Infuriating key feature missing from 2021 iMac
'Pretty'. That's the first word my wife uttered when I unpacked Apple's new iMac.
With bright, fun colours and welcoming cursive 'hello', this is a desktop device that you won't want to hide in the back office.
It exudes joy and creativity. And yes, it might even make you a little more productive along the way.
Ours has been on the kitchen table all week. It's been my 'fun device' well away from the home office work environment.
It's where we have checked out photos, videos, watched videos and listened to music.
The super thin and light weight design means it's a computer you can put anywhere.
You can catch up with your best friend on FaceTime on the big screen in the kitchen while you're preparing the evening meal.
The kids can do their homework in the shared living space, or watch a movie on the incredible 4.5k Retina display in their bedroom.
This is a computer that is designed for anywhere and everywhere.
But it's not just for home use, it would look stunning as a focal point of creativity and professionalism for any business.
And with its array of seven colours, it would certainly brighten up some school classrooms.
It's not just a pretty picture though. This is one powerful device.
Powered by Apple's M1 chip it is super quick.
I scrolled through hundreds of photos like my life was flashing through my eyes.
Apple says it can handle five streams of 4k video without dropping a frame or one stream of 8k.
One of the most impressive and surprising features of the iMac is the sound.
Given the thin monitor profile, you wonder how it is possible to produce some beautiful sound with even solid bass. It's not super loud but it can easily fill a room.
But there are some things that are very annoying.
As an avid photographer, the lack of an SD card slot is infuriating.
I spent way too much time looking for an Apple dongle to connect my SD card reader. You can never find those things when you need them.
No fear, I thought, I'll just load my camera app and download some pictures through Wi-Fi.
macOS Big Sur and M1 enable the iMac to run iPhone and iPad apps.
Unfortunately, the app on the iMac didn't connect to the camera so I ended up going to my other iMac to download the pictures.
TOUCH ID ALLOWS EASY SWITCHING BETWEEN PROFILES
One of the big pluses of the iMac is the addition of Touch ID which makes logging on and switching profiles between different members of the household a breeze.
Your child, for example, can have their own desktop, backgrounds, apps, music, and games set up while you can keep yours just the way you want it.
With more and more of us spending endless hours on video conferencing and hangouts, the iMac has also made some welcome improvements there.
The 1080p FaceTime HD camera offers double the resolution and a larger sensor for better lowlight performance. It promises to make you look better. I don't think it did for me.
The three-mic array is designed to reduce feedback, while directional beam forming helps the mics ignore background noise and focus on your voice.
The six speaker system features two pairs of force-cancelling woofers - each pair balanced with a high-performance tweeter. Spatial audio is supported when playing video with Dolby Atmos.
The 24 inch display looks small at a distance when compared to a 27 inch display. Many will no doubt be hanging out to see if there's a big brother option later this year.
The display features thinner bezels but there's still Apple's well known 'chin' so you lose some screen space there.
With 11.3 million pixels, support for P3 wide colour and over a billion colours, everything looks very good, particularly some of the latest movies.
Even after a long day, reading text on the screen is easy on the eye through the crisp display.
It's something you notice particularly if you're reading long emails or a comprehensive news article.
The colour matching of the keyboard and mouse is a nice touch.
The biggest advantage of the iMac, however, is not new.
It is the way it easily connects with other Apple devices.
Sharing photos and video from your iPhone or iPad via Airdrop is so quick and easy, while being able to answer text messages on your desktop or 'handoff' from your phone to complete a long email answer on your iMac is a nice feature.
With Airdrop, you cannot only share photos, but also websites and files from your iPhone to your iMac and vice versa.
In terms of connecting with other devices, there is Thunderbolt and USB 4 which delivers up to 40Gb/s in data transfer.
The power connector attaches via magnets, which is a nice touch - and one that makes you less nervous should you trip over the cord in the lounge.
The range of colours on offer include green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver.
Our burnt metallic orange device blends in nicely with our timber kitchen table.
My wife is not a fan of having computers set up in the living area but this one has earned a place through its sheer good looks. And when work calls, as it often does, it's nice to be among the family while dealing with a pressing issue.
Apple's M1 chip has enabled the creation of a much more compact design with the CPU, GPU and other components now all on one smaller logic board.
There are now just two small fans which mean the iMac is quiet as a mouse, even when tackling heavy tasks like video editing.
Apple says the Neural Engine in M1 is capable of computing up to 11 trillion operations per second, delivering up to a 3x performance boost in machine learning tasks.
Launching apps is super fast and you can easily have more than a dozen going at once, along with your email, internet, photos, calendar and other work productivity tools.
Apple believes the iMac will turn on its head the definition of what a desktop is. From what we have seen, we have no reason to doubt that.
Prices for the new 24 inch iMac with 8-Core CPU, 256GB of storage start at $1899 while the top of the range model is $2499.
Originally published as Infuriating key feature missing from 2021 iMac