Wednesday, Apr 21, 2021, 16:36 Hardware

iMac M1: Arrangement of Headphone Jack And Other Ports – Or Lack Thereof

The design of the new iMac presented at the "Spring Loaded" event reminds many observers of an iPad Pro mounted on a stand. This is obvious because Apple clearly relies on the design language of its own high-end tablets for the design of the actual computer case. However, the slim form not only has visual consequences, but also requires some technical changes.

Handy: Headphone Jack moves to the Side
Many users of the iMac M1 will probably find the fact that the headphone jack is now on the left side practical. In the all-in-one predecessors with Intel processors, it was found on the back. This placement is rather unfortunate for daily use because it either leads to annoying contortions of the user or requires the use of an - albeit short - adapter or extension cable. There is a simple reason why Apple used Apple Silicon for the headphone jack in the iMac: The case depth of the computer is simply not sufficient for the installation of the corresponding 3.5 millimeter standard jack. At least 14 millimeters would be required, but the iMac is only 11.5 millimeters thick.

Base model and more expensive version

Not so Handy: USB-A ports and SD card Axed
The case's shape might also be at least one reason why Apple doesn't equip the iMac M1 with one or two USB-A ports: There wouldn't have been enough depth for this. On the other hand, Apple probably decided against a lateral arrangement for design reasons, even though it would have been technically possible. Furthermore, the Californian company also relies on more promising and modern USB-C ports in other devices, such as the iPad Pro, and presumably abandoned the older USB-A ports for that reason. The lack of an SD card slot, which has always been present in Intel iMacs, is probably not due to technical reasons. Apple probably considers it superfluous and has therefore omitted it.



Ethernet and USB C: Differences between Models
There is also no room for an Ethernet port in the iMac M1's case. Apple has therefore moved it to the external power supply. However, you should consider whether you need the port before buying. The basic model with the 7-core GPU does not have it in the standard configuration – it has to be ordered as an additional option. The power supply equipped with Gigabit Ethernet can probably be purchased separately later this year, but it is not yet available in Apple's accessories. There are also differences in terms of USB-C ports. While the basic version of the iMac M1 only has two Thunderbolt 3 ports with USB 4 and USB 3.1 Gen 2, the version with an eight-core graphics chip additionally offers two USB 3 interfaces.

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