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Apple's new iMacs go on sale this week. If you are hard-pressed to recognize them as being new, that's understandable. The design is the same as the 2021 version. The big difference is the new M3 chip that's on board. It will speed up workflows and supposedly enhance the graphics capabilities of the new iMacs. Among other things, this graphics boost would allow gamers to play titles that, previously, they wouldn't have dreamed would come to Mac.
We're about to go hands-on with the new iMac to give you a quick introduction to the "new" model.
First impressions matter
There's something delightful about unboxing a new gadget, isn't there? The new iMac is color-matched through and through. So much so, that the woven handle on the box matches the color of iMac that shipped to you!
We received the Blue model as an early review unit from Apple (thanks Apple...but don't worry, no promises were made regarding the editorial content, so these thoughts are our own and Apple didn't get any input on this article).
It's a small thing, but a thing that makes you smile like a doofus when you first see it. The matching accessories and color-matched power cable and charging cable just look so darn good. The front of the iMac has a pale shade and the back is a more saturated color. While, generally, computers are sitting on a desk, pushed against a wall, the new iMac looks so good, if you have a chance to set it up somewhere in your home or office so it's visible from the front and back, you won't regret it.
Ports! Who needs ports?
How many ports do you use for your normal workflow? This is an important consideration for you when choosing your iMac. The base model ($1299) comes with two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. This would allow you to plug into a 6K external screen and still have a port to spare to swap in and out dongles and accessories as needed.
If that's not enough, then you'll have to upgrade to the $1499 version. But with the upgrade, you get a few things, like more color options, the power adapter with built-in ethernet port, and you can configure a higher, 2 TB storage tier.
The sleekness of this all-in-one machine is so striking. The 24-inch 4.5K Retina display is unchanged from the 2021 version. The 1080p camera might make video calls look better because of some extra image processing power with the M3 chip. But since this is just a quick, first-impressions article, we'll have to wait for the full review to be sure. Overall though, nothing to write home about here. The old iMac display was good…and this one is the same.
When picking out your new iMac, you'll have the choice between three Magic Keyboards (one with just a lock button, one with Touch ID, and one with a Numpad. You can forego the mouse for a Magic Trackpad for an extra $60, or get both. And if you get the base model iMac, you can upgrade to the Gigabit Ethernet power adapter (if you buy the more expensive iMac, you get this version of the power adapter anyway).
This is something that will be covered in more detail in a full review (since we haven't had much time to try out the new chip yet). But the short version, in case you missed the Apple event stream, is that Apple is releasing three new chips: the M3, M3 Pro, and M3 Max.
With the iMac, you can only get the M3 chip. The M3 Pro and M3 Max are currently only in the new MacBook Pros.
It sounds like the biggest upgrade to M3 is going to be in the GPU, so expect cool graphics abilities, particularly in lighting and detail for gaming or design/animation work. For iMac workflows, you'll be able to Max out these machines with an 8-core CPU, 10-core GPU, 24 GB of memory and 2 TB of storage.
We'll be testing out the new iMac and eager to share our thoughts once we've put it through its paces. The M1 iMac was a very good, Jack-of-all-trades machine, so we are expecting similar usefulness from this one. If you have any specific thoughts or questions about the M3 iMac, please drop them in the comments section, so I can address them in my full review coming next week!