I want to see these iMac features in every new Apple computer

Commentary: Apple's new MacBook Pro models tout some of these features, but I want these five improvements to cross over to more Macs soon.

Dan Ackerman Editorial Director / Computers and Gaming
Dan Ackerman leads CNET's coverage of computers and gaming hardware. A New York native and former radio DJ, he's also a regular TV talking head and the author of "The Tetris Effect" (Hachette/PublicAffairs), a non-fiction gaming and business history book that has earned rave reviews from the New York Times, Fortune, LA Review of Books, and many other publications. "Upends the standard Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg technology-creation myth... the story shines." -- The New York Times
Expertise I've been testing and reviewing computer and gaming hardware for over 20 years, covering every console launch since the Dreamcast and every MacBook...ever. Credentials
  • Author of the award-winning, NY Times-reviewed nonfiction book The Tetris Effect; Longtime consumer technology expert for CBS Mornings
Dan Ackerman
4 min read
iMac 2021 colors with M1
Sarah Tew/CNET

The 24-inch iMac arrived this spring with Apple's own M1 chip, but the addition of the new silicon isn't the only thing that makes this computer notable. Apple's latest iMac is also the first to be designed from the ground up with the M1 in mind. That's different from the first wave of M1 Macs, which shared the same exact designs as their earlier Intel-powered versions. 

In my review of the M1 iMac, I was frankly more excited about some of these new design and feature changes than the different silicon inside. And Apple has since added some of these goodies, like an upgraded camera and MagSafe connections, to its new MacBook Pro laptops with M1 Pro and M1 Max chips

Read moreM1 Pro vs. M1 Max vs. M1: Apple's MacBook Pro chips compared

Since Apple tends to keep its product lines looking and feeling harmonious, there's a decent chance these improvements will cross over to other Macs sooner rather than later. Here are five features I'm hoping come to more Macs in the future. 

Apple iMac 2021 colors with M1
Dan Ackerman/CNET

New colors

It's been a long time since Macs came in serious colors. Sure, you've been able to get MacBooks in gray, silver and a kind of muted gold, but let's just say these were never vibrant, exciting shades. Taking a page from the candy-colored CRT iMacs of the previous century, you can now get your iMac in seven colors, from a deep purple to a vibrant orange to plain old silver (please don't just get plain silver). Apple hasn't said these colors are coming to other computers yet, but I bet future MacBook Air buyers are already planning which color to get -- especially because there are already rumors of new color options coming to the next MacBook Air.

Read more: When is the next Apple event and what we expect to see


Or maybe just use Wi-Fi. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Power brick with Ethernet 

Outside of gaming machines, it's very rare to see an Ethernet jack built into a laptop body these days. But most desktops still have them, just not the new iMac. There, it's been offloaded to the power brick, which makes sense for something you don't need to plug or unplug regularly. Just make sure the iMac you're looking at includes the Ethernet jack -- it's a $30 add-on feature for the least expensive model. I could also see this coming to MacBooks as a way to add an Ethernet jack without needing a USB-C dongle. 

Higher-resolution camera


Shot with the 1,920x1,080 camera on the 24-inch iMac. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Current Macs with decent (1080p-resolution) cameras: the 27-inch Intel iMac and the 24-inch M1 iMac. Macs without decent cameras: most everything else.

In a Zoom-filled world, having a good webcam is important, but this hardware spec has lagged behind in almost every laptop, including Windows and ChromeOS systems. How good is the iMac camera? I've lugged the 20-pound 27-inch model all over my house many times just to use it in meetings. 

The new MacBook Pro models bumped up the resolution from 720p to 1080p, and adding an upgraded camera to more MacBooks would fill the other weak spots in Apple's hardware. 

Read moreYour MacBook webcam looks lousy in Zoom meetings. Try these tricks to fix it

iMac 2021 colors with M1

The magnetic power cable on the 24-inch iMac. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Magnetic power cable connection

The magnetic connection on the new iMac power cable seems like such complex engineering feat that it's hard to imagine it'll be a one-time thing. Other iMac sizes and maybe even the Mac Mini or Mac Pro could benefit from it. And since the new MacBook models brought back the MagSafe connections, this could be a spiritual successor to that (although in the long run, I still think having a more universal USB-C power connection on a laptop is more useful). 

iMac 2021 colors with M1

You can't mix and match accessories... yet. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

Personalized accessories 

The new iMac offers a choice of three different keyboard designs -- standard, with a Touch ID sensor and with a number pad plus Touch ID -- as well as a choice between a mouse and a stand-alone touchpad. Each of these devices also comes in all seven new iMac colors, although you can't yet mix and match colors. 

But it's only a matter of time before these accessories will be available a la carte and you'll be able to create a visual palette -- for example, combining a blue iMac, green keyboard and orange touchpad (I don't know, maybe they're your school colors or something). I'm hopeful those options will eventually be available for anyone with a Mac Mini, a Mac Pro or even a docked MacBook, if they want to add a splash of personalization. 

Read moreApple 24-inch iMac review: A colorful new M1 Mac for the post-quarantine world

Take a tour of the new iMac colors

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