iMac gets an update: faster processor, T2 chip, and better 1080p webcam


iMac users have been waiting for months to hear about an update for Apple’s 27-inch iMac, and it’s finally here. Starting with Tuesday, you can order the new and improved version of the all-in-one desktop, retailing at $1,799. The most important part of the update is undoubtedly the processor bump: the new iMac will sport Intel’s 10th Gen Comet Lake processor, and both Intel’s 6 and 8-core versions will be standard, plus an optional 10-core i9 turbo boost. AMD’s Radeon 5300 or 5500XT will be standard, but you’ll also be able to upgrade to the 5700XT with 16GB VRAM.

This isn’t a major update, however. Many fans expected this to be the first ARM-based MAC, but Apple is still using Intel’s processors. Design-wise, you’ll see no changes, as the iMac still features the familiar bezel around the screen and the metal chin at the bottom. However, despite being an incremental update, the new iMac still packs many improvements worth looking at.

For example, the new T2 chip now offers “Hey Siri” support, True Tone, exposure control, and a new audio controller to improve audio quality at a low-level. Apart from the improvements to the microphones, which now have a three-mic, studio-quality array, all the updates come from the T2 chip itself. Unfortunately, the new iMac won’t feature Face ID or a fingerprint sensor, so you’ll be better off signing in with your Apple Watch if you have one.

The update also includes a better built-in webcam, which is now a high-resolution 1080p, which is excellent news for people video conferencing from home these days. Considering the massive increase in the number of people working from home, and the fact that this trend will probably continue for a long time, the upgrade is definitely something to get excited about.

Another interesting addition is the new nano-texture coating, which brings the matte option back. Although opting for this coating will bump the price tag by $500, Apple says that iMacs with the nano-texture coating will have minimal haze and receive the same treatment as the Pro Display XDR.

Finally, iMac users will have SSDs instead of Fusion Drives in the standard configuration. The base option is 256GB, but a 1TB Fusion Drive remains available as a no-cost option. If you want a bigger SSD, however, you can upgrade all the way to 8TB. As for the read/write speeds, Apple says that the new SSDs will support up to 3.4Gbps. For an extra cost, you can also upgrade to 10-gigabit Ethernet and an SD card reader that supports UHS-II speeds.