaced by a new-style, Apple M1-powered model in due course, perhaps with a 32-inch size - certainly, it's set to be bigger than the 27-inch size we believe. That model will probably have an upgraded Apple Silicon processor, maybe the M2. 

The old 2019 21.5-inch iMac model seems to still be available, but we suspect Apple will just be selling off old stock. 

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Design

  • 2020 iMac: Familiar aluminium design with a black display surround
  • 2021 iMac: New thinner design, seven different colour finishes

The iMac 2021 takes the iMac design up a level. It's still very recognisable as an iMac and has the same 'strip' under the display, but is significantly thinner, without the bulge around the stand. There are also much thinner bezels with a white surround instead of black. 

Crucially the 2021 iMac is now available in seven different colour finishes, however, not all are available to all buyers. There are two different models with very small differences. Primarily this is in the graphics, which we'll come onto shortly, and two additional USB-C ports on the higher-end model. But whereas the 'two ports' model is available in four finishes, the more expensive 'four ports' model is available in all seven. 

The 2019/2020 iMac retains the familiar aluminium design with a black display surround. 

AppleNew iMac 24-inch (2021, Apple M1) vs iMac 27-inch (2020. Intel) photo 2

Displays

  • 2020 iMac: 5K 27-inch display
  • 2021 iMac: 24-inch 4.5K display

The older 2020 iMac features a 5K 27-inch display which has been in use for several years - as we've said above we expect it to be replaced by a larger model at some point soon, perhaps 32-inches. The new 2021 iMac introduces a 24-inch 4.5K display with smaller bezels than the 27-inch. 

The 2019 21.5-inch iMac still appears to be available, though expect it to go end-of-life soon. 

AppleNew iMac 24-inch (2021, Apple M1) vs iMac 27-inch (2020. Intel) photo 5

Processor and graphics

  • 2020 iMac: Various Core i5/i7 options topped out by 3.6Ghz 10-core Core i9-10900K, AMD Radeon Pro graphics
  • 2021 iMac: 8-core Apple M1 processor with 7 or 8 core graphics

The 2020 iMac is available with Intel's 10th Generation Core i processors (Comet Lake) in 6- and 8-core variants of the Core i5 and i7. You can also upgrade to the range-topping 3.6Ghz 10-core Core i9-10900K that'll Turbo Boost to 5GHz. We had this in our review model and as you'd expect, it absolutely flies.

For the 2021 iMac, both two-port and four-port models have an 8-core Apple M1 processor under the hood. The graphics are where things differ slightly, with 7 or 8 core graphics respectively. The graphics options on the 2020 Intel iMac are varied, with several AMD Radeon Pro options, maxxing out at the AMD Radeon Pro 5700 XT with 16GB of GDDR6 memory. 

Storage and peripherals

  • 2020 iMac: dual USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, four USB-A ports and an SD card slot
  • 2021 iMac: Dual Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, extra pair of USB-C ports on four-port model
  • All iMacs come with a Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse, 2021 iMac available with Touch ID version of Magic Keyboard

The two-port 2021 iMac gives you dual Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports, while the four-port version gives you two additional USB-C ports. 

There are stacks of storage options on the 2020 Intel iMacs and you can specify up to a huge 8TB of storage, On the 2021 M1 iMacs though, things are a little more limited - we know the M1 chip is currently limited to 2TB of storage, and you can specify this on the four-port version. On the two-port version you can only get up to 1TB of storage. 

The 2020 Intel iMac has two dual USB-C/Thunderbolt 3, four USB-A ports and an SD card slot. So the USB-A and SD slots are gone on the 2021 version. The headphone jack moves from the rear on the 2020 model to the side on the 2021 iMac and the Ethernet port moves to the power brick (yes really), as part of the magnetically attached power cable. 

All iMacs come with a Magic Keyboard and Magic Mouse, but the high-end four-port 2021 iMac has a special Magic Keyboard with Touch ID. You can also upgrade the standard Magic Keyboard on the two-port version to the Touch ID model. 

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Verdict

The 2021 24-inch iMac is a clear step forward, but while it clearly supercedes the 2019 21.5-inch iMac, it's not a complete replacement for the 2020 27-inch model. That's because of the storage, processor and graphics options available on that model - and the power of the high end Core i7 and Core i9 options. 

We expect there to be a new larger iMac this year to replace the 27-inch model as well, probably with a new M2 processor. 

Writing by Dan Grabham. Originally published on 20 April 2021.