Apple took it upon itself, asking practically normal people to defend themselves against its elitist tendencies. And while I still believe that Macs are computers for people who hate computers, I disagree with the wave of hatred of the new machines. I think the new M1-powered iMacs are pretty pretty. Additionally, I think they are a symbol of a potential seismic shift in computing and, perhaps more interestingly, gaming PCs.
The general rationale for many of the complaints about the new ultra-slim 2021 iMacs it’s about their lightweight design and why that might be bad or at least uninspired. At long last, not you need a desktop computer to be slim, less so if it’s an all-in-one machine where you just look at the screen anyway.
The low-power Apple M1 processor and its impressively powerful ARM-based cores enabled Apple to create a desktop computer just 11.5mm thick. Sure, it’s essentially a laptop that only has a screen and no keyboard, but for the places you’ll find an iMac, that’s fine. They are machines that should be stylish and inconspicuous in a design studio or artist workshop.
That mobile origin doesn’t mean you can just hide the slim M1 SoC behind the screen and still get an 11.5mm aesthetic with the rest of its features. And that means the new iMac isn’t a big iPad Pro on a stand. Under the screen is a large chin, an extension of the screen housing that houses the ARM-based electronics.
The big chin and the relatively chunky white bezels around the 4.5K retina display have been suggested by people Apple lost its design mojoThis could cede leadership in this area to Microsoft and its Surface Studio.
I mean, naaaaaaaah. Have you seen the Surface Studio? It looks like an old Noctua heat sink that someone strapped a glossy screen onto. And it’s not that there are particularly thin bezels, they are just glossy black instead of white.
Personally, I like the ultra-minimalist design of the new iMac. And I’m not really an Apple fan. I guess you could say I’m a PC, but I really hate those old ads and the ill-advised modern Redux.
But I really appreciate the Mac style of the i2021, which mimics the classic iMac aesthetic while incorporating new, relevant features that speak for the new way iMacs work and where they are used. The new 1080p webcam and funkier speaker array are all results of the world we work from home in right now, and Apple has gotten into it in a big way.
On PC, we don’t often see the flair with which Apple infuses its products, although luckily that is changing, and the introduction of the Razer Blade and Corsair One a few years ago brought us some real PC style icons. Unfortunately, we still get the overly angular, overly aggressive “gamer” aesthetic elsewhere that feels increasingly played out.
There are some legitimate concerns about the new iMac outside of visual design, however, and that’s due to Apple’s decision to only include a quartet of USB Type-C ports (with Thunderbolt support for two of them).
No type A, no LAN, no nothing; It’s damn restrictive and that’s the apple I’ve grown to hate. The dictatorial company that decides how to use your machine, crosses the selection off the equation, and charges a hell of a high price premium for the privilege.
The iMac with M1 drive is also a small harbinger of the potential future of PCs. Apple’s proprietary ARM-based processor has proven its capabilities and demonstrated the possibility of computing outside of the dominance of the x86 architecture. This is what Nvidia has been focusing on lately, and not just because it is still desperately trying to get its way Pressed acquisition of the technology company Cambridge.
Nvidia and MediaTek (one of the largest manufacturers of ARM-based silicon) recently went public with a partnership GeForce GPUs are optimized to work with the ARM architecture for gaming and other workloads. The suggestion is that future gaming laptops could run on the powerful mobile GPUs from Nvidia and still offer PC gaming performance on ARM CPUs thanks to the x86 emulation that Apple’s M1 silicon demonstrated.
And if we really talk about future Nvidia ShieldBooks with ARM chips, we could be looking at form factors entirely different from laptops and future desktop computers. Okay, the GeForce GPU is probably the more power-hungry and heat-generating component of a modern gaming laptop, but pairing one with a low-power CPU can only help.
In the PC world, we’ve been tied to the x86 architecture for so long that it’s scary we’re moving away from it, but having more components to choose from can only be a good thing. This was underscored by the tremendous shortage of chips we are in today. If there are more ways to find silicon to fill our new gaming PCs, then I’ll be in.
Hell, we might even see some thin GeForce-powered all-in-ones.