Apple unveils new line of thinner iMacs and updated iPads

Chief executive Tim Cook launches new products at California event

Apple embraced the new flexible working world with a new line of iMacs and updated iPads sporting higher-quality cameras and powered by the company's own chips.

The company is also gearing up for a head to head with rival Spotify in the podcasting market as it launches a subscription marketplace for premium content alongside its free shows.

Chief executive Tim Cook unveiled the new products at an event live-streamed from California, where it also showed off new tags, AirTags, to help Apple users keep track of important items.

The new iMac is thinner than its predecessor at 11.5mm, comes with 24in display and runs on Apple’s new M1 chip, giving it a boost in CPU performance and graphics power.


Apple has also included a higher-quality front-facing camera and improved the microphone array, with a 1080p FaceTime HD camera and a six-speaker sound system. It also comes with Apple’s biometric authentication system TouchID for payments and switching profiles quickly, and comes in seven colours. Prices start from €1,499.

"M1 is a gigantic leap forward for the Mac, and today we're excited to introduce the all-new iMac, the first Mac designed around the breakthrough M1 chip," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's senior vice-president of worldwide marketing.

The M1 chip is also coming to the iPad Pro, which sees the high-powered tablet move away from its beefed-up mobile chips. The new tablet, which starts at €909 for the 11in model and €1229 for the 12.9in device, will also include a Thunderbolt connector for peripherals, and support 5G in its cellular models, following in the footsteps of Apple’s iPhone 12 and 12 Pro smartphones announced last year.

Few surprises

There were few surprises in the event, which also announced a new version of Apple's TV 4K, which supports high frame rate HDR with Dolby Vision. The device, powered by the A12 Bionic chip, has been given a significant boost in graphics performance, video decoding and audio processing, and comes with a redesigned Siri Remote.

The AirTags will use Apple’s “Find My” system to locate important items for owners, but Apple pledged to protect user privacy through a number of measures, including the use of rotating identifiers and the ability to detect unknown AirTags travelling with them.

"We're excited to bring this incredible new capability to iPhone users with the introduction of AirTag, leveraging the vast Find My network to help them keep track of and find the important items in their lives," said Kaiann Drance, Apple's vice-president of worldwide iPhone product marketing.

AirTags will cost from €35 per tag, or €119 for a pack of four tags.

Apple shares have risen nearly 95 per cent over the past year, faster than the 63 per cent rise in the Nasdaq Composite Index, thanks to a record $274.5 billion in sales for fiscal 2020 as consumers stocked up on electronics during the pandemic. Macs and iPads accounted for $52.3 billion during its fiscal 2020.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist