Apple's M1 iMac extras hint its whimsy is on the way back

Apple Imac 2021 Colors
Apple Imac 2021 Colors (Image credit: Apple)

It's happening. After the last few years of watching Apple lose some of the fun it once had with its products, Apple's whimsy is coming back – and you only have to look at the new M1 iMac to see it in action.

Whimsy is a difficult word to explain, but here's how the Oxford Dictionary goes about doing it.

a way of thinking or behaving or a style of doing something that is unusual and not serious, in a way that is either funny or annoying

Now, we can all probably agree that Apple has done plenty in recent years that we'd put under the 'annoying' heading. Some of us are still dealing with that keyboard, after all. But to me, whimsy is all about making something a little bit fun in a way it didn't need to be. A way that makes a difference to the user, even though they didn't know they wanted it. That's whimsy, and Apple's very business-like approach to its products seemed to lose some of that. You could point the finger to the Tim Cook era, but whatever the reasons, whimsy has been missing.

The new M1 iMac has whimsy in spades. It starts with those colors. Seven of them. Some gorgeous, maybe some not-so-gorgeous. But all colors, at least.

Then there's the collection of what I like to call the intangibles. The things that make no actual difference to anything but are cool and make you smile regardless. Halide developer Sebastiaan de With shared some great examples, starting with the power cable that matches the color of the iMac, moving on to the custom intro screens, and even continuing to color-matched macOS accent colors.

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Apple didn't need to do any of that and a ton of people won't even notice or care. But those that do, will. And that's a big deal for those of us who remember the Steve Jobs era of things just being cool for the sake of it. Because this is Apple, not IBM. It's run by cool people, with engineers that have fun. Not suits as Jobs would probably have called them.

With talk of Apple now bringing colors to the portable Mac lineup and even the humble Mac mini, it's a great time to be a Mac user. Especially if you work in a bright red room and Space Gray or Silver Macs didn't quite cut it anymore!

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.