Apple unveils several upgrades to iMac family

The 27-inch iMac, iMac Pro, and 21.5-inch iMac come with new processors, SSDs across the line, greater storage, and enhanced Retina 5K display, among other features.

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Image: Apple

Apple has rolled out a series of upgrades to its iMac family, which include new Intel processors, AMD graphics, and improved camera, speakers, and mics.

The 27-inch iMac features faster Intel processors up to 10 cores, greater memory capacity, and faster SSDs across the line with four times the storage capacity, a new nano-texture glass option for a Retina 5K display, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, higher fidelity speakers, and studio-quality mics, according to the company.

Apple also announced that its 21.5-inch iMac will also come standard with SSDs across the line for the first time, which customers can configure with a Fusion Drive.

SEE: macOS Big Sur: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

The iMac Pro now comes standard with a 10-core Intel Xeon processor. Designed for pro users who require workstation-class performance, it features Xeon processors up to 18 cores, graphics performance up to 22 teraflops, up to 256GB of quad-channel ECC memory, and a 27-inch Retina 5K display.

The 27-inch model retails starting at $1,799, while the updated 21.5-inch iMac starts at $1,099, and iMac Pro at $4,999.

For users who need massive amounts of storage, iMac also features an 8TB SSD option for the first time—four times the SSD capacity of the previous generation 27-inch iMac.

iMac also includes the Apple T2 Security Chip, Apple's own custom-designed, second-generation silicon. The storage controller in the T2 Security Chip provides on-the-fly data encryption for everything stored on the SSD, so files and data are safe and secure. And the T2 chip also checks that software loaded during the boot process has not been tampered with, giving the 27-inch iMac, and any Mac with the T2 chip, which Apple maintains is "the most secure storage and boot process of any computer."

The Retina 5K display on the 27-inch iMac features True Tone technology, which automatically adjusts the color temperature of the display to match a user's ambient lighting, Apple said. 

The new iMac offers a nano-texture glass designed to enhance viewing under various lighting conditions, such as a bright room or indirect sunlight. Unlike typical matte finishes that have a coating added to the surface to scatter light, the nano-texture glass is etched at the nanometer level. This produces low reflectivity and less glare while maintaining image quality and contrast, Apple said.

"Now more than ever, our customers are relying on the Mac. And many of them need the most powerful and capable iMac we've ever made," said Tom Boger, Apple's senior director of Mac and iPad product marketing.

What is not included is Apple's recently announced "Apple silicon," the ARM-based chips that will power future Macs as soon as later this year, CNET points out

This fall, iMac can be updated at no cost with macOS Big Sur, the latest version of its desktop operating system. Apple said macOS Big Sur has also been redesigned and its key apps have been enhanced. 

Safari has new features, including a customizable start page, new tabs, built-in translation, and a new privacy report. The updated Messages app lets users send more personal and expressive messages, and easily keep track of and interact within group messages, according to Apple. The Maps feature has also been revamped.

The iMac models can be ordered at Apple's website and in the Apple Store app, and in some store locations and resellers starting next week.

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